A WOMAN LIKE YOU: Life Stories of Women Recovering From Alcoholism & Addiction by V. Rachel

A WOMAN LIKE YOU: Life Stories of Women Recovering From Alcoholism & Addiction

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Nineteen women tell of their descent into alcoholism and their eventual recovery. Some have successful careers, some are housewives, one is a nun, another is a black ex-prostitute, another a half-Indian. Yet their voices are so alike that their words seem to have been formed by a ventriloquist, and there is such a sameness to their experiences that, after the first four or five, there is no suspense, no desire to go on. Rachel V., who winds up this worthy but tedious collection with her own story, manages to reduce herself along with the other 18 flesh-and-blood women to a group of automatons. There is the first drink, then 10,000 more. There are violent scenes, blackouts, problems with careers, family, friends and suicidal impulses. Sometimes there are sojourns in alcohol recovery centers or mental hospitals. Then there is deus ex machina--what else but Alcoholics Anonymous! The sameness of these pieces was probably inevitable given the fact that each disease tends to run a similar course from victim to victim. Perhaps the case could be made that the very repetitiveness is of value in that, like a reiterated incantation, it drums home the point that female alcoholics are not alone in their self-loathing, their sense that they are emotionally weak, even in their fears of madness. Others have been down the same horrifying road and have survived by accepting the reality that they were ill--not bereft of moral fiber. Predictable, but useful in promoting understanding of the sufferings alcoholics endure. Could be a lifesaver for some victims.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1985
Publisher: Harper & Row