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Drunken Angel

22 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 1936740028
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Editorial Reviews


"Anyone looking for an extraordinarily well-written tale of personal redemption, of overcoming addiction and finding a joyous and rewarding life on the other side, get a copy of "Drunken Angel" and read it, cover to cover. You'll be glad you did."
--Addiction Treatment
"This type of memoir can often feel predictable, but what makes Kaufman's stand out is the passion with which he throws himself into recovery... In a less talented writer's hands, a work like this might have come off like testimonial, but Kaufman is an amazing writer who really nails the recovery milieu. His work reminds me of Harry Crews, who famously presented on the page the poverty stricken deep South of his own childhood. What Crews did for depression-era Georgia sharecroppers, Kaufman does for people recovering in 12-step programs. Drunken Angel tells in pitch-perfect language and tone what recovery from alcoholism by going to 12-step meetings is like ... Kaufman has a great capacity to surprise and delight ...a testament to the human spirit and will to survive."
--Internet Review of Books
"Kaufman -- who also wrote the books "Matches" and "Jewboy" -- describes wild and dangerous binge drinking as powerfully as masters of the genre, like Charles Bukowski and Frederick Exley."
--The Jewish Daily Foreword Reviews
"In more than two hundred pages of blistering hangovers, park bench nights, and fistfights, Kaufman becomes a celebrated writer and avant garde arts advocate... A clearly articulated roadmap to freedom for the addict, "Drunken Angel" is an easy and exciting memoir. This outlaw hero is someone to cheer for..." --"Foreword Reviews"
"[An] addictive memoir of self-destruction, recuperation and a literary coming-of-age." --"Kirkus Reviews"
"Whether the subject is parental abuse, alcoholism, or the travails of the writing life, Kaufman's ("Jew Boy; Matches") memoir violently grabs your attention, refusing to let up until he's had his say. This is a br

From the Back Cover

A Heartbreakingly Honest Story of Triumph Over Addiction

Son of a French Holocaust survivor, Alan Kaufman drank to fill the huge hole in his heart, wrecking himself and everyone in his path. In Drunken Angel, the poet and critically acclaimed writer recounts with unvarnished honesty the story of the alcoholism that took him to the brink of death, the PTSD that drove him to the edge of madness, and the love that brought him back. With his estranged daughter as inspiration and two unforgettable mentors for support, Kaufman got into recovery at age 37, taking full responsibility for nearly destroying himself, his work and so many loved ones along the way. Kaufman minces no words as he looks back on a life pickled in self-pity, self-loathing and guilt, delivering a lacerating, cautionary tale of a life wasted and reclaimed.

In league with the handful of gut-wrenching, life-changing, and enduring books about the tortures of addiction, Drunken Angel probes the consciousness of an addict to expose the true horror of alcoholism. Alan Kaufman’s searing memoir is a surreal reading experience full of stylistic acrobatics that speak to the genius of a writer nearly lost.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Viva Editions (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936740028
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,110,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anna on November 16, 2011
Format: 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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Format: 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Nexwave on January 18, 2012
Format: 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 By Pen Name on February 20, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading this is enough to make me wish that I had been the kind of alcoholic that "couldn't stop." With a history of alcoholism in my Irish Catholic military family, it was easy for me to stop at the first sign of trouble. And my grandfather was one of early AA'ers in Chicago when it was all getting started, and I was raised on his knee being told "Catarina Shefelina, I can't take another drink again for as long as I live!" So I knew the story well. I guess by stopping so early on I escaped the hell that awaits all those who "cross over" to the other side, and are one of the truly lucky ones if they find their way back. It's a choice every individual makes, but once you do, it's nigh impossible to get back unless you have a support system such as the 12 Steps or other Faith in God.

I wish that I had talent that overflowed for this author the moment he might put the bottle down. I guess this just goes to show that "talent" is innate and something a person is born with, and nothing but nothing will make it die unless the person dies. It will always struggle and grow with the urge to blossom and bloom! Live it will if the body will. What a tale to tell.

Parts of this story are so hard to read and believe they could be real... it's a nightmarish roller-coaster ride that ends up throwing the actors high into heaven. A heaven I have never seen or been in. Great story and if ever there was a book about why it's worth getting and staying "clean and sober," and working The Steps, this is it. Bravo!

PS: Even though I have no idea about "past lives," if they are true or not, it seems that his daughter, angel from above, came to protect him from the nightmare his life had become. That was one of the most moving parts about this story that is oh-so-true.
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