A leading American mystery writer and her son recall their lives as alcoholics and their diverse paths to sobriety.
Martha Grimes (Fadeaway Girl, 2011, etc.), winner of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award, was drinking four to five strong martinis nightly when she hit bottom and entered an outpatient rehab for two years of weekly meetings. Her son Ken, a book publicist, grew up drinking and partying in the 1970s; used speed, cocaine and other drugs, finally settling on marijuana and beer; and then began “a process of redemption” at a sober beach house and in 12-step meetings. In alternating chapters, the authors craft an honest, moving and readable account of the drinking life and the struggle for recovery. While their informative book considers the many sources of help for alcoholics (AA, therapy, rehab, etc.), their main mother-son message, in Martha’s words, is “You can stop only by stopping.” Moreover: “Stopping is hard. You might as well learn how to play the violin.” Neither her mother nor father was a drinker, writes Martha, but Mrs. D., her mother’s business partner in a summer hotel, was an angry alcoholic, and Martha would drink with her often in a back office. At the age of 30, Martha bought a bottle of sherry and hid it in a closet. She never drank while writing her more than 30 mysteries. Nor was she aware of Ken’s drinking and drugging as he grew up. The latest of four generations of alcoholic men in his family, Ken offers vivid glimpses of his experiences: spending tuition money on drugs, carousing in British pubs, bad-mouthing Donald Trump at a book party, and finally learning life-changing lessons from Hollywood producer, author and cocaine-user Julia Phillips.
This brave and engaging memoir is a gift to readers struggling with drinking problems.