This memoir by an anonymous debut author recounts the damage that her now-ex-husband’s alcoholism did to her and their son.
“I am a writer,” the author says up front. “Mostly I write a lot of lists, checks, and cutting emails that I never send; but they’re decisively pointed and crushing, I assure you.” Her narrative about her troubled relationship with her ex is filled with her appropriate frustration and rage—a full-on cathartic explosion that simultaneously details the hits that kept on coming and her resolve to rebuild and persevere. Foreclosure, bankruptcy, and nonexistent court-ordered child support payments, she says, were merely the surface damage inflicted by her ex-husband. More distressing, she asserts, was the psychological damage, especially to her young son, who learned too early that disappointment defined his relationship with his father. She now has full custody of their 9-year-old son, following her ex’s numerous DWIs, several stints in rehab, lost jobs, and refusal to admit he had a problem. Still, her child is beginning to thrive, and she sees a path ahead: “We need to do enough and love enough and live enough to make the most of the moments we have.” It should be stated from the get-go that if readers find constant rough language offensive, this book will not suit them; to say it’s salty doesn’t do it justice. But it’s also funny, irreverent, and creatively ironic. The author, who introduces herself as “Sherry,” isn’t only a special education teacher at a New Jersey middle school; she’s also a bartender, and she effectively brings skills from both careers to this memoir. Each chapter begins with a recommended alcoholic beverage to be “paired” with the chapter subject, complete with a recipe. “A child’s suffering is the single most heart-wrenching experience a parent can endure,” Sherry tells readers in the chapter titled “Happy Hour” (suggested pairing: “Pitcher of Pink Sangria”).
Not for everyone, but a surprisingly satisfying and ultimately optimistic remembrance.