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Drunks: An Alcoholic Drama

Drunks by Ken Fry is a tale that’s deeply personal and dramatic and is an ultimately inspirational story that is told with an infusion of romance. This story is narrated by Alan Markham, the main character, and his journey and experiences with alcoholism, marriage, and learning to conquer and control addiction. Alan and his wife, Chrissy, appear to have the life everyone wants – Alan has a successful career, and Chrissy lives a free, luxurious, and enjoyable life. Still, just below the surface, there’s trouble in their marriage.

As both Alan and Chrissy struggle with their marriage and lives together, they share a common addiction, alcohol. While the couple attempts to keep an illusion of normalcy in their lives, they quickly descend into severe alcoholism, which impacts every level of their lives, from Alan’s career, their marriage, and financial stability. The author does an exceptional job of highlighting the compound impact of an alcoholic couple and how dangerous their health and lives become within a short time.

I enjoyed Ken Fry’s narration as Alan Markham and the gritty and realistic story that unfolds. It’s both sobering and inspirational. It does a fantastic job of stripping away the glamourous façade of sipping martinis and cocktails in upscale lounges and reveals the dark and tragic lives of alcoholics and their various struggles.

The author gives his characters interesting layers and shows how they appear successful and prestigious in their upper-class lifestyle while suffering from their addiction and dysfunction. Maintaining the appearance of perfection and success takes a toll on the couple, who eventually must face their inner struggles, and this dueling lifestyle makes for a compelling drama but a tragic life.

Ken Fry’s Drunks is a poignant yet inspirational story that focuses on the reality of what many couples face and how financial success can mask alcoholism. It’s an entertaining read that gives the reader an in-depth look at how codependency impacts people, even when they appear to be self-sufficient and content.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B09HP26Q76

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Dying for a Drink

Dying For a Drink can be described as a recovery memoir, in which author, Amelia Baker, writes the authentic and very raw account of her fall into alcoholism and prescription drug addiction and her incredibly turbulent recovery journey. Due to the subject matter, this book touches on some challenging topics, including abuse, family turmoil, rehab, suicide, and many more.

Baker unravels her story part by part and exposes the true extent of how life-destroying her addictions were. It becomes evident that her choice of title was not simply a cute usage of a prevalent saying- it was intended literally. It was heartbreaking to read about what Baker went through, and by the end, it felt incredibly uplifting to see what the human spirit can overcome after hitting rock bottom so many times. In the book, Baker goes into depth about all the various support systems she used to overcome her disease, highlighting the importance of her attending AA meetings, as well as the constant support of her friends and family, as well as her faith.

I picked up Baker’s book and was hit immediately by how heavy it was. Of course, this is not an easy topic to write about, nor easy to read, but I think Baker handles the subject beautifully. Through the memoir, she uses a simplistic, matter-of-fact narration style. In parts, it can be incredibly jarring to read about events so traumatic and heartbreaking through a narrative voice void of any emotion. In the book’s foreword, Baker explains that she uses this style simply to cut out the nonsense and anything that would cloud what the book actually is- an admission of truth. While I did struggle with the style at times, I think it made it easier for me to understand Baker’s struggles more. While I don’t think I could ever fully understand the true horror of what she went through, it allowed me to become connected to her fight more. Due to this, I became engrossed in her story incredibly fast.

While I congratulate Baker wholeheartedly for sharing her experience so powerfully, I felt so much frustration reading this book as her recovery was such a rollercoaster. Of course, this is not a criticism of Baker or her writing style whatsoever and is a natural reality of recovery. Just at points in the novel, I found it really hard to continue reading it as it just felt like it would never get better, and the thought of a novel as awful as this one not having a happy ending was really distressing. But perhaps those feelings are probably what Baker wished to illustrate with the novel, that feeling of helplessness that one can never fully recover. If that was her intention, it was done masterfully as I felt that so profoundly while reading it.

Due to the sheer power and depth of the novel’s topics and the narration style that paired perfectly with it, I feel it would be wrong to say I enjoyed a book on such an awful subject matter. Still, I enjoyed seeing Baker manage to overcome her struggles. It was really touching overall.

Dying For a Drink is a powerful memoir about addiction and recovery. A no-nonsense self-help book that is written in direct and plain terminology to bring to light the ups and downs of recovery from addiction, and how it is a lifelong battle.

Pages: 158 | ASIN : B07DYKPQ52

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103 Simple Poems From One Simple Person

With a collection of singular point of view narratives the author, Mayne Leitzer, offers his first complete book of poetry; 103 Simple Poems From One Simple Person. The book is sectioned into chapters outlining the types of poems that follow, what those writings mean to the author, and how they came to be. The title is indicative of the style of writing, not the writer, as the poetry is fairly simple; using straight forward thoughts and uncomplicated prose to reflect on life’s complications. The story arc is more of a summation of personal perspective and reflection than a journey forward or illustration of action.

In penning “103 Simple Poems” Mayne Leitzer offers up self reflection, self deprecation, a heavy dollop of fundamentalist religious dogma, and more than a little bit of sadness and remorse, with a glimmer of joy and hope.

Many of his poems are jargon one could find on a motivational poster or greeting card, but that is not at all bad. Life can get messy and sometimes people need soft, plushy words to find comfort and solace. The reader will find many situations that they can relate to; lost love, death, pursuing success, loneliness, finding your destiny, conflict of conviction, etc.

