What I’m Reading: Moral Dissipation by S.M. Jarvis

S.M Jarvis’ Moral Dissipation will leave you high.

Set in a fictional Vermont town, it follows 27-year-old Ryan Landry, writing from his jail cell, as he recounts all the f*cked up things that had to happen for him to end up there.

Vermont is, in fact, in the midst of a heroin epidemic.

And, as someone who spent 8 years of her life there, this is something which affected me greatly. Friends of friends overdosing on the regular, seeing my beautiful Green Mountain State renamed the ‘Brown Mountain State’ by the media, witnessing dozens of people die from the addicition- it was never easy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged onto Facebook, only to see what I assumed would stop- another young life, taken too soon, left to be remembered by his or her family and friends.


It was never easy for Ryan to be an addict, either- he struggles with it every step of this book- but overall, his life is his addiction, his disease. He reflects on his past, and is joined by the voices of those who care about him, throughout the fictional novel. The raw voice with which the author writes strikes a chord with me, as I remember reading the obituaries of the faces from Vermont lost I’ve seen in the news.

S.M Jarvis, otherwise known as fun-loving, Mike’s Hard Ice Tea & snowboard loving Sarah, is an inspiration, and not just because of this novel . She wrote this book about her home state while working full-time to support her only daughter, single-handedly buying a house at the same time. In fact, the baby, the book, and the house all happened within the same year, seriously. In fact, her own experiences with heroin becoming an epidemic in her own hometown and state made her mad for change, a change she’s started with her own first novel, Moral Dissipation. Proceeds do, in fact go to a worthy cause, but I’ll touch on that further below.

I’m proud of Sarah.

She probably was one of my closest friends when we studied aboard together in Ireland, is one of the least judgmental people on the planet, and has recently committed her life to publicizing this book and its sequel- all while donating 10% of the proceeds to programs which combat Vermont’s heroin problem– while raising her daughter.

There’s something about a girl, striking out on her own, and making it, despite the odds, that are the best things about being in a place which encourages growth. As I read this book (I was also fortunate enough to be one of the lucky chosen to screen it in the first draft round, and couldn’t put it down then, either), I think of all the lives which this epidemic has touched, and, one by one, we can make this better.

For more information about the author, or to purchase your copy of Moral Dissipation and help end the heroin epidemic in the Green Mountain State once and for all, click here.

Thank you, Sarah, for attempting to change that which is so hard to change, through the powerfully and beautifully written word: another’s behavior.



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