The Heart and Other Monsters

Rose Andersen

The Heart and Other Monsters
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The Heart and Other Monsters

Rose Andersen

In November 2013, Rose Andersen’s younger sister Sarah died of an overdose in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s home in a small town with one of the highest rates of opioid use in the state. Like too many of her generation, she had become addicted to heroin. Sarah was 24 years old.

To imagine her way into Sarah’s life, Rose revisits their volatile childhood, marked by their stepfather’s omnipresent rage and their father’s pathological lying. As the dysfunction comes into focus, so does a broader picture of the opioid crisis and the drug rehabilitation industry in small towns across America. And when Rose learns from the coroner that Sarah’s cause of death was a methamphetamine overdose, the story takes a wildly unexpected turn.

As Andersen sifts through her sister’s last days, we come to recognize the contours of grief and its aftermath: the psychic shattering which can turn to anger, the pursuit of an ever-elusive verdict, and the intensely personal rites of imagination and art needed to actually move on.

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