THE ALCOHOLIC is gonna be hard to top as my favorite original graphic novel of the year.”



In my last review at For Reading Addicts I had to declare an interest because I knew the author. In the case of The Alcholic by Jonathan Ames I don’t know the author (in fact, had never heard of him until I saw this title in the local library) but felt a very strong identification with this very honest story of a man and his drinking (and sexual and hair loss and dug and family…) problem.

The book opens with Jonathan A coming out of a black out on the back seat of a car, on the verge of a sexual encounter with an old lady. The next 135 pages explain how he got there.

This had extra resonance for me. I’m a recovering alcoholic myself and, while we’re all different, I identified strongly with some of Jonathan A’s experiences. This is not an especially experiemental graphic novel, in fact it’s a fairly straightforward memoir. But it whips along at a great pace.

The black, white, grey (and noirish) illustrations by Dean Haspiel fit the story, and Jonathan A’s job as a crime writer.

This is pretty hard-hitting stuff and certainly should be considered serious adult reading. That’s not to say that there aren’t funny – alcoholism introduces a fair amount of ridiculousness into your life – moments or that Jonathan Ames doesn’t write with a self-deprecatory wit.

No doubt drinkers, addicts, and their families, friends and loved ones will find a lot to enjoy in The Alcoholic. I hope those aren’t the only people who read it though; it stands alone as a work of fiction with real narrative skill and plenty of meat. An excellent short read.


Reviewed by:

Colin Ricketts

Added 22nd June 2016

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Colin Ricketts