DRIVING IN REVERSE by Lindsay  Wincherauk

DRIVING IN REVERSE

The Life I Almost Missed
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this memoir, Wincherauk (Seed’s Sketchy Relationship Theories, 2004) recalls a tumultuous past life and a personal search to discover what truly matters.  

Just over 100 pages into this disconcerting remembrance, the Canadian author declares, “Four fucking months—only four months had passed. BREAKUP—SUICIDE—CANCER—ALIENATION—INFIDELITY—DEATH—CANCER—DEATH—DEATH—AND—FUCKING DEATH; had entered my life.” Sadly, for the author, nicknamed “Seed” by his friends, this pattern of pain made up the first portion of his life. The former bartender from Vancouver says his first childhood memory was discovering his brothers “chanting together in a continuous loop”: “Lindsay, we are going to get you. Lindsay, you are not one of us.” Two of his brothers, he says, tried to convince him to “stick [his] dinner knife in a wall socket.” Wincherauk's difficult relationship with his family led him to escape into sports, including football. Yet despite small victories, fate always seemed to deal him a bad hand. He lost multiple friends and family members to cancer, which he personifies as “THE BIG C,” a sadistic killer. He led a life as a drifter, punctuated by drunken days and nights in dive bars, drug experimentation, failed relationships, and failed business ventures, but it also included travel to numerous far-flung destinations such as France and Jamaica, and an encounter with the Dalai Lama. The book is part memoir and part self-help guide for those who've had similar experiences, and it often takes on an appropriate tone of mocking self-awareness: “I vomited in my mouth a little bit when I typed the last line.” Stylistically, however, the memoir is a chaotic and choppy read, in no small part due to Wincherauk’s idiosyncratic tendency toward one-sentence paragraphs. This, coupled with a coarse tone throughout (“Having to defend my emotions was fucking sucking”), may deter many readers. That said, it’s difficult not to admire the author’s ability to face the darkest aspects of his existence head-on and remain ebullient. Black-and-white and color photos are included.

A potentially enlightening and darkly entertaining memoir undermined by weak prose.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-78693-511-3
Page count: 313pp
Publisher: Austin
Program: Kirkus Indie
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