THROUGH A SOBER LENS by Michael Blanchard

THROUGH A SOBER LENS

A Photographer's Journey
by ; photographed by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A compilation of photographs and musings shares the story of a man’s struggle to overcome alcoholism.

In May 2010, Blanchard (Fighting for My Life, 2014)—a former marathon runner and the COO of a Maine company—passed out in his car on the side of the road after drinking vodka and taking Xanax. When a state patrolman approached his car, the author woke up and tried to speed away. This was the third time in three months he had been arrested for alcohol-related crimes. With his marriage in deep trouble and the prospect of jail time, he was extremely depressed and decided to end his life. Fortunately, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital, where he received compassionate, professional help and a referral to a rehab program. Blanchard took his last drink on July 26, 2010, and though it wasn’t easy, he used several tools, such as therapeutic writing, to remain on a sober path. One of his greatest pleasures was taking photographs of picturesque places, especially his beloved Martha’s Vineyard. A self-taught photographer, the author replaced vodka with the natural highs he received from studying and shooting lush landscapes, like peaceful seaside sunrises. Hoping to inspire others who struggle with addiction, he offers this captivating collection of more than 50 color photos of mostly outdoor subjects—like a majestic red-tailed hawk appearing at South Beach and the brilliant Gay Head Cliffs glowing in a sunset’s light, both on Martha’s Vineyard—along with his pensive thoughts about recovery and sobriety. Blanchard’s beautiful photos are often calming reflections of his words. For example, when he discusses how drinking kept him in a shell in which he didn’t have to share his true self with others, he includes a compelling photo of a spiral lighthouse stairway, which looks shell-like. Meandering from topic to topic—a thoughtful examination of the pain his bad decisions caused is followed by a list of personal affirmations and a moving anecdote about a Facebook friend’s death—Blanchard’s eloquent prose is easy to browse and ponder.

An engaging volume that offers lovely photos and stirring reflections.

Pub Date: Dec. 12th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-578-49159-2
Page count: 100pp
Publisher: Genevieve Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2020