Anna B. Moore

Cover art by René Bouchard

Don’t Pity the Desperate

Unsolicited Press

Sept. 2024

Don’t Pity the Desperate

Don’t Pity the Desperate tells the story of Myra, a self-aware teenage girl who perseveres when her father admits her to an inpatient treatment center against her will. Under tight surveillance, Myra must confront both her alcoholism and her compulsion to pull out her hair. She finds hope in faith and confession, two key principles of recovery. As her peers—an ensemble of abused, neglected, and sometimes unrestrained addicts—grow to rely on the solutions offered at Our Primary Purpose, Myra decides to follow the rules. But when her counselor betrays her, her boyfriend rejects her (doesn’t he?), and God remains indifferent despite her prayers and devotion, Myra must twist her narrative to move forward. Her quest for love and acceptance is a dark anthem of Gen-X pop culture and an affirmation of the suffering of growing up.

Advanced Praise

“Myra is in deep trouble, exactly the sort of trouble American teens find themselves in, here in the centerless middle of endless suburbia, of late stage capitalism, driven by longings she cannot control or decipher. In a voice that rises up out of her deepest insecurities and denials, Don’t Pity the Desperate tracks Myra’s progress toward her own truth, or at least a self that is by degrees more survivable, and there is much bravery and beauty in the telling. This deep-hearted, penetrating portrait delivers the thing I want most in any story: the feeling that the writer’s life depended, at least a little, in getting it on the page.”

—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek and Finding Hope in the High Country

“From page one, Don’t Pity the Desperate is riveting, encompassing the grief, confusion and, yes, the desperate wanting of a young addict named Myra who has lost her way. Deadpan, darkly humorous and profoundly touching, Moore’s novel is full of knife-sharp insights about rehabs and recovery – and I fear those insights are as true today as they were in the 1980s, when this story is set. Is recovery possible? And what, exactly, are we recovering from? Vivid and evocative, Moore’s story is unforgettable. It lingers in my imagination still.”

—Samantha Dunn, Author of Failing Paris and Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life

“An unsparing examination of the kids who use and the imperfect program designed to save them, this novel spares the reader nothing. In prose that is razor sharp yet dazzlingly beautiful, Anna B. Moore probes ‘the spot between feeling and truth,’ stirring hope and compassion for us all. A riveting debut.”

—Rob Davidson, author of Welcome Back to the World: A Novella and Stories

“In beautiful, harrowing, and often funny prose, Anna Moore’s DON’T PITY THE DESPERATE knits together all the feelings and realities of trying to emerge from addiction– the pathos, the gallows humor, the family difficulties, the regeneration of self – into a compulsively readable novel constructed of lovely sentences and electric scenes. Moore builds the book’s central character, Myra, with such a deft hand, with such nuance, delicacy, and believability. Moore’s dialogue and secondary characters pull you from page to page, each remarkably vivid and each its own whole world. You will root for Myra at every stage of her journey. A truly compelling, moving, and well-crafted look at the complexities of recovery.”

—Amy Stuber, author of Sad Grownups

“Moore has written a beautiful vault of truths.”

—Josh Mohr, author of Model Citizen and Damascus