• kjoannerixon

High Achiever


Well, I wouldn't recommend taking this book at face value. Jenkins is a storyteller, and this portrait of a manipulating, scheming junkie--as she calls herself--is itself a manipulation. Of course it is, though--stories are. When read as the story such a person would want you to believe about her, this book gets a lot more interesting.

One of the most interesting turns in the story is when Jenkins starts a relationship with another woman in jail, and admits that she's had feelings for other women in the past. "Of course I'd noticed other women. The female form is gorgeous! But I'd never acted on it." Later in the book, Jenkins attends a faith-based rehab where homosexuality is against the rules. She completely abandons her queerness. Straightness is the price of getting sober, and she's determined to get sober (and to sell the story of getting sober). So she transforms herself, but the transformation is transparent and self-serving.


The prose and the characterization of various people who appear in this memoir are nothing special. A lot of the emotions seem overwrought and borderline implausible--I particularly had a hard time believing that anyone in any part of the criminal justice system would be at all astounded at the idea that a person who was dating a cop could be an addict who would steal from their in-laws in order to buy drugs. Like, cops get addicted to drugs and steal from crime scenes all the time. If I'm not shocked by it, I'm pretty sure no one in jail for drug crime would blink.


But, as an example of an unreliable narrator, this might be the best book I've ever read. So if you're looking for that kind of thing, High Achiever's your huckleberry.

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