IVP Books Publishes A Prayer for Orion, Memoir by Alumna Katherine James ’06

BY Nina Mahesh, February 14, 2020

A Prayer for Orion: A Son's Addiction and a Mother's Love, a memoir by fiction alumna Katherine James ’06  was published by IVP Books in January, 2020.


Christianity Today said, “In painful, haunting vignettes, James interweaves her life with his [her son’s], telling their story from the anguished, solitary helplessness of self-doubt—and then, ultimately, the resplendent relief of joy…Drawing on her harrowing experience, James illumines the pathology of addiction.” They went on to say the way the book was written shows, “James’s genius as a writer.” Evangelicals for Social Action said, “The opening to Katherine James's memoir, A Prayer for Orion, is enough to leave a reader—and in particular, a reader who is also a parent—breathless.” The review goes on to say, “Perhaps because of this beauty, because of the horror, because of the sadness and hope and the deep, abiding faith James expresses: perhaps because of all this, A Prayer for Orion is a powerful, life-changing book that should be required reading for every parent, not just those facing the challenges of raising sons and daughters who are addicted to substances like heroin.”


A Prayer for Orion: A Son's Addiction and a Mother's Love follows a mother through the twists and turns of her son's addiction. 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 her son's addiction, overdose, and slow recovery.


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, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Rick.


A Prayer for Orion: A Son's Addiction and a Mother's Love is available at your local bookstore or online.