Book Review: In Search of a Salve: Memoir of a Sex Addict by K. E. Garland

July 1, 2024

In Search of a Salve is the written personification of what it means to stare the truth of yourself in the mirror and accept it wholeheartedly. In stories tender and raw, K E Garland invites readers on the journey of her life as she discovers herself, her sexuality, and subsequent sex addiction.

In Search of a Salve is the memoir of someone who’s spent years excavating her interior; rooting out what never belonged and pouring in all that she needed to live courageously bold, honest, and healing. — description via Bookshop.*

I follow K. E. Garland’s blog, and I remember when she started promoting In Search of a Salve: Memoir of a Sex Addict, she said there and on Instagram posts that the book would not be salacious and that she would tell the whole truth. What she didn’t say is that her memoir would serve not only as a tale about sex addiction but that the book would also work to teach people to understand how addiction works and why it happens. In saying that, I want to be clear that this is a memoir that reads like a memoir so is not an academic text in the traditional sense of the word, but it’s important to note that Garland is first and foremost an educator, which comes through clearly here. In most memoirs that I have read, people may share their experiences and say that x or y is not uncommon for people who, say, have sex addiction; however, that’s usually where they stop. Garland, on the other hand, will make that statement but also provide footnotes with sources and–at the end–she includes a bibliography for further reading along with a list of books/readings not directly referenced in the text that helped her understand herself and change her life.

I mention the salaciousness as well because this is not written to titillate even when Garland gives specifics about some of her sexual encounters. Rather, she takes time to detail what she was thinking and feeling before, during, and after to give a true glimpse into the interior world of someone with sex addiction and how that interior world drives the external behaviors. In that way, the promise of her telling the whole truth is also fulfilled.

I am familiar with Garland’s writing from her blog and other nonfiction pieces she has published, and she provides the same level of craft and storytelling here. The memoir is filled with anecdotes from the entirety of Garland’s lifetime, including the impact her sexual addiction has on her relationships and marriage. She writes about all the major players (including herself) with compassion, even those who abandoned and/or abused her.

The writing is engaging and, as I said earlier, informative but not in a preachy or didactic way. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand addiction generally and sexual addiction specifically as I think it would help them to understand why a person may go down that path.

P. S. Check out Kathy’s blog! It’s awesome :D

*As a Bookshop associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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1 Comment

  1. K E Garland

    Thank you so much, Akilah! I appreciate it when readers get what I was trying to do. Like you said, Ima always teach something lol, but I try not to be didactic. I’m influenced by Steinbeck (one of my favs), but I never want to be hitting people over the head with a parable 😂

    Thanks again <3


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