Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A couple of new books on the shelf look at the struggle with alcoholism from different perspectives.
The Alcoholic is the graphic novel debut of acclaimed writer Jonathan Ames. His main character - acclaimed mystery writer Jonathan A. - recounts his long slide into alcoholism and drug abuse. The crisp line drawings of Dean Haspiel add a starkness to the story of a confused young man who initially uses alcohol as entertainment, but then turns to the bottle to compensate for losses in his life. A nicely written account that doesn't shy away from the degrading details of alcoholism, but still conveys the essential humanity of the character.
The Drunkard: a hard-drinking life is Neil Steinberg's account of his hard climb out of the depths of alcoholism. A popular columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Steinberg had become increasingly reliant on alcohol to get through his days and his wife had become increasingly unhappy with his drinking. And then one night, in a fit of rage, he hits her. Sentenced to mandatory rehab, he finally realizes that he must choose between his family and the bottle. Drunkard follows his first year of sobriety and his self-evaluation of his inner demons.
These books might not be the most lighthearted fare you'll pick up this year, but they're both gripping stories of people in pain.

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