I suppose it’s possible for you to not know about Tiffany Jenkins, from Juggling The Jenkins, but let’s be real, it’s unlikely. But for those of you who haven’t laughed at her litany of hilarious viral videos because you obviously live on a secluded island without internet, let me fill you in.
Tiffany Jenkins is, hands down, one of the funniest personalities online, and it’s helped her build an online following in the millions.
But the truly wonderful thing about her memoir, High Achiever, is that it isn’t all that funny, it’s actually heart breaking in the wonderful ways that only comes from someone with a powerful story to tell.
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High Achiever is Tiffany’s story of overcoming addiction. It reads with the power of good fiction. The narrative transitions smoothly between her time in jail and rehab, with recounting the 27 felonies she was later tried for. It’s a page-turner.
It’s the kind of book that you begin after the kids go to bed, and end up reading until well into the night because you need to know how this online personality you’ve come to know and love pulled themselves from the depths.
Anyone who has suffered from addiction, or has a loved one they’ve watched go through that, will be able to connect to this story.
My father was an early victim of the opioid epidemic. He died when I was 19, and he was 49. Like Tiffany Jenkins, he bounced between addiction and recovery.
He spent the majority of my high school years in and out of jail. And exactly like Tiffany Jenkins, he told a lot of lies to cover his addictions, and frankly, I never really knew where the real truth actually landed. In fact, I still don’t.
But what I can say is after reading High Achiever, is that I felt like I better understood my shadow like father and what he was struggling with. And the sad fact is, chances are, someone close to you has struggled with, or succumb to, opioid addiction.
High Achiever gives us all a glimpse into the struggles, the lies, the actions, and most importantly the reasoning behind the addiction.
That is the real power of this narrative. Tiffany Jenkins does such a wonderful job allowing us all to spend some time in her head, and while there, it’s difficult not to feel her emotions and struggles, and cheer along as she fights her way toward redemption.
Naturally, there are several turning points in this book, but I must say, the one that hit me the hardest was near the end, where Tiffany is living through her second attempt at rehab, after spending some rough days behind bars.
A 71-year-old addict speaks up during a share session.
He mentions how his adult children won’t speak to him, and how he’d lost his wife, and now he has grandchildren he’s never met.
Then he says something that really gave Tiffany, and myself, pause
“… I would give anything in this world to go back in time and enter these rooms when I was your fucking age. Then I might actually have something to look back on and be proud of. You girls are young enough now to get it right, to have a life, and make something of yourself. Don’t do what I did. Get it now so that you aren’t my age looking back on your life and thinking damn… I wasted all of it.”
That statement, right there, is at the heart of High Achiever.
This is a book about addiction and recovery, sure. But more than anything it’s a book about making changes.
It’s about looking at your life, your situation, and making sure that you don’t look back 10, 20, 30 years from now, and wish you’d done something different.
This is the story of someone going from the bottom to the top, and each bump along the way. It’s a tearjerker and fist pumper.
It’s the kind of book you want to share with your friends and discuss at your book club. It’s one of those bold fearless books that you will find your mind slipping back to for the next several years.
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