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Beamish Boy (I am not my story): A Memoir of Recovery and Awakening

4.8 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0966943092
ISBN-10: 0966943090
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

Review

. . .A beautifully written memoir. . .poignant and inspirational, comical
and terrifying!

Kirkus

. . .a fascinating, poetic memoir. . .

ForeWord Reviews

DeSilver's seesawing journey from drug and alcohol addiction, filled with
epiphanies and backsliding, clarity and bewilderment, will keep readers
committed to his story. . .

Publishers Weekly

. . .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.


Claudia Sternbach
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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: The Owl Press (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966943090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966943092
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"I grew up in a clock tower with bats in the belfry." This intriguing first line in the luminous memoir Beamish Boy by Albert DeSilver invites us into his chaotic childhood where there are literal bats, but the metaphor works too--foreshadowing a bumper car ride through Albert's young life. His parents are eccentric, colorful, and clueless, yet we come to like them despite their inability to know what was going on with their son--including serious abuse by a caretaker, Heddy, whose monstrous psychological and physical abuse helped to create a mental state that would be repeated later in his life until he climbs toward the light and throws off the bonds of his drug and alcohol abuse. This is a book about the inner journey to seek answers and find a life amid psychological rubble. He finds a path to transformation through art, photography and poetry, then meditation frees him further to bear to face the darkness in his soul. He sees the real Truth of the world, and learns to become whole, he learns about love, and how to live a life of creativity and compassion.
The thing about a memoir written by a poet is how delightful it is to read beautifully written passages, metaphors that zing, scenes that transport the reader fully into the world of the narrator, as much as words can do that.
Albert's work makes us want to connect with his poetry, art, and visions of "reality" that are more real than any drug trip. Read this book to open the lens of understanding in your own life. Read this book to see how one can find one's way from darkness to light.
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By Karen E. on September 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I knew this memoir had a happy ending (I've had the honor of meeting the author), but as I read Beamish Boy I nevertheless suffered through his sorrows and difficulties. BUT! I also laughed out loud with the sheer joy Albert also expresses and the wry sense of humor he brings to his memoir. A real love for living to our deepest convictions, our truest connections to one another, and forgiveness and sincere inner peace, is what carries this writer and the reader in the full tide of this book. Albert is a gifted writer and poet and one I will read again without hesitation. Hands down, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Having owned a bookstore for 10 years, I have probably read the first section of thousands of books. Few have grabbed my attention as quickly as Beamish Boy. Albert DeSilver is no doubt a poet. But more than that, he is the voice of one of us, walking the streets of life, sometimes knocked down, other times victorious. It is refreshing to be drawn into the life of one who is able to convey what their experience is, without it sounding distant or pompous. It is an enjoyable journey to travel with Mr. DeSilver.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most honest memoirs I've read. It takes a brave writer to allow his narrator to be at times dislikable, and when the narrator is in fact the author, it takes even greater courage. The reader ambles along with the narrator's amusing and tragic misadventures for quite a while, all the time hoping he will find his way to some sort of spiritual peace. Even when the reader finds herself judging Al's crazy choices and wondering wtf he's doing, she wants him to succeed and to end up okay. This is a page turner.
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Format: Paperback
Wow.

I loved this Memoir.

I will admit something. When I saw first saw this book on the goodreads giveaway list I had no idea who Albert Flynn Desilver was. I just noticed the title and thought "Oh...Beamish Boy...jabberwocky!" I did read the description and saw it was a memoir..most people I'm sure would have passed it over if they didn't recognize the name of the author...But I thought it would be great to read about someones life BEFORE I look into what they do. So I wouldn't have an idea in my head of what they were like in real life and then be shocked!

I just adored this book!

It was so easy to read and it was refreshingly honest. I laughed and then I actually cried a bit too. Which is something I hardly ever do while reading books anymore.

I look forward to reading more of Desilvers book and I will definitely recommend this memoir.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a raw unvarnished look at the life of a young man who spent his youth and early adulthood reeling from the effects of a punitive nanny and parents who were negligent due to alcoholism. Although there are untold numbers of books about people recovering from drug and alcohol abuse,as this author has, the originality of this volume's style--the poetry of the prose, the surreal combined with the down to earth wry humor, and the telling of how his applying himself to arts (photography and poetry writing) become his salvation, make it well worth the read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Honest, searching memoir written in lyrical prose befitting the author's background as a poet. Albert leads us through the "long strange roads" he followed from New England to the San Francisco area. Much more than a story of addiction and recovery, this book explores a young man's coming of age in a turbulent era, discovering new frontiers and building a life rooted in spirituality and creativity. Recommended to anyone who loves other classic coming of age quests like SIDDHARTHA, THIS BOY'S LIFE or THE GOLDFINCH.
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