★★★★★ This book is a rare treasure, personal and revealing. Most books about the complications of addiction are written by a professional, a therapist. Or sometimes, an addict describes a solitary journey in a painful search for personal recovery. Here the rare couple, both gifted and insightful, describe a relationship that grew from an unhealthy and doomed co-dependence through growth and ultimate personal liberation for both. They are unsparing in their search for truth as each evolves from enormous personal pain into personal generosity . Their story is a gift to all of us as we wander through our own messy lives.
— Anna (Amazon Review)
Double Helix tells the incredible story of the intertwined lives these two remarkable individuals have lived – and continue to live. While the DNA of their lives swirled around each other, each was dealing with a destructive dependency. But in that swirling, in that intermingling of two lives, the power of the human spirit – the conscious effort to understand and overcome – prevails! Theirs is truly a story of triumph, told in alternating voices that take us on a journey through racism and sexism, universities and prisons. When, after his acclaimed jazz concert performance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ed and Diane are summoned to sit with Aretha Franklin and Bette Midler, the reader has no doubt that this triumphant moment belongs to them both.
— Michael Kroll (Goodreads Review)
★★★★★ A roller-coaster ride through love, addiction and jazz. Double Helix, a memoir written in two voices, is not a "he said, she said" tale of a single story. Rather it is two stories that intertwine creating a cogent whole. The scenes often seem impossible. How could he do that? Why would she tolerate that? Why are they still/again together? The answer of course is—that's what addicts and enablers do—no matter how fantastical it may seem to outsiders. The twist is that BOTH are addicts and enablers swirling around each other, carried along my the muse of jazz and a deep and abiding love of each other. Certainly this is a story of addiction and music. More certainly it is a love story. Startling, compelling and ultimately victorious.
—Sue Burish (Amazon Review)
★★★★★ Engaging stories, hard-earned truths! The stories Ed and Diane tell about their lives are truly captivating. They are exceptional individuals, carving out meaning in life, always thinking about how to make the world a better place. Learning about the long pathway that brought them to where they are… is astonishing and enlightening. They write with great honesty about the forces of adversity—both external (racism, prison, corruption) and internal (addiction, self-deception, fear)—and their lifelong quest to overcome them through love, self-knowledge, service… and music. The narrative they weave feels at once both shockingly truthful and the stuff of movies. This book offers a precious glimpse into two remarkable lives, and into the times in which they lived. I am so glad it exists for you to read.
—Anton (Amazon Review)
★★★★★ I could not put it down. Engaging, fascinating, inspiring. Two points of view, chronicling fifty years of a tumultuous interracial love story, make this an outstanding read. Diane Reed's heart-wrenching story, so masterfully written, deserves kudos for a unique depiction of love, devotion and co-dependency. Ed Reed's articulate description of addiction, imprisonment and personal survival is both educational and stunning. Together their experiences gift the reader with an intimate view of racism, the challenges of co-dependency and how, in spite of almost insurmountable challenges, Ed Reed's innate talents ultimately lead to international recognition as an outstanding jazz singer at an unbelievable age. Yes, this begs for a movie...
—Alicia Hugg (Amazon Review)
The conversational back-and-forth between the two ... is illuminative and equitable... a union of smart, funny, briskly thinking originators. ... If you didn’t know Ed or Diane Reed before Double Helix, you’ll be glad you met them. And if you’re familiar with their story, read for the details, hard and happy, and find Ed’s records for the perfect sweet-and-sour background accompaniment.
—A.D. Amorosi, JazzTimes
In this gripping, gut-wrenching, knock-your-socks-off memoir, Diane and Ed Reed tell their shared, unsparing story of addiction and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption. Their two voices, point/counterpoint, are entangled and illuminating. Their happy ending, when it finally comes, is well-earned and thrilling. They show how it’s never too late to be what you might have been.
— Elizabeth Fishel, author of Getting to 30: A Parent’s Guide to the 20-Something Years
A story of the universal human experience and a journey of two souls walking through the dark night as partners and sometimes utterly alone. It will be a relief to those of us who have been stifled (or worse) by shame and trauma.
— Galen Ellis, Community Health Planning Consultant
An honest, thoughtful, and touching chronicle of two very different but totally intertwined lives. Always fascinating—and at times horrifying—Ed and Diane’s stories unfold in tandem, sometimes joyful, sometimes poignant, sometimes almost unbearably sad. They hold nothing back in this recounting, but eventually it becomes a story of triumph and fulfillment. A compelling and satisfying read, hard to put down.
— Steve Allen, Addiction Psychologist
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
In his late 70s Ed Reed emerged suddenly on the national scene as an extraordinary jazz singer whose performances revealed new emotional depths to familiar standards. Double Helix not only details his anguished but ultimately triumphant sojourn from self-sabotaging addict to uncommonly self-aware artist; it offers the braided tale of Diane Reed, a resilient force in the fight for women’s rights who navigated the treacherous path with Ed over five decades and two marriages. A brave, unsettling, and deeply human story.
— Andrew Gilbert, Jazz Journalist, SF Chronicle
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