Crashing: I Love You. Forgive Me.

In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, Mark L. O’Brien examines the profound consequences of the moment that forever changed his life and the choice that cut short the life of the woman he loved.

The morning after a birthday party she threw for him, O’Brien woke up in the hospital to learn that his girlfriend was dead, and he might be going to prison for causing the car crash that killed her. With piercing insight and stark prose, Mark L. O’Brien leads us on a deeply personal, intimate, and emotional journey—grappling with loss, regret, and his fragmented memories of the night of the crash, questioning a new relationship fraught with immense shame and colored by his continued attachment to his lost love, and wondering whether the forgiveness of his girlfriend’s family and questions about his guilt would keep him out of prison. Along the way, he delivers an unflinching exploration of grief, mercy, and the fractured path from loss to meaning. The result is a staggering and inspiring tour de force.

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Not long after his girlfriend’s death, O’Brien met a friend of a friend who understood what it meant to grieve. She’d recently lost her father to cancer, and O’Brien found himself in the strangest love triangle, unsure of whether he was cheating on his dead girlfriend by exploring his new love interest or cheating on the new love interest by obsessing over his lost love. Was it possible, or even fair, to love them both?

Mark L. O’Brien’s powerful memoir, Crashing, takes readers on a heartbreaking journey through his pain and anguish as he comes to terms with his role in his girlfriend’s death. It’s a powerful reminder of the human spirit’s capacity to choose redemption, and also an excellent primer on how substance use and addiction needs to be treated–with scientific evidence and compassion.

Leana Wen, M.D., CNN Medical Analyst and author, Lifelines.

While the heart of Crashing is O’Brien’s examination of pain and shame in the aftermath of the crash, a new and unexpected relationship, and his path to redemption, readers will be shocked by the dysfunction of the criminal justice and addiction treatment systems O’Brien confronts, systems he has since dedicated himself to reforming.

“I knew I’d made a horrible mistake, but I was stunned to see the disgrace we’d allowed these systems to become,” O’Brien says. “From racism and dehumanizing cruelty to nearly comic ineptitude, none of us are better off living in a society with a criminal justice system that makes it impossible for people to choose a better path and an addiction treatment system that too often leaves people more traumatized than when they entered it.”

Witness the powerful transformation of a man who could have been crushed by the devastation he caused.

As seen in The Washington Post and on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Emmy award-winning Red Table TalkMark L. O’Brien’s story will inspire readers with its powerful message of hope and its heart-wrenching illustration of the human capacity to discover seeds of meaning in even the most painful experiences.

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All proceeds from sales of Crashing benefit nonprofit programs that address traumatizing criminal justice and addiction treatment system harms.

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