A father's identity and love for his teenaged daughter are both tested in this tale of emotional struggles. Samantha's life is slowly but surely eroding as she is unable to control her self-destructive behaviors. Her parents, Jack and Elizabeth, are doing everything they can to help but are unable to halt the girl's downward spiral that continues to gain momentum. They come to accept that unless drastic steps are taken, they may lose their child forever.
Based on the author's true life experiences, the uneven, twisted road to Samantha's recovery leads from a well-to-do suburb in Westchester County to a wilderness program in New Hampshire and culminates with her stay at a therapeutic boarding school in upstate New York.
Desperate to save his daughter, Jack knows he must find a way to face his fears and resolve his own issues. As the program helps Samantha to painfully dig deeper toward discovering her true self, Jack also begins to absorb its teachings. In doing so, he gains a greater understanding of who his daughter really is and, ultimately, of himself.
I relied on a detailed journal, countless letters, and, of course, my memories to keep this story as true to my experiences as possible. I still live in Westchester County, New York, along with my wife, Liz, younger daughter, Jess, and spaniels, Magic and Andie.
Samantha lives in her own apartment in a nearby town.