I absolutely could not put this book down. I was so taken in by the author’s honesty and candor. Not to mention her story telling ability. I was rooting for her with the turn of every page. I never felt pity because I saw her determination and intelligence.
This book was generously gifted to me from a friend. As promised, this would be an easy read but my life would be better for reading it and I know that’s true. This book is raw and honest which easily brought me into the story as I could feel her emotions during this coming of age story. I give this book a solid 5 stars and enthusiastically recommend it!
Absolutely beautiful story. For men, just change the Title to "Son of the drunk at the bar". This book has opened my heart back up to give me a glimmer of hope that I can try to fully realize the happiness that I've been denying myself for decades. Michelle O'Neil is a wonderful woman who has overcome her childhood and embraced life. I aspire to be as happy and open as she is now.
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!
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!
*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.
This review is written by Susie Spellicy. Michelle O'Neil is a wonderful writer and talented storyteller. Her writing style is observant, detailed and shows true emotion. I was especially fond of the time period in which the story takes place and the information she was able to include and describe with such accuracy. The Author brought back many of her own memories that engaged me as a reader and allowed me to feel them along with her. I was kept captivated throughout this book and left wanting more!
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. Her effective use of humor without ever closing herself off from her feelings belies a kind heart. Though at times her story is heartbreaking to read, the reader will feel Janie's triumph over her past as she states her desire for a loving family of her own. I found myself wishing the same for her.
While reading this book, I was struck with the sense of knowing girls just like Janie growing up without ever realizing it at the time. O'Neil mentions often the lengths she would go to not have anyone find out what her family was about. The reaction on my part was the result of something stirred up while reading this story and a credit to O'Neil's talent as a writer. Initially feeling as though her father was getting way more attention than he deserved, I quickly came to realize that this book was not about him nor about any one of the people who should have loved and protected her so much better than their weaknesses and dysfunctions allowed. It is a story about forgiveness. Recommended to anyone who has lived through a similar experience, to those who have had a hand in turning a nightmare into a reality for their loved ones, and to any of us needing a reminder of the strength of an indomitable spirit, Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar will deliver.
Michelle's ability to write through the eyes of a little girl is amazingly powerful. The book will make you laugh and cry out loud...extremely entertaining, disturbing, thought provoking, and a great trip down memory lane (with some wicked cool 80's references). Buy it, read it, tell your friends to do the same and you'll be better for it. Can't wait for the next book, movie, etc.