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.