Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rolling With the Punches by Jamie Kerrick

Rolling With The Punches is what Joey Douglas's dad always told him when things got rough.  He explained that the punches in life were something you always had to deal with.  Joey grew to understand this once he got older, but it was a life long lesson.  We start with a young Joey feeling he was different due to his sexual feelings toward men.  Living in a  small town in Kentucky only made it worse.  There were three things Joey didn't want to be:  gay, alone, and an alcoholic.  he was all three.  This is his story, which can only be described as a dramedy because it's both funny and tragic.  We follow him as he grows up, goes to summer stock in Virginia, to study in Europe, New York, California, and finally back home.  At one time alcohol was his answer to life.  But it took over his life and he had to ask for help.  But Joey is a slow learner.  It takes him nearly 21 years before he found Alcoholics Anonymous and a new way of life.  But the punches continued to come.  The only difference was, he became aware of how to handle them.  Find out how in this entertaining novel.  You'll find yourself rooting for him, while identifying with him as well. (Taken from the back of the book)

Being termed a 'dramedy', I was expecting a mixture of both humor and tragedy.  That wasn't the case.  The opening of the book is full of humor but about halfway through it turns to the more serious, tragic parts of the story.  Joey is telling us the story of his life and thankfully has found humor in growing up gay in a non-supportive society.  The part that Joey  never finds humor in is his own addiction to narcotics and alcohol.  Reading this book starts out with a light-hearted 'poor kid, at least he figured it out' feeling and leads into a more severe 'poor kid, i sure hope he gets help' feeling.  I found myself laughing through several parts and wishing I were around to steer Joey in the right direction throughout the rest of the book.

If reading this for pure entertainment value, it's definitely worth a look.  Joey's written in a way that you just can't deny him as a person.  He's not one of those one-dimensional characters but has graceful flaws that keep you pulled into his life.  If reading this for support in the area of sexual preference or addiction, there's a lot of useful information.  Joey takes us on a journey and allows us to learn right along with him.

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