The essays address a wide array of meaningful topics, including humility, trust, and pornography. Sweeney recounts both trauma and healing in conversational, often funny prose (“I understood what the people in the [12-step] group were talking about. Well, except for one lady who shared about talking to God while sitting on the toilet that morning.”) His sincere desire to help others is on frequent display: he recounts his rewarding experience as a mentor in the Big Brothers program; taking in two young women whose parents had kicked them out of their homes as teenagers; and offering school and career advice to his younger neighbors. Some readers, however, will be put off by Sweeney’s habit of referring to Covid-19 as “the Chinese virus” and government-provided cell phones as “Obamaphones,” and others will be alienated by the assertion that “most of the protesters” at Donald Trump’s rallies “make between $50 to $100 per day, just for carrying a sign.”
The book is at its best when imparting sage advice Sweeney received from his mentors, particularly 12-step program sponsors. Some of the counsel is simple (“Don’t die wondering”), but Sweeney’s heartfelt stories drive home his guidance in poignant and unforgettable ways. Sweeney and his tales make for entertaining companions along the bumpy road of life.
Takeaway: Sweeney’s conversational, funny prose makes for entertaining company along the bumpy road of life.
Great for fans of: Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Phil McGraw's Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+