Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life by Neil Steinberg is a spectacularly written memoir about Stenberg's struggle with alcoholism. Steinberg is a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, so you know going into it that it will be well written. What I didn't expect was the brutal honesty that came in these pages. In fact, at times it was difficult to read.
The book starts in prison, which is where Steinberg spent a night after slapping his wife during a fight. He was, as usual, very drunk. The rest of the book follows his path through court forced Alcoholics Anonymous meetings...and his struggle to not drink.
This book is very powerful and sad because it is hard to watch Steinberg go through the pain of being a recovering alcoholic...and to see him fail again and again and again. It is sad to read about him pulling empty Jack Daniels out of the garbage to inhale the vapors. It is sad to read about him leaving his kids in the house alone so he can drive to the convenience store to buy some booze. It is sad to read his fights with his wife as she tries to help him get better. It is sad to read the total desperation that inhabits these pages.
Of course, the book ends up on a positive note. He stops drinking...for good. But that is not what this book is about. This book is about the fight and the torment of fighting alcoholism. I have never personally experienced anyone going against this....thank God. I have, of course, read about it and talked to other people who have...and it always sounds so terrible. I imagine if there are people going through that right now, this book could be helpful.
If you like to read great writing, this is a book that you must check out. Like me, you may be sad when you finish this book, but that's OK...because just like Terminator 2, it's OK to be sad when experiencing great art.
Rating: 5 out of 5
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