Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Drunken Angel" by Alan Kaufman

I used to keep up with the books I read with a list on Facebook, but I think I am going to start keeping track of them here instead.  It's always nice for me to be able to look back and see what I've read during the year, but also to share books with other readers and whether or not it's something I recommend.  I love taking recommendations from others as well.

I started out earlier in the year reading Drunken Angel by Alan Kaufman.

A Heartbreakingly Honest Story of Triumph Over Addiction
Son of a French Holocaust survivor, Alan Kaufman drank to fill the huge hole in his heart, wrecking himself and everyone in his path. In Drunken Angel, the poet and critically acclaimed writer recounts with unvarnished honesty the story of the alcoholism that took him to the brink of death, the PTSD that drove him to the edge of madness, and the love that brought him back. With his estranged daughter as inspiration and two unforgettable mentors for support, Kaufman got into recovery at age 37, taking full responsibility for nearly destroying himself, his work and so many loved ones along the way. Kaufman minces no words as he looks back on a life pickled in self-pity, self-loathing and guilt, delivering a lacerating, cautionary tale of a life wasted and reclaimed.
In league with the handful of gut-wrenching, life-changing, and enduring books about the tortures of addiction, Drunken Angel probes the consciousness of an addict to expose the true horror of alcoholism. Alan Kaufman’s searing memoir is a surreal reading experience full of stylistic acrobatics that speak to the genius of a writer nearly lost.

I will admit....don't judge a book by its cover.  However, the cover just captivated me and made me curious.  I saw it was a memoir, which is one of my favorite genres of books.  I started the book around December 2011 or January 2012.  I remember I was still reading it in February.  I got about 200 pages into this book and couldn't bear to read anymore.  Honestly, it was boring me to death.  I put the book aside and didn't even consider picking it up until this past October.  I was determined to finish it this time.  I started over again since it had been so long since I last read it.  I did have the same problem trying to get through some of the slower parts of the book.  However, being determined to push through, it started to pick up when he began his recovery from alcohol addiction.  It turned out to be a pretty decent book.  And if you can get through the slow parts, I think it's a good read.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book.  One happens to also be on the inside back of the book cover.

"When you have become what you wish for through your own experience, then you will truly be free."

"Why an angel?  Because I believe that, in time, that is what we become in sobriety, if we last long enough, to the end.  Not the winged kind, no.  Not some haloed cupid or sword swinger but a kind of flawed angel, without wings, that belongs to no religion but rather to a species of human heartbreak unlike any other known.
Alcoholics and addicts are unlike any other people I've ever met.  I am unlike most people.  A blazing mutant of some kind.  A wondrous freak.  In my mind lurks an urge that will be with me to the end, to put a bottle to my lips and drink myself to death." (found on the inside back cover of the book)

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