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claycosner has commented on (1) product.

The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson
The Lost Weekend

claycosner, May 30, 2010

This book reminds me of the old adage, "write what you know." Charles Jackson battled alcoholism for a large part of his life. Much of this book is very much autobiographical.

The protagonist, Don Birnam, is a highly cultured 33 year old man. He has one big problem. He doesn't really see it as a problem. He needs to drink from the time he gets up until he goes to bed. His whole raison d'etre, is to find booze. When the bars open, he is there. He has no job. His lives with his "enabler" his brother Wick. Wick goes away for the weekend and this gives Don a chance to really hit the booze. This he does. This sophisticated man, goes to a nice bar, steals a woman's purse for money for liquor and gets caught. He gets out of that predicament. He later falls down, busts his head and spends a short time in a hospital for alcoholics. All through the book, Birnam goes through the quest for getting money somehow, for the next few pints.

Jackson tells you Birnam's thought processes continually, which really helps one get into the mind of the alcoholic. The incidents he describes and the lengths Don Birnam will go to get a drink, show how insidious this disease can be and to what lengths he will stoop to in order to obtain alcohol.

There is no happy ending in this book. It leaves up in the air what will happen to Don Birnam next. It implies that he will start the process all over again after he recovers from his latest bender.

This book is widely considered as a classic, and maybe the best novel ever written about alcoholism. It reads like non-fiction, not fiction.


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