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16 Reviews
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suffer Readers, this book is worth it
I admit I avoid books about writers and their drinking problems....okay, glad they recovered but yadayada, too much pain and am sick of their sorry suffering stories. But this story is worth the suffering, worth the pain I experienced in reading it. In "drunken angel", Alan Kaufman goes deep into his past--this isn't just another 12-step turn-around story. How low can...
Published on November 16, 2011 by Anna

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading
This author is rather creepy - someone you would not want your daughter to meet! He talks frequently about thrusting into women whether he is drunk or not. Not a human being worth knowing much about let alone having to read 400 pages of this memoir. Very easy to put this book down - I read it off and on and now can't wait to donate it to the Goodwill! He abandons his...
Published 1 month ago by Red Chipper


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suffer Readers, this book is worth it, November 16, 2011
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
I admit I avoid books about writers and their drinking problems....okay, glad they recovered but yadayada, too much pain and am sick of their sorry suffering stories. But this story is worth the suffering, worth the pain I experienced in reading it. In "drunken angel", Alan Kaufman goes deep into his past--this isn't just another 12-step turn-around story. How low can you go? Real low. Kaufman tells of his childhood, the mental abuse meted out by a mean-spirited mother who taunted him for his weight--you have boobs like a girl, and a nasty father who also seemed intent making his own child miserable what with his father's ugly porn collection of Nazis working over nude women. It made me cringe for this poor little child. No wonder. The drinking almost kills him; he lost his wife and his daughter, he was homeless, living on the streets of New York, spiraling down. There's a scene where he meets another drunk, a writer who has AIDS (this takes place in the 1980s). Together on a park bench, they share a large beer and talk about writing and drinking. Kaufman could ended up like Kerouac, dead to booze before his time, but this meeting was a turning point for him and he joins a 12-step program which works for him and gets him out of his alcoholic hell. It's beautifully written book--Kaufman is a gifted poet too. He bares his soul here and redemption comes and we are happy that he has survived to become who he really is. The title, "drunken angel", makes sense to me. Anyone who has gone to hell and back and lives to tell it qualifies for angel status. Is that an angel fish in a martini glass on the book cover?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Kaufman's DRUNKEN ANGEL Speaks To The Work In Progress That We All Are, April 25, 2012
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
I hae always smiled at signs that read "WORK IN PROGRESS" or "PLEASE PARDON OUR MESS WHILE WE IMPROVE TO BETTER SERVE YOU". I think because I have come to realize how in one way or another all of us are a work in progress, in need of some work to be our best selves.

That is definitely true of Alan Kaufman, and he has chronicled his rollercoaster ride in the book DRUNKEN ANGEL for all of us to read, learn from and enjoy.

It's not easy to bare your soul this way, but Alan used his own experiences to show us all what is possible and what can come from our hitting the lows and ascending to new heights.

I have had the opportunity to interview Alan for my radio show Conversations LIVE as well, and it occurred to me during that conversation that he---like so many of us---had some good come from the darkness. It led him to writing, and through that writing he is able to let others see what is possible and where they can go in their own lives as well.

DRUNKEN ANGEL in its very title also alludes to something else: we are all just imperfect beings trying to make the most of our time here. Just because we have made mistakes and haven't always lived up to our best doesn't mean that good times and good experiences are beyond us.

This is one of those books that speaks to you on many levels, but at the end of the day you will not be able to look at life the same. Simple, satisfying and full of lessons for all that are willing to learn, DRUNKEN ANGEL proves that no matter how much work it takes we can still come out better on the other side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Account of Redemption From Addiction To Sobriety, January 18, 2012
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
I attended Alan Kaufman's reading at Books Inc and, as an admittedly jaded New Yorker, I wondered what he could possibly say that was new about addiction. As it turns out, I had never heard anyone talk about recovery with so much honesty; it was absolutely revelatory. "Drunken Angel" is a stunning read and I experienced every emotion from upset to shock to elation. Alan Kaufman spoke about something that is true for many of us- we drink to fill the hole in our heart. But, Alan found his way and I suggest you read how. You'll never be the same after."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hundred Proof Spirits, Bottled up in a Life and Spit out in Flaming Fire Swallower's Prose, June 2, 2013
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
A life is not easily encapsulated, least well by the individual who lived it. Try it some time. Aside from the need to compose a compelling narrative, there is the problem of selective memory, the tendency to glorify, to blot out the stains and gloss over the lapses. Alan Kaufman takes the opposite tack, focusing on every stain and sucking on the fermented poison in "Drunken Angel," his masterful account of a life ill-lived.

