Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
The Heart and Other Monsters
Cover of The Heart and Other Monsters
The Heart and Other Monsters
A Memoir
Borrow Borrow
"Impossible to put down. It haunts me still." -Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

A riveting, deeply personal exploration of the opioid crisis-an empathic memoir infused with hints of true crime.

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.

Reminiscent of Alex Marzano-Lesnevich's The Fact of a Body, Maggie Nelson's Jane: A Murder, and Lacy M. Johnson's The Other Side, Andersen's debut is a potent, profoundly original journey into and out of loss.
"Impossible to put down. It haunts me still." -Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

A riveting, deeply personal exploration of the opioid crisis-an empathic memoir infused with hints of true crime.

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.

Reminiscent of Alex Marzano-Lesnevich's The Fact of a Body, Maggie Nelson's Jane: A Murder, and Lacy M. Johnson's The Other Side, Andersen's debut is a potent, profoundly original journey into and out of loss.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Rose Andersen received her MFA in writing at California Institute of the Arts, where she was awarded the Emi Kuriyama Thesis Prize. Her essays have appeared in The Cut, Glamour, and elsewhere. She lives in LA with her spouse, Josh, and their dog, Charlotte.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 27, 2020
    Essayist Andersen’s debut memoir is the riveting and raw story of her dysfunctional childhood and her younger sister’s 2013 death from a meth overdose. Andersen and her sister grow up in California, with an artist mother and a father with writing aspirations who cheats on his spouse, lies, and verbally abuses his family. The couple divorces when the girls are four and 10, and their mother temporarily partners with an emotionally abusive boyfriend. As they grow older, each sister becomes drawn to drugs: Andersen becomes dependent on cocaine and alcohol (she later quits both, and conquers Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but Sarah—drawn to opioids, heroin, and methadone—is unsuccessful in her attempts to get clean through rehab. Andersen is critical yet protective toward her sibling, and blames herself for not being more understanding and patient though she tries to support Sarah’s rehabilitation. After Sarah is found dead from an overdose at age 24, Andersen scours the coroner’s report and later court transcripts, delving into evidence suggesting that Sarah’s lethal dose was not accidental, but rather, administered by a man who thought she knew too much about a heinous crime he had committed
    . This tragic tale of addiction will resonate deeply with readers.

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2020
    An essayist looks back on her life and the circumstances surrounding her sister's alleged overdose at age 24. "I know what I am doing," writes Andersen in the final third of the book. "I am curating her life. I take your hand and lead you through the blood and bile this story is made of....The unbearable note of grief still sings in my head. The melody of which you will never hear." In a note to readers on the first page, we learn that the author suspects her sister, Sarah, was murdered, although she has no proof. Then Andersen leaves that idea behind, imagining her sister's death as an accidental overdose, which is what both the police and the author believed when Sarah's body was found locked in the bathroom of her boyfriend's home, her dog wailing outside the door. As Andersen describes dealing with the logistics of the death and coping with her initial experiences of loss, she revisits her childhood, her troubled parents and stepfamilies, and her experience with cancer as a teen. Her own dark interlude with drugs and alcohol in her early 20s--"My worst lies happened when I was drinking and using coke...social lies, omissions, white lies, gray lies, kind lies, terrible lies"--eventually gave way to lasting sobriety through AA. The family story unfolds in brief, elegiac chapters illustrated with black-and-white snapshots. Gradually, Andersen begins to change the narrative, slipping in news stories about a seemingly unrelated murder, which, by the end, she has causally connected to her sister's death. The revised facts are presented in a report made to the police, included near the end of the book. Combining the agonizing emotional intensity typical of narratives about losing a sibling with the memoiristic style of a murder investigation successfully complicates the reading experience. A literary grief memoir combined with a skillfully unfolded murder mystery.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    May 8, 2020

    Andersen creates a loving yet harrowing portrait of her younger sister Sarah, whose spiral into addiction and eventual death by overdose continues to haunt her. As with many memoirs centering on drug abuse, reading this one feels like watching a slow-motion car crash. Deception, theft, promiscuity, multiple abortions, broken promises, and false starts in rehab abound. The author also struggled with alcohol and cocaine addiction at a young age and achieved sobriety, as well as surviving Hodgkin's lymphoma. The sisters' childhood was colored by confusion and instability, with an alternately absent and emotionally manipulative father and a controlling and abusive stepfather. Andersen remains convinced that her sister may have been deliberately given a fatal dose of methamphetamine to silence her, based on what she knew about a potential murder. It matters little to the reader, as Sarah was clearly bent on self-destruction. The court case involving the murder is tacked on, with characters that lack context or meaning for the narrative. VERDICT Andersen's genuine love for her sister is compelling; many readers will relate.--Barrie Olmstead, Lewiston P.L., ID

