SOBER STICK FIGURE by Amber Tozer

SOBER STICK FIGURE

A Memoir
by illustrated by
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A stand-up comedian reclaims her life after three decades of alcohol abuse.

Though Los Angeles–based comic and animated sketch writer Tozer’s wryly dramatic debut memoir is steeped with snarky one-liners, there is also angst, regret, and reflective relief lurking just behind her wisecracking wit. She writes of growing up in Pueblo, Colorado, a place with little to do but “breed and drink, so that’s what everyone does.” This sense of boredom was only exacerbated by the family-owned barroom business, alcoholic relatives, and a “working warrior” mother who swiftly divorced Tozer’s depressive father. Cute, crudely drawn stick-figure illustrations escort readers through the author’s life beyond puberty into the summer of 1989, with the edgy temptations of binge drinking and boys and a true scare after her baby sister was almost killed by a drunk driver. Even a college basketball scholarship was an insufficient distraction as Tozer began showing up drunk to night classes. An impulsive, ill-fated move to New York City, followed by dead-end jobs and more drinking and blackouts, only moved her closer to rock bottom, “like one of those steps you take right into a pile of dog shit, but you don’t realize it until you get home.” The author perused comedy clubs and then dove headlong into the craft with classes and live stand-up attempts, yet her relationships with family, friends, and a dysfunctional love affair continued to suffer. When her calamitous hangover stories translated into effective comedy, a Hollywood producer expressed interest, and the author moved west. Tozer’s memoir becomes reflective in the closing chapters as she remarks on her hard-won recovery and how it’s changed her life, career, and family relationships. Her journey reflects the seriousness of her alcoholism with both personal responsibility and a resilient spirit.

The urgency and desperation of addiction told through crisp, biting sarcasm and self-deprecating humor.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7624-5972-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Running Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionTHE RECOVERING by Leslie Jamison
by Leslie Jamison
NonfictionUNWASTED by Sacha Z. Scoblic
by Sacha Z. Scoblic
NonfictionSMASHED by Koren Zailckas
by Koren Zailckas
NonfictionDRINKING by Caroline Knapp
by Caroline Knapp