Regular price: $27.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The space between life and death is a moment. But it will remain alive in me for hundreds of thousands of future moments.

One phone call. That's all it took to change Stephanie Wittels Wachs's life forever.... Her younger brother Harris, a star in the comedy world known for his work on shows like Parks and Recreation, had died of a heroin overdose. How do you make sense of such a tragic end to a life of so much hilarious brilliance? 

In beautiful, unsentimental, and surprisingly funny prose, Stephanie Wittels Wachs alternates between her brother's struggle with addiction, which she learned about three days before her wedding, and the first year after his death, in all its emotional devastation. This compelling portrait of a comedic genius and a profound exploration of the love between siblings is The Year of Magical Thinking for a new generation of listeners.

A heartbreaking but hopeful memoir of addiction, grief, and family, Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful will make you laugh, cry, and wonder if that possum on the fence is really your brother's spirit animal.

©2018 Stephanie Wittels Wachs (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Beautiful, funny, and epically poignant." (Sarah Silverman)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    75
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    72
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    69
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow. This is the truest story I’ve read of the baffling heartbreak that is addiction robbing a close family of a genius...

This book was for me so goosebump-inducing in its raw truth that I had to consume it in fits-and-starts. And the format of the book is brilliant as well and really left me inspired and hopeful for the author’s future creative/professional endeavors.
I was a big fan of Harris’s and his graduating class of comics such as Joe Mande, etc. But also having my own personal experience with opiate addiction and recovery from, as well as being the brother/son of same, I hesitated to check this book out. I worried it would be too hard/too real. That it would stir up sorrow and guilt and sadness. And while there was some of that, this book should be required reading for any family member (the addict included) who is in the midst of the chaos of addiction. This book does a perfect job communicating the helplessness on both sides of a serious drug addiction. And it also does what few other books on this topic do, which is reveal how opiate addiction in particular has spread insidiously into ever strata and facet of US society. Never before have we had the number of highly educated/seemingly-successful members of society with bright futures who simultaneously fight an internal struggle that can be fatal.
I normally don’t write reviews, especially with the difficulty of typing on my listening device (phone). But this book left me wanting to write the author, which i imagine would only be a burden.
Stephanie, you wrote a masterpiece, and I want to thank you for the perspective this lent me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartbreakingly beautiful

Stephanie Wittels Wachs has broken herself wide open and shared her would with those of us lucky enough to be exposed to her writing. I am in awe of her bravery and talent. My thanks to her for taking her tragedy and sharing it with the world. I feel forever changed by this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't miss this book!

Would you consider the audio edition of Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful to be better than the print version?

I enjoyed the audio version because the author was such a great narrator of her story. She was very genuine - you could feel the emotion in every page.

What about Stephanie Wittels Wachs’s performance did you like?

Very heartfelt - she's an excellent narrator

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Honest, hilarious, & heartbreaking

Stephanie Wittels Wachs beautifully captures the acute and long-term experiences of grief, loving an addict, and navigating family dynamics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful tribute to Harris as well as an honest depiction of losing a sibling to addiction

This book was beautifully told, gut wrenching and I recommend to anyone who has lost a sibling to addiction. Stephanie puts into words the struggle of loving someone with addiction and how relentlessly life goes on when a love one dies. How one phone call can change your world and navigating life without someone who has been a part of your core self your entire life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and heart breaking

Where does Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of my favorite books I have listened to in the last year. As someone who works in the field of Addiction and Recovery it gives a realistic and honest view of what it is like to love someone who is ill and trying to get better.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I listened to this book on my commute and finished it on my way to work and had to redo my eye makeup before going in to the office because I had been crying in my car.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Honest, phenomenal

After listening to Harris’s comedy for years, I started to feel like I knew him. To see what addiction does to someone you thought you knew helps immensely to put yourself in the shoes of someone who actually has lost a loved one to addiction.

As un-filtered as Harris presented himself in his celebrity, he was simultaneously a far more flawed, and far better person than most of us ever saw. You’ll find yourself furious with him on behalf of his family, only to forgive him a few chapters later when he makes you laugh, only to feel empty again knowing his specific brand of genius is gone.

Stephanie’s book is beautifully written. Harris’s comedy and honesty is conveyed all too well, making the tragedy of his death more miserable by contrast. But his strengths as a writer are mirrored by his sister, who successfully finds the absurd in the darkest moments.

On an un-emotional note, read dreamland too, which helps to convey the universal scale of the addiction epidemic. The two books complement each other well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully written

I lost my mom and my sister to overdose. Thank you for telling Harris's story! I laughed and cried the whole way through.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

BEST MEMOIR

Would you consider the audio edition of Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful to be better than the print version?

Author Stephanie Wittles miraculously maintains full composure while reading aloud her book which resurfaces the most difficult year of her life. I don't know how she did it, but it makes her story all the more beautiful hearing it in her own voice. Thank you, Stephanie, for your honesty and bravery.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully Horrifying

As a big fan of Parks and Recs, I knew I had to read this book. The strength, madness, and tears it must have taken for Harris' sister to write this is unimaginable. Please read this book in honor of Harris, family, friends, humor, and heroine. Because isn't she just a cruel bitch.