Narrator: Johnny Mack
on 14 February 2017
Length: 1 hr and 19 mins
Genres: Humor, Literary, Non-Fiction
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Thirty-eight years ago I wrote "Drink, Drank, Drunk", a series of six articles for the Milwaukee Journal in which I used my personal experience with booze, along with pointing out the stranglehold the beer/booze industry has in formulating our absurd collective relationship with alcohol. Incredibly, a recent review of those articles leads to the inevitable and unfortunate conclusion that with only minor changes for updating statistics, they could have been written yesterday.
Never in my many years of practicing personal journalism have I ever experienced the kind of reader response "Drink, Drank, Drunk" generated. Hundreds of letters poured in, from shaky alcoholics, from the grieving mothers of country boys killed in car crashes, from children expressing the heartbreak of abusive or missing parents, from frustrated therapists and counselors, from bartenders and preachers and many others.
In the Pulitzer dream world of every journalist, mine was shattered by the Journal not even submitting the series for consideration. But what do I know? Could the industry have been a factor?
Originally written nearly 40 years ago, this journalistic report of Wisconsin drinking and alcoholism still is relevant today. Bill Stokes strikes a sound balance between harsh facts and humanizing a variety of alcoholics.
From teens to the working man to the house wife to the lonely pastor to the well-liked young man – anyone can go from light drinker to an alcoholic. Stokes includes more examples, but you get the picture with the few I’ve mentioned here. In a few sentences, he paints a vivid picture of each, making it easy to picture people I know in real life in the same position. I like that this work points out that many kids learn from their parents about using alcohol appropriately, or not.
This non-fiction essay includes a brief discussions of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and other ‘cures’. He brings up questions about the cycle of ‘curing alcoholics’ only to have them back in the system a few months or years later. The author is frank with the reader and includes his own experience with drinking heavily and how he has changed his life and why.
While there are plenty statistics, they are no longer accurate today. However, they are still starkly frightening. It does make me wonder what the current statistics are with the higher population. This work is definitely dated with references to women entering the work force and “that’s why they need to relax like the working men.” I don’t know how accurate that is but I would like to see something backing it up… or not.
Stokes does point at the alcohol industry and their lobbying of Wisconsin laws concerning who can drink, advertising, etc. quite often throughout the piece. Again, I would like to see how accurate that is for today’s alcohol lobbying and the industry.
I originally read this as an ebook which, unfortunately, had several typos. I believe these typos were introduced when the Word or PDF version was translated into the Kindle version. For example, several times an ‘I’ will be an exclamation mark or such. Anyway, I found the audiobook version much more enjoyable because I don’t get hung up on the typos.
Narration: Johnny Mack did a decent job on this one. Sometimes he has an odd pause and sometimes he doesn’t pause as we move from one section or chapter to another. Other than that, he gave a good performance. He never sounded bored with the subject matter.
This review first appeared on Dab of Darkness.