Sunday, August 21, 2016

Review #3

    This is the first newspaper review of "Out of the Wreck I Rise," written by Jim Coyle for the Toronto Star's online Star Touch tablet app. I'll admit being a little surprised at his take, seeing the book as a "sampler of thoughts" about alcohol, and missing, entirely, the idea that the book is supposed to help those in recovery. "This book's title alone will please imbibers of a literary bent" made me wince, as did calling the book a "pub crawl." Perhaps I'm being overly-sensitive, but pleasing imbibers is not what we were going for. But I don't want to be unappreciative—it is certainly positive, in its own way, and looks great on their mobile app, and at least presents the book as noteworthy. It'll be interesting to see if future reviews, should there be any, follow in this vein.  God I hope not.

     The celebrated American writer John Cheever, who knew a thing or six about the topic, described a moment when he discovered alcohol’s merciful capacity for curing the many torments that plagued him.
     Preparing for an intimidating social gathering, “I bought a bottle of gin and drank four fingers neat,” he wrote. “The company was brilliant, chatty and urbane and so was I.”
     Words. Stories. Wit. Repartee. Le mot juste. All to the clinking of cocktail glasses. Who wouldn’t say, “Why, yes, barkeep, I think I will have another!”
     Cheever was neither the first nor last to draw a link between drink and yarn-spinning. Nor was he breaking new ground in the monumental self-delusion that chronic intoxication can produce.
     No matter. His words accurately capture a sensation the habitually besotted will recognize. The idea persists that charm and creativity are the salubrious byproducts of alcoholic intake....

To continue reading, click here. 


  1. If it's any consolation, I think that "imbibers of a literary bent" outnumber by far those recovering from various addictions. And I think the title does appeal to those steaming full ahead towards the inevitable iceberg; even if they smash their lives to smithereens they'll crawl out of the wreck and stumble forward, no matter how many others have perished in the attempt.


  2. You may be a tad oversensitive in feeling that he missed the point that the book is supposed to help those in recovery. When I clicked to read the whole article I saw the subhead: "There's a long history of addiction in the literary world, and Neil Steinberg's new book uses it as a touchstone to sobriety." That seems to me to suggest what you hope readers take from the book. I plan to read it and. worthy as that ambitious is hope to find its appeal extends beyond help for recovering alchoholics.

    Tom Evans

    1. Or maybe he missed the point and the subhead doesn't make up for it.

    2. Or maybe I'm not, he missed the point, and the subhead doesn't make up for it.


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