A Prayer for Orion

A Prayer for Orion
  • Length: 180 pages
  • Published: January 28, 2020
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4577-4
  • Item Code: 4577

It's always somebody else's kid—until it's yours.

When Katherine James and her husband found out their son was using heroin, their responses ran the gamut: disbelief, anger, helplessness, guilt. As they struggled to come to grips with their son's addiction and decide how best to help him, their home became a refuge for an unlikely assortment of their son's friends, each with their own story, drawn by the simple love and acceptance they found there—"the Lost Boys," James calls them.

In this sensitive, vulnerable memoir, award-winning novelist James turns her lush prose to a new purpose: to tell her family's story through the twists and turns of her son's addiction, overdose, and slow recovery. The result is not just a look at the phenomenon of drug abuse in suburban America, but also a meditation on the particular anguish of loving a wayward child and clinging to a desperate trust in God's providence through it all.

"A Prayer for Orion is one of the most important books of our time. With heartbreaking honesty and wide-eyed clarity, James offers us an intimate view of the opioid crisis. Her vulnerability, compassion, and sagacious insight confront our tendency to judge or distance ourselves from addicts—and instead invite us to lean in and love."

Dorothy Littell Greco, writer and author of Making Marriage Beautiful

"Addiction. Most of us don't know what we don't know. Katherine lets us learn with her on a journey of drugs and overdose with Sweetboy. A story filled with joy, fear, pain, deception, despair, hope, hope dashed, and hope restored. So many tears. And a God who comforts and sustains, who seems to disappear, then reappear. I wept, I held my breath, I turned the page—how can a mother endure? If you love a druggie or know someone who does, you will want to read this book."

Judy Douglass, director, Cru women's resources, author of When You Love a Prodigal


Part One
1. Sick
2. Yo.
3. There Once Was a Mother
4. War Drug
5. The Salvation of Menstrual Cramps
6. Apple Pie
7. Loco
8. Names
9. Glass Half Empty
10. Settling In
12. Smoking
13. The Lost Boys
14. Retribution
15. Opiaddicts
16. Jeremiah
17. Skin Heads
18. Dreams
Part Two
19. Stephan
20. Guns and Arrows
21. Patterns
22. Without Ceasing
23. Pee Tests
24. Lost
25. The Ruin of Tapestries and Couches
26. Next of Kin
27. Septic Shock
28. Backstory
29. Elevators All the Way Down
30. Ten to Thirty Percent
31. Glory's in the Front Yard
32. Burdens
33. Flowers to Fingers
34. Ways to Save a Kid
35. Native American
36. Doors and Houses
37. Tripping
38. Kayaking the Dark River
39. Walking it Back
40. Waylen
41. Sunflowers
42 Provence
43. Now


Katherine James received the Felipe P. De Alba Fellowship from Columbia University, where she also taught undergraduate fiction. Her debut novel, Can You See Anything Now?, won Christianity Today's 2018 Fiction Book award and was a semifinalist for the Doris Bakwin Award. She lives in Westchester, Pennslyvania, with her husband, Rick.

BY Katherine James

Recommendations For You

Purchased With