After six years of sobriety, poet DeSilver admits he was "still one sip of beer away from hell." After 10 years of sobriety, he writes that he wanted to kill the "drunk, stupid and confused" boy he had been at age 19. The emotional force of DeSilver's memoir lies in the author's ability to record raw and painful memories of addiction, while also reflecting on turning points that lead him to form a new identity. Skirting a fine line between acceptance and blame, he describes the eccentric characters implicated in his downward spiral (e.g., his gin-swilling, cigarette-smoking mother, whose pretentions were matched by her fondness for profanity; a devil of a German governess reminiscent of a Roald Dahl villain; a renegade high school teacher who supplied students with alcohol and cocaine), as well as the heroes who helped save him: a wise prostitute in Nairobi, photo-historian Arlan Silverman, American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and Indian spiritual leader Nisargadatta Maharaj. DeSilver's seesawing journey from drug and alcohol addiction to recovery—all filled with epiphanies and backsliding, clarity and bewilderment—will keep readers committed to his story until, at last, he learns to "beam" without self-destructing and finds peace and stability in a loving relationship and meditation.
. . .A beautifully written memoir. . .poignant and inspirational, comical
. . .a fascinating, poetic memoir. . .
DeSilver's seesawing journey from drug and alcohol addiction, filled with
epiphanies and backsliding, clarity and bewilderment, will keep readers
committed to his story. . .
. . .lyrical writing powerfully delivered. . .full of adventure, truth,
pain, humor, as well as colorful characters. . .a page-turner that will
delight anyone who appreciates a good story.
TheRumpus.net (Rebecca Faust)
I picked up a copy of Beamish Boy began reading it the next day. I cannot
put it down. I wish it were shower proof so even standing under the full
pounding water I could continue reading. It is that good. That compelling.
It is harsh while at the same time poetic. It breaks your heart one moment
and then sends your spirit soaring the next. It is one of the rare books
that when finished I believe I will feel I am a better person for having
read it. And, it has made me laugh out loud.
Editor in Chief, Memoir Journal
Albert Flynn DeSilver¹s extraordinary story of second chances is about
cultivating a creative life of joy and generosity out of the ashes of fear,
doubt, and trauma.
Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, Love for No Reason and
Happy for No Reason
"Sometimes we have to go to the darkest depths before we see the light.
"Beamish Boy" is the inspiring true story that shows a journey of pain and
self-destruction can lead to discovering that the peace and joy we yearned
for, is in us all along."
James Baraz, co-author of "Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You On The
Road To Real Happiness", co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
A compelling story of a boy's climb out of pain and into poetry
Adair Lara, San Francisco Chronicle former columnist and author of Naked,
Drunk, & Writing