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Nina Renata Aron Books In Order

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Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Nina Renata Aron is an author from Oakland California best known for her debut work “Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls.” Aron was born and brought up in New Jersey but as a teenager she left to go to college outside the state. She has two degrees in Eurasian and Russian Studies from Harvard, and one unfinished PhD in Gender Studies and Cultural Anthropology from Columbia. For the most part she writes about sex, girls, art and books and her debut was published by Random House/Crown in 2020. Her work has been featured in the likes of the “Los Angeles Review of Books,” “The New York Times” and “The New Republic.”

After graduating from Harvard with her master’s Nina Renata Aron went on to work for Global Fund for Women, became a writer and researcher at Idea Couture, program manager for Global Healing and then editor. However, just like any writer worth her salt, she has her own rejection story, even though she was the one doing the rejecting. Just before she wrote her blockbuster memoir, she was in a bind concerning her financial situation and surviving in the very expensive San Francisco Bay Area. Aron applied for a job that a financial startup had advertised and following a dizzying array of interviews, she was required to do the editing and writing test. A few weeks later, she was offered the job but the thought of herself commuting to the Financial District in a skirt suit was not something she had ever contemplated. She turned down the job offer as she did not think she would last long in such an environment. A few weeks later, she took a trip to the desert and penned down the proposal that would later become the thesis for “Good Morning” her memoir.

Nina Renata Aron was prompted to write her memoir as she read through the popular dictum by Toni Morrison. “If you want to read a book but find that nobody bothered to write it then you have to do it.” She had been wrestling with that point of view having seen memoirs over the years. As a teenager, Nina had been a firsthand witness to her family having to deal with her sister’s substance abuse problems. She had sought out any literature she believed would provide some kind of solace but found most had been penned by alcoholics or addicts. Hardly any provided insights on what a bewildering experience it would be to live and love an addict. She believed that to get the nuance of what it felt like, one had to come at it from that angle. It was not until she was back at Alcoholics Anonymous that she thought that maybe she should write a memoir. Nina started making connections between the impassioned pleas of the temperance movement 100 years before and the emotional voice of the early writings about Alcoholics Anonymous. She used that to put some of her own anguish into context as she realized she was not alone. Many had come before her that had come up with innovative strategies to deal with and survive addiction and this reduced the feelings of shame she had been feeling. Seeing things this way meant it was not an individual pathology but part of a larger story that could provide healing for some that might be suffering in silence.

While Nina Renata thought she had things crystallized, getting everything right was not so easy. She also had to spend days digging through old emails, journals, photographs and letters which was very draining. It was particularly heart breaking having to confront her own depression and look back at some of the bad decisions she had made. However, it was also a cathartic experience wrestling the material into a story. Showing the context of her anguish and how experiences had informed the choices she made in later life was something she liked doing. Even though the codependent condition is not that easy to articulate, getting something right was what lived for.

Nina Renata Aron’s memoir “Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls” is the story of her love for her boyfriend who she is addicted to. They had an overwhelming, urgent and dramatic love affair that was the antidote to the lonely and long days of early motherhood. But when they get into a relationship, he starts using drugs again and she sticks with him through years of broken promises and relapses. As his addiction worsens she believes that she is the only one that can rescue him form himself and that it would be failure on her part to abandon him. Nina’s adolescence had her living with family addiction and trauma and she developed a sense of responsibility for persons she saw suffering. Aron writes an incisive memoir of addiction and romance that is at once acrobatic and unflinching. She draws on academic research and intimate anecdote to provide insights into the overlooked and long feminized phenomenon of codependency. Renata shifts between ferocious and visceral introspective analysis of what part she played in fueling the addiction, their affair and defining moments in their codependency.

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