83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant autobiography of a life in which drinking is pervasive,
This review is from: A Drinking Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
I picked this up because it was referenced in Caroline Knapp's Drinking: A Love Story, and the two are often cross-marketed on Amazon.com. I was expecting more of a story about alcoholism and specific drunk events in Hamill's life. This is much more than a story about alcoholism, it is a story about Hamill's life, and alcohol just so happens to be pervasive throughout his childhood and adulthood. This is truly a complete picture of a man, of his boyhood in the Neighborhood, his family, marriage, his career, and alcohol touched every aspect of his life. Drinking was a constant throughout Pete's journey--a way to celebrate with friends, a way to get through your anger, a way to be social in the Neighborhood, and a way to relate to your co-workers as a newspaperman. In Hamill's boyhood, it was a point of pride in the Neighborhood to be able to handle your liquor, not to be a drunk, but to keep a steady stream of drinking while trading jokes and stories and songs.
Hamill doesn't push any kind of 12-step program in this book. He got sober on his own, in a snap, and he is unusual in his ability to do so. For this reason, for alcoholics looking to relate and to get some insight into their disease, I would recommend Caroline Knapp's book instead. For anyone looking for a fascinating memoir, a touching journey through life, and an inside look and the life of being a reporter, Hamill's memoir is highly recommended.