Exit Wounds by Annie O’Neill Stein Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman who grew up in a volatile household struggles with addiction through dark humor and strength learned only through her childhood in late author and actress Annie O’Neill Stein’s “Exit Wounds”.


The Synopsis

Born to shanty Irish on one side and Park Avenue privilege on the other, Laura navigates a turbulent childhood filled with the alcohol-fueled abuse of her volatile father and her mother’s excessive drinking. As the middle child of three girls, she assigns herself the role of her mother’s protector, who dies when Laura is thirteen, leaving her heartbroken and adrift.

Insecure, anxious, and fearful, she tries drugs, random sex, and a sequence of lovers. Along the way, she becomes a successful painter and has a bad first marriage. Nothing, however, seems to assuage her emptiness and her sense of loss. Eventually, she marries a caring man and has a loving daughter. It is only at the end of her life, and by way of an unusual and unexpected turn of events that she is finally able to make peace with herself, to let go of the feeling that she never really grieved, and said goodbye to her beloved mother, and to appreciate that though we work at love and acceptance, sometimes the most wonderful experiences in our lives come in unanticipated and unsought ways. 

The Review

This was such an incredible story. The natural way the author was able to infuse humor, even dark humor, into such a heavy and serious subject matter was great to read, as it allowed for a more human connection to the subjects and themes the author was exploring. The heart and passion for which the author wrote were felt on every page, and the rich imagery really brought out the protagonist’s story to life in a very vivid way.

The heart of this story rests in the rich character growth that the author was able to develop. The relatability and nearly historical aspect of this narrative really brought these characters to life. The way the author was able to delve into the emotional journey that the protagonist went on was so heartfelt and allowed readers to connect to the narrative. The amazing way the author wrote this journey in a way that felt like a collection of short stories and yet made the narrative feel cohesive was truly incredible.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, captivating, and engaging, author Annie O’Neill Stein’s “Exit Wounds” is a must-read novel. The rich character dynamics and beautiful cohesion of dark humor and emotional storytelling made this a beautiful and thought-provoking journey. I am truly honored to have been able to read this novel. I learned recently that the author had recently passed, but the family had wanted to keep pushing and promoting the author’s work as the book launched, and I hope you all will join me in supporting the author’s literary work and her family as this story sees the light of day. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

I moved to Los Angeles in the early 80s as an actress, during the great migration of NY actors to LA. Talk about being a dime a dozen. After many small parts in TV series, from Miami Vice to Charlie’s Angels, I decided to follow my true passion, writing.

I found my mentors at UCLA, Eve LaSalle Caram, and Kerry Madden, studying with them both for several years. Being accepted to Sewanee Writer’s Conference to study with Alice McDermott planted the seed for Exit Wounds, my novel (forthcoming by The Permanent Press: 9/6/22).

Having written for several magazines, More, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Distinction, Folks, and being a regular contributor to Huffington Post for several years, helped me hone the skills to attempt to write my novel.

Word; do the homework!
One of the things I’m proudest of is leading creative writing workshops with foster teens for five years, and editing and publishing Beauty From Ashes, short stories, and poetry written by foster youth.

I live in LA with my husband and have two grown daughters. Although I would love to pretend I live in the French countryside. On this website, I’ll be sharing info on books, articles, photos, and anything I think worthy and uplifting. I‘ll share feelings about the state of the world trying not to point fingers or be judgmental. How to do that and be honest may be hard but I said try.

I’m a huge advocate of kindness. Kindness, gratitude, and the belief that we’re all on this planet to help each other.
Enough about me.



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