However, there are many poems that can be divisive. Sex before marriage, gun control, abortion, prayer in school, Heaven and Hell, those types of things. The thoughts Leitzer lays out are organic in nature and not derived of a need to be quoted for inspirational prose or to start a deep conversation, but rather, just as he states; a need to express his soul at different stages in life.

Some poems showcase the more complex layers of his humanity that struggle to shine under the dominance of a narrow vision.  The Promised Land poem is thoughtful and embraceable. Not a Bad Day and One Moonlit Night lets out his optimistic side which he admits is not in his nature. Leitzer is honest about his mistakes and his struggle with alcoholism. His love poems are truly good; especially Seasons, A Smile and Rock A-bye.

There are a few grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors, which are distracting as is his zealous religious fervor, but his writings let the reader feel his authenticity and the last few poems wrap up nicely to summarize his goal and wishes for success.

This book uses simple and fluid style to expand peoples emotional depths but seemed content to keep its voice generalized. The individual writings have value no matter your religious leanings. At the end the reader will come away with some reflections of their own and maybe, quote a few lines for their own stages of life.

Pages: 124 | ISBN: 1425979149

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East Wind Blowing

East Wind Blowing by [Leeward, C. U.]

East Wind Blowing is one of those books I get a hold of and feel grateful for the content. The author describes her life when living with an alcoholic. For close to two decades, she was married to an alcoholic who had no limit in his drinking. How unfortunate it was as the alcohol robbed her and her family of great times and a quality life. The author describes the types of alcoholics, what they do and what usually goes on in their heads. I loved reading the bit on how to handle cases of extreme alcoholism. It was refreshing, getting to know how to deal with those around us who seem to have thrown their lives at the brown bottle.

C.U. Leeward starts the book by narrating her story. Her childhood, the happy memories with her father, her brother, and all the wonderful things she loved doing in her early years. Her story was pretty much the normal story people tell. A beautiful tale, growing up, being adults and living life how we want. It was a happy tale up until she started talking about the alcoholism of her husband.

Having to raise a family with an alcoholic husband was not easy. I imagined how she persevered even when it would seem best to leave, just because of the kids. She sat and hoped, waiting for her alcoholic husband to change, but all was in vain. Talking about her helping her husband work at their construction company made me empathize with her. She was working as required but could see no paycheck. What a brave woman she was. I truly admired her.

East Wind Blowing is a great book. One thing that makes it good is that I was able to see addicts and alcoholics from a different view after reading the book. The saddest part was when the narrator could not see how damaging the abuse she got from her alcoholic husband was. “Oh I must’ve just overreacted to the situation; Why I must of exaggerated—yes that’s it; No No . . . it simply didn’t happen;” she would say. It took a while before she realized how bad it was. It was killing her as she stayed busy raising a family and running their joint business.

Alcoholism is not a pleasant thing. Through C. U. Leeward’s story, we can see how much wreckage it causes in families and among friends. There is no beauty in living with a person who can’t control their drinking. It drains the life out of you and in no time, you see yourself break into pieces. I like that C. U. Leeward boldly shared the ups and downs of her life. Her book is remarkable in more than one way. Her way of highlighting the plight of alcoholics is commendable.

Taking care of addicts of any drug may be challenging, but eventually one learns how to handle them in the appropriate way. There are important tips the author gives to both alcoholics and their victims. East Wind Blowing was a book worth my time.

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Pages: 256 | ASIN: B0792WD2V7

The Blue Wings of the Dragonfly: Finding Magic in Every Day, Everyone, and Everything

The Blue Wings of the Dragonfly: Finding Magic in Every Day, Everyone, and Everything by [Roggeman, C. Lee]

Cynthia Roggeman’s personal memoir details the events throughout her life. She goes into great detail about her relationships, family and health complications. She does this while offering snippets of advice and wisdom that she has learned along the way. The book is often upsetting and full of events – on a number of occasions it seems as everything is happening at once for our author. She shares her life’s journey with the intention of learning from the process of writing and to divulge the positive aspects that result from a lifetime of hardship.

The sections about her family, mainly her father and her Italian grandmother, Nonni, are bittersweet and filled with memories that she describes in the manner of a child – because at the time she did not understand what was going on. Her childhood was filled with both happy and sad memories and she does not seem to resent any of the negative aspects at all. In her family circle, she experiences alcoholism and mental illness – which she regards as a choice.

Throughout her life, she has various serious health issues and is in the hospital a number of times. She suffers quite badly and even has to learn to self-medicate – something which carries a great responsibility, even if it is towards yourself. However, she does not let these problems set her back and each time she recovers and returns to work and normal life – this is not a woman who gives up easily.

The book is separated into short chapters, each beginning with a date. This makes it easier to place the events in the author’s life as they are not in chronological order. At times it can be difficult to remember at what age things occurred for her but she has ordered it according to her own time frame and reference of events – how she feels events in her past relate to each other. This is reflective of a realistic memory because often things do not go through our minds in order and jump around randomly.

She has written the book for it to be a therapeutic process, it seems to be a place for her grief, hope, and wisdom. She has learned to be imaginative and to really remember her past self. She has also learned to be grateful for the things she has, as well as the things she had. She writes that she has had to mourn her losses and accept them, as well as remember the fond memories.

Cynthia’s novel is a work of remembrance, which will make any reader reflect on their own lives and take heed of her writing. The deeply personal writing is both engaging and emotional, however sometimes it can be hard to keep track of the order things that happened. She urges us to be grateful, flexible and open to new things and changes and to be powerful – just like the blue dragonfly.

Pages: 100 | ASIN: B07DNDWFKN

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