Having never experienced life in a rehab center I cannot speak to the authenticity or veracity of the setting Benjamin Alire Sáenz creates in, Last Night I Sang To The Monster. 18 year-old Zach is an alcoholic who comes out of a black out in a treatment center with no memory of how he got there. I can say the novel is populated by memorable characters who are engaged in emotionally resonant relationships in a visceral setting.
British consul, Geoffrey Firmin, is living in Mexico in self-imposed exile, solitary and saturated with liquor. He was once happy, or maybe ne never was. He isn’t sure now that he’s too riddled by alcoholism to even put on his socks. But on this day, The Day of the Dead, 1938, he has a visitor. His wife Yvonne has come to rescue the consul from himself. Maybe she can persuade him to leave Mexico behind and start over with her. Maybe she can salvage their marriage, left in ruins by her string of affairs with Geoffrey’s two best friends – both of whom are there with him in Mexico. They
Hildy Good has two tricks to find out anything about anyone. First, as the top real estate agent in her area, she's able to figure out more than you'd think by looking at the condition of someone's house, including the state of their health, or the state of their marriage.
Despite her best efforts, I love Mattie Wallace. She often behaves badly, and she knows it. But it’s who she believes she is, so she behaves badly.
When I picked up this book, I thought the title was reflective of a "good" house as opposed to a "bad" house, but actually the lead character and narrator of the novel is named Hildy Good. Hildy is a successful real estate agent in Wendover, Massachusetts, a town along Boston's north shore, where she "makes it her business to know everybody's business." She is the mother of two grown daughters and is an ex-wife to a husband who revealed to her he was gay after 20-plus years of marriage.
When Ron Currie’s love tells him she needs space and that he should leave, he does. He moves to the Caribbean where he is supposed to work on his next novel and wait patiently for her to request his return. That’s not what happens. He spends his days drinking heavily, cohabitating with a young college drop-out, and writing the completely wrong novel. Upon his failed suicide, Curry realizes that he can just disappear; and he does. But just for a while. And when he resurfaces he finds that his life, or rather, his death, has taken a decidedly unanticipated turn.
young adult, friends, best friends, secrecy, alcoholism, teen drinking, high school, abuse
This memoir, that reads like a novel and should appeal to anyone who enjoys family drama, defies convention when it comes to predictability. Jeannette Walls grew up in a family of nomads. She and her three siblings were born in the west to a couple who were brilliant but ungrounded, to say the least. Her father, Rex, had the makings of a scientist but alcoholism and wanderlust kept him from settling in a job too long.
Dennis McFarland’s The Music Room is one of those novels that you don’t forget. I first read it 20 years ago. When my aunt recently mentioned it, I immediately knew the book she was talking about. I decided to read it again. Alcoholism, suicide and divorce figure prominently, yet it’s still a lyrical, poetic work of beauty, sensitivity and dark humor.