A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction

Friday, January 17, 2020

Paula Becker
Photo by David Rhyder

The Shoreline Historical Museum and the Friends of the Shoreline Library are co-sponsoring a presentation by groundbreaking author Paula Becker.

Becker has written and co-written numerous books, including “Looking for Betty MacDonald,” and “The Future Remembered: the 1962 World’s Fair and its Legacy”, with Alan Stein for HistoryLink, among others.

On Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 2:00pm at the Shoreline Library, Paula Becker will present her powerful memoir, “A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction.” (University of Iowa Press, 2019).

A House on Stilts tells the story of one woman's struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. 

Paula Becker's son Hunter was raised in a safe nurturing home by his writer/historian mom and his physician father. He was a bright, curious child. And yet, addiction found him. 

More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, some half-million of these to heroin. For many of them -- for Hunter -- their drug addiction leads to lives of demoralization, homelessness, and constant peril. For parents -- for Paula -- a child's addiction upends family life, catapulting them onto a path no longer prescribed by Dr. Spock, but by Dante's Inferno.

This intensely personal account of trauma and survival offers a timely exploration of a family forced to grapple with America's opioid crisis.

The opioid crisis is now a part of our local and national history, and we will be dealing with the memories and repercussions of it for a long time.

Thanks to Elliot Bay Books, copies will be available for purchase at the presentation, and the author will be available to sign them.

The Shoreline Library is located at 345 NE 175th St. in Shoreline. For more information, contact the Shoreline Historical Museum, 206-542-7111, or email


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