Paula Becker discusses 'A House on Stilts'
Saturday, Sep. 21, 2019, 2 – 3:15 p.m.
Paula Becker discusses 'A House on Stilts'
WhereCentral Library
Room LocationLevel 1 - Microsoft Auditorium
SummaryJoin us to hear this personal account of a family grappling with America's opioid crisis.
View in Catalog"A House on Stilts" by Paula Becker
Description"A House on Stilts" tells the story of one woman's struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. Paula Becker's son Hunter was raised in a safe nurturing home by his writer/historian mom and his physician father. He was a bright curious child. And yet, addiction found him. More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, some half-million of these to heroin. For many of them -- for Hunter -- their drug addiction leads to lives of demoralization, homelessness, and constant peril. For parents -- for Paula -- a child's addiction upends family life, catapulting them onto a path no longer prescribed by Dr. Spock, but by Dante's Inferno. 

After brief remarks there will be a panel discussion with representatives from Youth Care and Accelerator Y, and moderated by KUOW-FM’s Ross Reynolds.


Paula Becker is the author of Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I, and coauthor of The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Ross Reynolds is KUOW’s Executive Producer for Community Engagement. Before that he was a KUOW program host for 16 years. His awards include the 2011 Public Radio News Directors First Place in the Call-in category for “Living in a White City”. He has also been KUOW’s News Director, Program Director and he hosted the weekly KCTS-TV interview program ‘Upon Reflection’.  Ross was news director at KBOO Radio in Portland, Oregon and News/Public Affairs Director at WCUW Radio in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Ross has been in journalism fellowships through the East West Center to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Kingdom of Tonga and through RIAS Berlin to Berlin, Brussels, and Prague. He is a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and the University Of Washington Department Of Communication Masters in Digital Media program. In 2015 he was named to the UW Communication Alumni Hall of Fame. He is also an honorary Seattle Seafair Pirate. His pirate name is ‘Rotten Ross’.


Founded in 1974 as one of the first shelters to serve runaway and homeless youth on the West Coast, YouthCare works to end youth homelessness and to ensure that young people are valued for who they are and empowered to achieve their potential.

Accelerator Y is the largest provider of housing for homeless young adults in King County, providing housing to nearly 300 individuals on any given night. Accelerator Y offers a variety of housing programs that are geared toward supporting young adults who are aging out of foster care and/or are experiencing homelessness. One of these programs, Young Adults In Transition (YAIT), consists of 20 studio apartment-style units located above the Downtown Seattle YMCA, providing a short-term, supportive living environment. While in this program, participants receive case management and support in building life skills to prepare them for moving into permanent and independent living."


“Really brilliant. I often feel that addiction lies right outside in this way. This is a remarkable book. And an utterly terrifying one.”—Andrew Solomon, author, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

“A House on Stilts is the story of a family just like yours perhaps, or the family next door. Through raw and authentic expression, we come to share in this mother’s loss of dreams for her addicted son. Paula Becker deftly shows how addiction can happen to anyone.”—D’Anne Burwell, author, Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home

“Paula Becker pulls back the curtain and shows us what is typically only whispered about: the opioid crisis among young, white privileged kids and the effect on their middle-class families. Becker, in a fashion true to her historian roots, digs into the opioid crisis that is leaving no demographic untouched, and also digs into her past, looking at her parenting for clues and wrong turns along the route to her son’s teenage years. Ultimately, what she writes is an elegy for Hunter, who she finally realizes had been walking his own path all along.”—Kate Carroll De Gutes, author, Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsor Gary Kunis, and Seattle City of Literature. Thanks to media sponsor The Seattle Times. The event is presented in partnership with Youth Care, Accelerator Y, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, and Elliott Bay Book Company. Books will be available for purchase at the event.
NotesLibrary events and programs are free and everyone is welcome. Registration is not required.
PodcastThis event will be recorded for podcast.
Have a question?Ask Us
Contact Phone206-386-4636
Contact Info*Central Library
Room CapacitySpace is limited at library events. Please come early to make sure you get a seat. Due to the fire code, we can’t exceed the maximum capacity for our rooms.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
View CalendarPrint