THE NEXT TO LAST DRINK by Lois Mathieu
Best of 2012

THE NEXT TO LAST DRINK

KIRKUS REVIEW

A novel about one man’s struggle with alcoholism and anxiety after hitting rock bottom.

The title refers to something of a mantra, a phrase that former architect Will Valentine repeats to himself because the idea of his very last drink—the one that will probably kill him—is too disheartening to bear. The story follows Will through individual therapy and group sessions as he attempts to rebuild his life and control his alcoholism, which seems to have been both the cause and the result of his deep-seated anxiety. It takes courage to write a book with an unlikable main character and even more to write one with a plot that’s less of an adventure than an internal journey. But Mathieu has a grasp on both the despair and the attendant ennui that accompany the fight for sobriety, and she’s able to effectively express the struggle. Depression is, of course, a complicated subject to write about because of the difficulty in conveying those attendant emotions to someone who is not or has not been in the throes of the disease. Yet Will’s internal debate about visiting his old bar and his belief that he could have just a little bit of wine are heartrending, and his relapse is especially poignant, perhaps because it’s such a believable story. There are a few structural problems, though, particularly with the imprecise amount of time that passes between events. Also, Will’s lack of compassion for his fellow addicts and his impatience with the process of recovery make him somewhat unsympathetic, even as the reader hopes for his sober success.

A powerful story that approaches a happy ending—or at least a hopeful one.

Pub Date: March 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1468093254
Page count: 246pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2012




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