Plot/Idea: Walking the reader through stages of life, Andrews sets up his story in a clear and compact manner. He logically guides the reader through time, reasoning, and growth as he journeys from the depth of despair to embracing life.
Prose: Readers will deeply empathize with the author as he recounts his pain and suffering--often self-inflicted. Andrews does not shy from the nitty-gritty of alcoholism and depression; he is open about the impacts of addiction and his delivery is powerful.
Originality: Andrews’s story is a personal one, but will resonate with readers who have suffered similarly, whether struggling with addiction or mental health.
Character/Execution: The author movingly conveys how, despite an outward appearance of success and fulfillment, many are battling with addiction, loss, and depression. The author's comeback is the heart of this story. From the beginning, readers will cheer for Andrews as he slowly releases himself from the insidious cycle of pain and self-medication.
Date Submitted: October 04, 2022
More than just a life story, this powerful memoir—divided into two sections, first detailing Andrews’s decline, followed by his recovery—reveals the factors that often contribute to depression and alcoholism, highlighting the complexities involved and emphasizing there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. Andrews reiterates that there were few “ah-ha” moments during his journey, characterizing it instead as a road full of minor setbacks and bad days, while he was “trying to function with the weight of a knight’s armor draped on me at all times.” He encourages readers to view recovery as a marathon, not a sprint, debunking the myths of quick fixes and easy answers in favor of commitment, hard work, and uncompromising honesty.
Readers will find plenty of inspiration here, as Andrews unflinchingly shares his darkest moments—including a suicide attempt that should come with a trigger warning. He interjects teaching points as well, such as offering the reframe “having alcoholism” versus being labeled an alcoholic, stating “It is something I have, not who or what I am.” Perhaps most uplifting is his rediscovery of the beauty in life’s simple moments, whether that’s celebrating unburnt toast or enjoying an easy meal with his kids, as he wisely advises “Gratitude is an excellent barometer for wellness.”
Takeaway: A riveting account of triumph over depression and alcoholism.
Great for fans of: Sarah Hepola's Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Shaheen Bhatt's I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A