"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves"
Henry David Thoreau
Briarwood Girls, is an exploration into the world of alcoholism and addiction in a rehab facility. Mariel Gates renders this painful and contradicting world in a clear and often brutally honest narrative. The main protagonist, Aubrey is an alcoholic going into rehab for the first time. Scared and alone, she feels the stigma of addiction. With a skillful pen, Gates navigates through different point of views as the stories of other women within the facility come to light. Briarwood Girls connects the reader with the destruction that addiction brings to the lives of addicts and those around them. Gates bring an empathetic voice to the often-villainized world of addicts. The stories within Briarwood Girls illuminates that no one chooses to become an addict, and ultimately only addicts can save themselves.
Aubrey lives in the competitive world of Division I athletics at an elite university. One traumatic night changes her life and the course of her athletic and academic career. With resiliency she fights her way back to the top, only to face more obstacles. At what point do we hold institutions responsible for damage inflicted on young people? In the rise of the ‘me too’ movement this novel is both timely and enlightening. This novel is the prequel to Briarwood Girls, published in 2020.
Unveiling the Writer
I knew from a very young age that writing would always play an important part of my life. However, I didn't put myself out into the world as a writer until 2019. My life has not been a linear path to writing. I was a Division I athlete at Stanford University, I was a professional triathlete for two years after that. I graduated from law school and had a family, and in the middle of all of this I came back from the brink of self-destruction more than once. My writing is about my experiences and what I have been through with a little (if not a lot of artistic licenses). My writing typically portrays a strong female protagonist who has to fight to regain her sense of self. I love to write, and if my writing and my experiences can help one person, or make one person not feel so alone, then I have succeeded.