All seemed hopeless. That night I lay on my couch clutching an old, stained copy of “The Long Goodbye” to my breast and cried myself to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke, emotionally weakened and physically drained, and made my way to a nearby Barnes & Noble. There a salesperson named Daniel gently led me to the memoir section. At first I recoiled. No, I cried, anything but this! I needed a whiskey-soaked fiction bad. But Daniel handed me Pete Hamill’s “A Drinking Life.” I read it slowly, doubting every page. But then something miraculous happened before I was halfway through: I liked it. I liked it a lot.
This new reading life wasn’t easy. The urge to slip back to my old ways was strong. I took it one book at a time. Hamill led the way to Mary Karr’s “Cherry,” then “Home Before Dark,” Susan Cheever’s memoir of life with her father, John Cheever. Soon I had a whole new bookshelf given over to writers who wrote just like my beloved boozers but did so in the past tense.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Another drink, Mr. Marlowe?
One reader's book bender featuring works by boozy writers. (Proof)