Thursday, 2 April 2015

Sober Authors do Fact and Fiction: Marian Keyes and ME!

It's not often I have the opportunity to hob nob with celebrities or name drop those I've been rubbing shoulders with, so indulge me just this once.

I am featured alongside one of my very favourite authors, Marian Keyes (sounds good eh?) in an article reviewing books for women in recovery, in the Spring 2015 edition of Law Care News. The link to the article is here along with the rest of the newsletter but, so proud am I, I've copied the important bit below for you.

'Sober is the New Black' by me reviewed alongside 'Rachel's Holiday' by a proper well known author? (I can't claim she had me in mind when naming the main character though.) Who would have thought!

Books for Women About Recovery 

Christmas is often the time when people realise that their alcohol intake is probably higher than it should be. LawCare always gets more calls to its helpline regarding alcohol misuse in January and February than at any other time of the year, and the number of women calling about alcohol issues has been rising. So it's good that there are books available which can give the female perspective on alcoholism. 

Sober is the New Black by Rachel Black shows very effectively how alcohol can insidiously, destructively and completely take over a life. Throughout it powerfully juxtaposes events in the author's life--business conferences, family holidays, book club meetings--when she was drinking, and after she stopped. There's always a risk with this sort of personal memoir that it can become egocentric and dull, but this one avoids that on two counts. First, because Rachel will resonate with so many readers as a typical working mother, someone they can relate to. Second, because it doesn't go too deeply into aspects of her life (we never learn the names of her children or her Other Half, or what job she does) and stays firmly focussed on the subject of alcohol. I particularly liked the metaphor where the author compares lifelong abstinence with her mortgage. Both are burdens which look huge and terrifying when viewed as a whole, but are manageable and life-affirming on a day-to-day basis. The book well written, interesting and not overlong, but for me its best feature is the overriding optimism and delight on every page. If it has one message, it's that the sober life is wonderful. Rachel was evidently taken by surprise to find how much better everything, from social events to Christmas, is when you're not focussing solely on wine and how to drink as much of it as possible without anyone noticing. That brightness and assurance shines throughout the book and lifts it above other "sobriety memoirs".

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes tells the story of an Irish woman living in New York who is shipped off to an alcohol and drug treatment centre in Ireland. Written by best-selling author Marian Keyes, herself an alcoholic in recovery, its charm lies partly in the character of Rachel herself, and her slowly dawning realisation, in part told through flashbacks, that she does indeed have a drug problem. Hidden beneath the humour is a powerful and memorable message, and it gives a fascinating insight into the realities of in-patient rehab. Highly recommended.

Law is a respected profession full of high achievers. Within groups of this type, there are a number of functioning alcoholics. These individuals continue to work, drink and live, only just holding it all together until, well, until they can do so no longer. At this point their lives begin to unravel and the consequences and losses become apparent to all.

The profession is cognisant of this fact and there is a well established support network to help individuals. You don't need to be a lawyer to benefit from these online and downloadable resources (I'm not!), so visit LawCare.Org and have a look around at their 'Get help with Alcohol' section full of strategies to assess your drinking, give up alcohol and stay sober in the long term.

If you are concerned about your drinking and are wondering how to cope over Easter, get on line or download one of these books and see if you identify with any of the characters or experiences within.

Me? I'm off to chat to Marian (only on twitter!).


  1. Fabulous darhhling :) Great review too! xx

  2. Just hob knobbin with the best!! Love it.

  3. Just hob knobbin with the best!! Love it.

  4. I love your book review! Now I will have to buy it!

  5. thank you guys! I'm truly gob-smacked. I'm sure I've mentioned before I Iove all Marian's books and have them all in hard back. Rachel's Holiday is the best mix of hilarity and darkness IMO, my favourite. I'm so happy...

  6. Great things you’ve always shared with us. Just keep writing this kind of posts.The time which was wasted in traveling for tuition now it can be used for studies.Thanks sober living ny


Go on, spill.

Follow @SoberRachel