Review: If my reader is the son or daughter of an alcoholic parent, you will experience a shock of recognition in this essay. You will be tracing what it was like as a child to know your father or mother was a drunk. You will recognize the stages you went through, the false hopes you held out that the nightmare would end happily, that you would get your real parent back. My father was an alcoholic and this essay tells his and my story.
The author begins: “My father drank…. I use the past tense not because he ever quit drinking but because he quit living. That is how the story ends for my father, age sixty-four…. The story continues for my brother, my sister, my mother and me, and will continue, so long as memory holds.”
If you were the child of an alcoholic, you need to read this essay. This is your story, too.
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. 1995.