Ed & Diane Reed
In 1968, Ed was a 39 year-old African-American parolee, heroin addict, and sometimes jazz singer from Watts, California. Diane was a naïve 24-year old Jewish girl from the Bronx. People said they had no business being together, and their many troubled years of marriage, divorce, reconciliation, more separation and ultimate bottoming out seemed to prove them right—almost. Double Helix is an intensely evocative and unsentimental story told in alternating narrative voices that follows the turbulent, decades-long journey of two people from different worlds whose lives, continually spiraling around each other like a double helix, are really two intertwined stories.
Double Helix traces Ed’s years of addiction, incarceration, treatment programs, and homelessness, along with Diane’s struggle to balance her instinct to support and help Ed with her inability to hold him accountable, learning that loving an addict can be just as harrowing as being one. Double Helix conveys a compelling message—not only is change possible, but it is never too late to realize your dreams.
A tough and frank account with a compelling presentation of co-dependency and how it develops. There were times reading that I didn’t see how Ed possibly could turn it all around, and that made the story so harrowing and suspenseful.
Heather Pegas, Essayist
It reads like a great jazz gig: call and response, maybe not knowing the changes and improvising, blowin’ some clams, not knowing how the tune might end, but trusting the musicians to take you there. All that’s left after every falsehood has been peeled away is love and music—and two lives well examined.
Alisa Clancy, KCSM