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2020
    Anderon's early disclosure in this heartbreaking memoir that she has no concrete facts that her sister didn't die of a drug overdose, but was murdered, might lead readers to believe that what follows is a true-crime investigation. Instead, what predominates is a loving portrait of Sarah, Andersen's baby sister. Sarah starts drinking around age12, having sex not long after, and trying OxyContin at 15. The prescription painkiller is too expensive, though, so Sarah quickly turns to heroin. Andersen alternates between the story of Sarah's death at 24 and the sisters' teen years, when she too was drinking and doing coke, all while lecturing Sarah about the oxy. Legitimate questions are raised about Sarah's death and the criminal elements she was cavorting with, but as noted, few are answered. The more interesting story, however, is that of Sarah and Rose; two sides of the same coin whose roles could easily have been reversed. Perfect for memoir readers who enjoyed Stephanie Wittels Wachs' Everything is Horrible and Wonderful (2018) or Maureen Cavanagh's If You Love Me (2018).(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • The Daily Beast, "Best Summer Reads" Visceral . . . Part story of America's opioid crisis, part grief memoir, and part tale of a possible murder, Andersen's deeply personal book roils with anger and empathy that, at its very heart, is a lament for the profound hole left in the wake of a sister's tragic death.
  • CrimeReads, "July's Best Crime Nonfiction" Not since Leah Carroll's Down City have I come across a true crime memoir with such beautiful, spare, and moving prose.
  • Vol 1. Brooklyn I picked up The Heart and Other Monsters because of the resonance of its subject matter in my own life-I lost a cousin to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2018, and an aunt to an accidental OxyContin overdose in 2019. What I didn't know in choosing THAOM was how it would move me to act . . . I have Andersen's harrowing, beautiful memoir to thank.
  • Kirkus (starred review) Combining the agonizing emotional intensity typical of narratives about losing a sibling with the memoiristic style of a murder investigation successfully complicates the reading experience. A literary grief memoir combined with a skillfully unfolded murder mystery.
  • Publishers Weekly A riveting and raw story . . . This tragic tale of addiction will resonate deeply with readers.
  • Shelf Awareness Poignant . . . The Heart and Other Monsters is a biography, cautionary tale and murder mystery, masterfully blended with a memoir burdened by grief and guilt for crimes committed by others.
  • New York Journal of Books The Heart and Other Monsters is one of the rare books in the marketplace that is both written by a recovering addict as well as being the person who bore witness to the downward spiral of addiction and ultimate death of her closest family member.
  • Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A MURDER AND A MEMOIR Complex, dark, emotional, and enthralling, Rose Andersen's The Heart and Other Monsters invaded my dreams from the first page to the last. She combines the fierce love of a devoted sister with the forensic brilliance of a ferociously talented writer. The result is impossible to put down, gorgeous, and will utterly break your heart. It haunts me still.
  • Allie Rowbottom, author of JELL-O GIRLS A kaleidoscopic portrait of sisterly love, addiction and abuse, set against the backdrop of an American epidemic, Rose Andersen's The Heart and Other Monsters slips form and genre to give words to ineffable loss. Emotionally taut, bare and honest, Andersen's memoir held me rapt from start to finish.
  • Erin Khar, author of STRUNG OUT: ONE LAST HIT AND OTHER LIES THAT NEARLY KILLED ME Rose Andersen's The Heart and Other Monsters will split your heart right open. It's both a love letter to the sister she lost and an investigation into what caused her death. Heartbreaking, illuminating, and poetic, Andersen's voice cuts through the gruesomeness of the facts she uncovers with the type of love that transcends death. More than a memoir, this book reassembles all the shapes that grief takes.
  • Chelsea Hodson, author of TONIGHT I'M SOMEONE ELSE The Heart and Other Monsters dares to ask: when is love not enough? Rose Andersen searches for an answer in this vulnerable, unforgettable, and transcendent book that explores the pain of understanding what we can never truly know about another person.
  • Anthony McCann, author of SHADOWLANDS Rose Andersen has given us a page turning, crisply written and heart wrenching story of two sisters coming of age in the social calamity and psychic mayhem that is contemporary America. The Heart and Other Monsters is a tragic tale full of struggles with addiction, personal failure, male rage and small-town despair. It's also an unforgettable portrait of a family, and the never-ending work of learning that is love.
  • Mary Morris, author of ALL THE WAY TO THE TIGERS Rose Andersen has written a gorgeous elegy to her sister, Sarah. In prose that is often mesmerizing, she creates a portrait of love and loss, addiction and sobriety. Of grief and ghosts. At the heart of this haunting memoir is the mystery of Sarah's death that Andersen tries to make sense of. Reminiscent of Rick Moody's poignant writing about the death of his sister, this beautiful book will break your heart
  • Brian Evenson, author of SONG FOR THE UNRAVELING OF THE WORLD The memoir of a sister's death in which the line between overdose and murder becomes blurred, The Heart and Other Monsters is the story of two girls wounded by addiction and simultaneously troubled and sustained by a broken, c
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Bloomsbury Publishing
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The Heart and Other Monsters
The Heart and Other Monsters
A Memoir
Rose Andersen
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel