A funny, rambling account of addiction and recovery.

You Can Leave Anytime


Dinsmoor (The Yoga Divas and Other Stories, 2010) recounts his stint in rehab for alcoholism in this new memoir.

In 2011, the author, a 53-year-old yoga instructor and freelance writer, checked himself in for a monthlong program of sobriety at the Wetlands Rehabilitation Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Convinced that he needed to quit drinking by a concerned cabal of friends and family, Dinsmoor was finally willing to seek professional help to curb a habit that had grown worse over the decades: “Time was when a six pack or a small bottle of wine would put me under, but now it took about twice that.” Life in rehab bore a strange resemblance to life back in elementary school: the center was segregated by gender, patients were monitored around the clock, and petty grievances took on inflated importance. Even a certain juvenile sense of humor arose: Dinsmoor remembers how one rehab technician admonished her patients after discovering a crude drawing of genitalia on a sign-in sheet: “From a distance, all I could see was a squiggle, but I was pretty sure I knew what it was.” His planned stay of 28 days ended up stretching to three months, and he recounts his adventures along the road to recovery, including going into withdrawal when he was taken off Ativan, accusing his roommate of secretly using cocaine, and having to bunk with the most active drug dealer in the compound. Through it all, the author tells his tale with an eye for the absurd and the humor of a man who thinks he’s the only sane cuckoo in the nest. He’s a confident writer with a practiced comic timing, and although his story isn’t particularly dramatic or traumatic, it offers welcome insight into the rehabilitation industry and the sorts of characters found therein. The most intriguing conclusion readers may draw from his experience is that despite the fraternity of sponsors and support groups, recovery is ultimately a solitary pursuit. As people fade in and out, fall off the wagon, or disappear, one is reminded that the only person who can keep a patient sober is the patient himself.

A funny, rambling account of addiction and recovery.

Pub Date: June 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9890113-2-7

Page Count: 218

Publisher: Art2000

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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