“Paula Sergi’s Star Boy is, hands down, the most riveting and moving book of poetry I have read this year. “

“Cumulative acts of unflinching witness, these poems capture of the beauty and vulnerability of the son and his childhood, the terror of his descent into addiction, the ferocity of mother-love, and the blessing and fragility of the return. Epic in scope, but intimate in its detail, this book captures the jagged and multi-faceted complexity of the experience. I was knocked down by the beauty of Sergi’s language and the power of her truth-telling. Illuminated by pain, empathy, compassion, and, above all, the desire to understand, these gorgeous poems shine, bright as the stars that run through this brilliant and original book.”

– Alison Townsend, Author of “The Blue Dress” and “Persephone in America”

What people are saying about Star Boy


Truly a story of redemption and a mother’s infinite ability to love.

“The poems in this collection tell the story of a much-wanted baby boy who seems bent on adventure and heedless of self-injury. He becomes a highly motivated and introspective man whose passion for music is mixed with great anxiety about performing. His mother understands her son, the star boy, and his fears and troubles as he leaves home. She grapples her new identity as the mom of an addict. She sees her family’s role in his addiction: brother and cousins too have fallen from this and so when told there is a 25% success rate, it does not seem promising. In order to survive and thrive the son has to create a new persona in a brand-new place. The mother must now face the irony of him being cut out of her body at birth and now cut off from her life. ” 

-Linda Remus, mother of Sean. forever 23.


Thank you for sharing your poignant words about such a painful journey. Both of our kids overdosed and survived,
thank goodness. It’s just the perfect form of torture as a parent to watch your children suffering loss after loss as
they spiral down. I also could not sleep worrying about their whereabouts and what they were engaged in to survive.

– Jeanne Bryner, nurse, mother and writer

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