The Life List of Adrian Mandrick by Chris White
As an anesthesiologist Adrian Madrick helps people not feel pain. To numb his own pain he turned to drugs stolen from patients but that is all behind him now. He has a beautiful wife and children, he has a partner to go with him to track down rare birds for his life list and his is satisfied with his work. Then Adrian finds out that his mother is dead and one of the top birders in the nation has passed away. Suddenly he is forced to dredge up awful memories of the past that he has never faced and he finds himself climbing the ranking for the largest birding life list in the nation. Pushing him over the edge is a novice birder from somewhere in the southeast who recently started posting on message boards about cardinals and other common birds however it sounds like this novice may have found the prize: the ivory billed woodpecker. As Adrian spirals into obsession, drugs and despair he breaks down his life to examine the truth of his past.
Adrian is not an easy man to like. He makes awful mistakes that some may find unforgivable but no one can deny that he is human. This book illustrates how the “truths” of our past can shape our entire lives, even if that truth is actually a fiction. This a powerful character study getting into the inner workings of a damaged man and how the past can chip away at a psyche without a person being aware how much the past has affected their life. This is very much a coming of age in middle age story. I left the book glad that Adrian was able to face his demons, sad of the fictions that shaped him and hopeful that he will truly be able to start putting his life back together again.