“No Place Like Home: Coping with the Decline and Death of Toxic Parents” by Nick Nolan

Nick Nolan
Little Eden Press (2019)
ISBN 9781073692750
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)

How does one deal with the aging, declining health, or death of a parent? That’s a tough question, but a growing reality, for many. Let’s add some additional layers to that scenario – suppose you have a parent or parents that are toxic – perhaps they were abusive to you and your siblings.  Perhaps they were cruel, spiteful, mean, destructive or just plain hateful.  Or perhaps, they just stood by and did nothing, or very little, to protect their children from the parent acting out those aforementioned behaviors. The question then becomes: How does one deal with the aging, declining health or death of a parent or parents that were never there for me?

In “No Place Like Home,” best-selling, multi-award-winning author Nick Nolan, tackles this very issue.  He combines a touching, emotionally charged memoir with an invaluable self-help guide. Navigating through many of the events surrounding his childhood, he captures his audience with moving and often heart-wrenching reflection. He honestly and boldly faces the circumstances that formed his reality, sharing his soul so that others may benefit from his experiences. He weaves his personal stories around interviews with eight licensed clinicians specializing in a variety of subjects related to family, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, among others. Issues surfacing in the forms of CTE, PTSD, narcissism, abuse (in any form), mental, and other health-related issues are discussed with these specialists.  Nolan also interviews three adults who survived child abuse adding their unique perspectives to the mix.

The result? A fascinating, heartfelt volume containing an abundance of information that is easy to read, follow and understand.  It’s a sometimes brutal, but always honest look at how even the simplest of actions can scar an individual for life. Take football players, or boxers for example – even one blow to the head can damage the brain and the child can grow up into an abusive adult.  Not necessarily because they set out to abuse, but rather because of that one traumatic childhood event.

“No Place Like Home” is a first-rate production. I particularly like the way the book is presented – it’s not a “do this for 30 days and you’ll be cured” type of self-help book, rather it’s a journey of exploration and discovery as Nick Nolan integrates his personal story into the facts provided through his interviews. It feels like a one-on-one experience with a panel of experts guiding the way. There are so many items of significance it’s impossible to relate everything through a review.  Let’s just say, now that I’ve read it through once, I’m going to go back through it and take my time, reading it slowly to better absorb every single word.

“No Place Like Home” is top-notch because Nick Nolan is an excellent writer, an authentic human being and a special soul. He appeals to the reader with his openness and sincerity, and by sharing everything he’s feeling, experiencing and recollecting.  By the time I finished the book, I felt like I had known Nick my whole life and found a lifelong friend. It takes an exceptional individual to write the way Nick does, but it’s so much more than the writing – it’s his overall being, his sensitivity, his moral compass, his compassion that makes him stand out and shine.

I believe Nick Nolan has another best-seller in his repertoire. Not your typical memoir or self-help book, I highly recommend “No Place Like Home.” It arms readers with information necessary to either forgive or make the decision that it’s time to walk away. It is a must-read for anyone struggling with the question, “How do I care for the toxic parent that never took care of me?”

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