Hurt is dished out in heaping helpings on almost every page. First by the narrator's mother, a Polish-born French survivor of the Shoah, who loads down her little son with all her impossible dreams of glory, trying to turn him into a Hollywood child star by day, the vehicle of her own squelched ambitions, then beats out all her grief and frustration in incestuous syncopation on every inch of his body by night.

The Bronx-born narrator soon discovers alcohol, that divine-demiurgic unguent that dulls and then embalms the pain, transforming life into legend. (They don't call it spirits for nothing.) A larger than life scoundrel in the making, with all the charm of a fallen angel-cum devil, Kaufman tramples with heavy boots through the lives of others, first enthralling, then punishing those who fall for his act, freely dishing out misery and betrayal to friends and lovers and later to wives.

Yet all the while in the telling he keeps the necessary distance--and this is the strength of the writing: the reader can't put the book down and keeps rooting for the hero, wondering when he will finally wake up from the self-perpetuating nightmare he describes with painstaking precision. As human beings, we want him to wake, but as readers, unreformed "narrataholics," craving every fix of once upon a time, we hope to delay the awakening, to soak every last drop out of his drunken revelry, and through the unsavory details of his descent to vicariously indulge the Mr. Hyde hidden in us all.

Having racked up human casualties like bowling pins in his native New York, Kaufman proceeds to the Promised Land to affirm his Jewish identity, bed down comely locals, marry, divorce, marry again, and betray friends, while remaining married and faithful only to the bottle. With Biblical matter-of-factness, he tells his tale: "Then I met Anna, wife of Itamar [...] and my journey took a turn into heights and depths that I'd never thought possible." You can imagine what follows.

And as if he can't sink any lower, Kaufman returns to the States, fathers a child, marries yet again, briefly attempts to lead a stable, bourgeois life, and finally hits the proverbial skids, sleeping in dumpsters, living off garbage, battling it out with the junkies and the rats.

The sad irony is, of course, that as soon as Kaufman cleans up his act, finds Alcoholics Anonymous, and sets out to reform his life, the reader's interest wanes. Redemption may be a moral victory, but it is a literary bore. Yet Kaufman the writer is ready, dishing out a juicy chapter on sex addiction to keep the scurrilous voyeur satisfied.

If there is vanity here--and vanity there is, the worst demon of them all--Kaufman manages to straitjacket it long enough to spit out his riveting tale before bowing for applause. As a grown-up child prodigy, he did his tormented-tormentor mother right proud, only not in the Hollywood roles she may have envisioned, but as a singing, dancing sociopath. As a poet, he took keen note. "Drunken Angel" is 100 proof distilled spirits, bottled up in a life and spit out in flaming fire swallower's prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, February 25, 2013
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Kindle Edition)
Puts you in the alcoholic's head. I would recommend this to anyone trying understand this disease. It comes straight from the heart. Encouraging but realistic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No sugar-coating here!, July 9, 2014
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
Honest memoir. Sometimes tough to read. Good insights on how an alcoholic thinks.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading, June 8, 2014
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This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
This author is rather creepy - someone you would not want your daughter to meet! He talks frequently about thrusting into women whether he is drunk or not. Not a human being worth knowing much about let alone having to read 400 pages of this memoir. Very easy to put this book down - I read it off and on and now can't wait to donate it to the Goodwill! He abandons his daughter and does not move heaven and earth to help this poor child who lives in squalor with her crazy mother. A woman he hates but of course had sex with. (He has a lot of sex and seems to enjoy letting us know about all of his conquests.) Of course we can sympathize a bit as he is an alcoholic and had been abused as a child but after he is successful with his writing career and is clean and sober he still does very little to help his child. He is somewhat of a disgusting character all around and I will not purchase any more of his books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put It Down, May 17, 2014
By 
Lenore Weiss "Writer01" (Sterlington, LA;United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
A memoir about overcoming addiction, but much more, giving the reader a look at the origins of performance poetry both on the East and West Coasts from the point of view of a literary innovator who was in the middle of it all and continues to stir the pot.
[...]
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4.0 out of 5 stars A drunkalogue and subsequent tale of recovery, March 27, 2014
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This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
Anyone in recovery who has heard another drunk at a recovery support-group meeting tell his or her story of what he or she was like when drinking, what happened to change the person, and what life is like as a recovering alcoholic will recognize that this story for what it is. The main difference is it that the story is exceptionally well told with plenty of drama, some gratuitous sex, and plenty of pathos. Overall, well worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Such an inspiration!, September 12, 2013
This review is from: Drunken Angel (Hardcover)
This story is excellent! Alan Kaufman is a great writer and such an inspiration! I was so engrossed in his tale the whole time. Definitely recommend it!
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Drunken Angel
Drunken Angel by Alan Kaufman
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