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The Many Lives of Mama Love (Oprah's Book Club)

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781804190500

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 3rd August 2023

Genre: Biography & True Stories

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LONGLISTED FOR THE CWA’s ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction Award

‘Once you start reading, be prepared, because you won’t want to stop.’ -Oprah Winfrey

New York Times bestselling author Lara Love Hardin recounts her slide from soccer mom to opioid addict to jailhouse shot caller and her unlikely comeback as a highly successful ghostwriter in this harrowing, hilarious, no-holds-barred memoir.

No one expects the police to knock on the door of the million-dollar two-story home of the perfect cul-de-sac housewife. But soccer mom Lara Love Hardin has been hiding a shady secret: she is funding her heroin addiction by stealing her neighbors’ credit cards.

Lara is convicted of thirty-two felonies and becomes inmate S32179. She finds that jail is a class system with a power structure that is somewhere between an adolescent sleepover party and Lord of the Flies. Furniture is made from tampon boxes, and Snickers bars are currency. But Lara quickly learns the rules and brings love and healing to her fellow inmates as she climbs the social ladder and acquires the nickname “Mama Love,” showing that jailhouse politics aren’t that different from the PTA meetings she used to attend.

When she’s released, she reinvents herself as a ghostwriter. Now, she’s legally co-opting other people’s identities and getting to meet Oprah, meditate with the Dalai Lama, and have dinner with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But the shadow of her past follows her. Shame is a poison worse than heroin-there is no way to detox. Lara must learn how to forgive herself and others, navigate life as a felon on probation, and prove to herself that she is more good than bad, among other essential lessons.

The Many Lives of Mama Love is a heartbreaking and tender journey from shame to redemption, despite a system that makes it almost impossible for us to move beyond the worst thing we have ever done.


Lara Love Hardin shares compelling and important truths in her beautifully told personal story.
Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black
Thrilling, funny, heart-breaking and moving. I'll return to this book when I need to be reminded of the power of the human spirit.
David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy
Hardin is an aptly named genius with a heart of gold.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Compelling and timely.
Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy
A hilarious and heart-breaking confession that will not let you go until it is done - and then it will haunt you.
Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
A courageous and inspiring memoir
Kirkus Reviews
A suburban mom weathers addiction, jail, and parole in this roller-coaster debut memoir... Hardin mixes despair and comedy in her evocative prose: "I carefully pick through the bottom-of-purse debris until I find some small brown chips.... I don't know if I'm smoking heroin or food crumbs or lint, but I feel the anxiety slowly leave my chest." This redemption story feels well earned.'
Publishers Weekly
'Laced with penetrating wit, written with unsparing honesty and manifesting irrepressible resilience, The Many Lives of Mama Love is a book to intrigue, enchant, instruct, entertain and inspire readers of all ages and backgrounds. It speaks to our common human experience of suffering and the healing that can follow.'
Gabor Maté M.D., author of the New York Times bestseller, The Myth of Normal
This book will make you laugh, cry, and realize that everyone deserves a chance and, sometimes more than one. A powerful, poignant memoir filled with grace, enlightenment and love.
Dr. James Doty, author of the New York Times bestseller, Into The Magic Shop
Hardin reveals who we truly are deep inside: infinite souls of limitless possibility. We are far more than the sum of what we have done and not done, what we have and do not have. In her profound, moving memoir, Hardin is honest, courageous, and challenges us to exceed the limiting definition we impose on ourselves and one another. We all can be redeemed.
Dr. Lisa Miller, psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Spiritual Child
Grips you as suddenly as any psychological thriller... Readers will experience the lows and highs of addiction, incarceration and rehabilitation as Love Hardin assembles the pieces of her shattered life into something beautiful again in this inspiring chronicle.
The Many Lives of Mama Love is a masterclass in perseverance. This brilliant memoir is a reminder and inspiration that sometimes the only way out of suffering is to go straight through it. This book will leave you inspired and empowered to reveal your own most authentic self.
Rich Roll, bestselling author of Finding Ultra and host of The Rich Roll Podcast
Grips you as suddenly as any psychological thriller...Readers will experience the lows and highs of addiction, incarceration and rehabilitation as Love Hardin assembles the pieces of her shattered life into something beautiful again in this inspiring chronicle.
After negotiating prison politics and being released, she found success as a ghostwriter - but her shame tainted her achievements and her dazzling life of encounters with stars including Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Hardin's narrative to self-acceptance is dazzling too, as momentous as the road she's traveled.
LA Times
One woman refuses to let her greatest mistake define her in this stunning memoir from author and literary agent Lara Love Hardin...dark, funny, and inspirational, The Many Lives of Mama Love proves that truth can be so much stranger than fiction.