DeSilver’s memoir recounts the adolescent and young-adult experiences that shaped his writing and artistic endeavors as an acclaimed poet.
Growing up in the upper-middle-class–Connecticut suburbs during the 1970s and ’80s, DeSilver used alcohol at an early age to dull the emotional aches and pains he was too young to process. A sensitive observer even as a young child, he first experienced deep anxiety and loneliness after his parents hired an austere, often violent German governess to care for him and his two sisters. His fascinating parents (especially his feisty mother with her hilarious one-liners and anecdotes) struggled with addiction, too, although they are portrayed as loving yet detached from their children’s emotional needs. DeSilver leaves for college and, pursuing photography and art, slowly begins dealing with his demons. After a series of damaging meltdowns and relationships, he finds a path to sobriety and self-awareness through therapy, meditation and nature, which help him transcend his battle with alcoholism. DeSilver details this pursuit of inner peace via his talent for painting rich imagery with words, while his keen ability to gracefully and openly express his vulnerability brightens and enriches the memoir. He writes honestly of the times in his life when he produced tiresome art amid a plethora of self-centered decisions. With eloquent metaphors, lyrical prose and subtle humor, DeSilver engagingly expresses his determination to examine his life’s purpose. Told clearly but not chronologically, his path to sobriety leads to a life about much more than addiction.
A beautifully written memoir of awakening and self-acceptance.