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Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar: For Every Regular Manning a Barstool There's Likely a Family at Home Paperback – August 11, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michelle O'Neil is a former national radio news reporter whose freelance pieces have aired during NPR's Morning Edition in Washington DC. She's been published in anthologies, on-line magazines, a professional journal, and has guest posted on many blogs. Her website is: www.fullsoulahead.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Full Soul Publishing (August 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615509010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615509013
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This inspiring memoir takes the reader on a journey of discovery and awareness unlike any other coming of age story out there. With the strong first-person voice of Janie, her keen observations, and the intriguing storyline, Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar reads like an engaging novel. Readers learn much about growing up with alcoholism in the family as Janie navigates her life and circumstances with the candor, humor, and determination that ultimately sees her through.
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Michelle O'Neil's memoir is amazing. She writes beautifully from her young self's perspective, giving the reader insight and empathy, as we are given a look into a family that is as complex as families are. Young "Janie" is full of vim and vigor, heart and soul, strength and ultimately, triumph. You will laugh, cry, shake your head and cheer!
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Well written and hard to put down. An intimate account of life with an alcoholic & the dysfunctional mayhem in the home. This could be hard for some to read, but well worth it. It's validating for those who refuse to be enablers and choose to move forward for themselves. A great book.
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An absolutely satisfying read. The writing is done in such an authentic voice, with a complex main character you'll be rooting for throughout the book. It's one of those you stay up too late reading because you just can't stop. Looking forward to more from this author.
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Michelle O'Neil's story of her own coming of age in the midst of a severely dysfunctional upbringing will have readers alternately laughing and crying. Raised in the seventies and eighties by a severely co-dependent mother and an alcoholic father, Michelle is the second daughter of five siblings struggling for survival inside a home where no child should bear witness.

O'Neil writes through the eyes of a young girl named Janie who continually tries to make sense of her chaotic and inconsistent lifestyle. She manages to capture so well the thoughts and feelings of a girl between the ages of eight and twenty-two years of age. Janie is smart and possesses a spark that often sees her through some of her most difficult times. She is an extremely likable character, all the more so as she shares her countless vulnerabilities in the face of utter turmoil. In spite of her situation and well against the odds, Janie finds her own way and discovers not only who she is but also how worthy she is. As she grows into a young woman she realizes perhaps for the first time where her many strengths and talents lie and forges a path for herself, this time on her terms.

Listening to O'Neil's story I felt a mixture of sadness, sympathy, nostalgia, and finally triumph. Since she grew up during the same time I did, I delighted over such references to favorite T.V. shows like Laverne and Shirley (also a favorite of mine) and her mention of sitting in the "way back" in her grandparents Suburban (pg. 92). I didn't realize that others outside my own family used that term as well.

I can completely understand the rationale for O'Neil putting into words her story and imagine her many reasons for doing so. I commend her bravery and courage and continually cheered her on throughout the book.
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Someone who grew up around an alcoholic and in an alcoholic family can understand Michelle O'Neil's heart-felt story. They will identify with the child who has to walk on egg shells and find a way to survive a father who drinks away his paycheck, and a mother whose only alternative (not divorce) is working night shift as a nurse leaving the children to fend for themselves. People who love to read excellent writing will thoroughly enjoy the author's account of growing up with an alcoholic. Her style is simple but detailed and gives the reader an opportunity to enter her world. I enjoyed this book far better than some of the more famous author's who wrote about growing up in an alcoholic family or about their own alcoholism. This book deserves more attention!
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*Note that though Amazon says this is a large print title, it's not.

The author captures the 70s and 80s - my 70s and 80s - so well. Love's Baby Soft, the Bee Gees, and the need of a teen to fit in. It's hard to fit in, though, when things are upside-down at home. The author's anger and hurt and shame are so evident; reading, I felt her pain. Her memories brought back some memories of my own, good and bad. While her alcoholic father features prominently in the story, this is also a story about working through the rough times that life throws at us, finding the strength we need to survive and thrive, and growing beyond the confines of our upbringing.
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This book was so good! I loved all the references to the 80s--it took me right back to high school. I live ten miles from SUNY Oswego, where the author attended college. The little fish stand she referred to towards the end of the book is called Rudy's or The Loop right on the Lake Ontario shore. I can't believe she didn't like the food! We locals love Rudy's! There were some typos, but because the book was so good, I didn't let them bother me, except for the fact that the last family party for the summer was on Memorial Day. I believe that would be Labor Day. Highly recommended! Loved it!
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