Almond, David Kit's Wilderness, one of the main characters
has an alcoholic father who is abusive.
Brooks, Bruce. No Kidding by Bruce Brooks. In this book, alcoholism
has become epidemic.
Carter, Alden. Up Country (although it is a little heavy on the AA message)
Carter, David: The Cabby's Daughter
Conly, Jane Leslie. Crazy Lady.
Danziger, Paula. Snail Mail Nor More, explores the impact of
an alcoholic father on his family, especially his 13 year old daughter.
I read this after one of my students gave a book talk on it. Great for
5th through middle school. It's also a wonderful portrayal of a strong
friendship. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
Fox, Paula. Moonlight Man. It is a touching story with a father who
has not yet acknowledged his disease and a daughter who is struggling with
her love for him.
Gantos, Jack. _Joey Pigza Loses Control_, is one of the most interesting
treatments of alcoholism in families that I've ever read. In it, Jack goes
to spend time with his father, who is trying to quit his alcohol addiction.
He decides that what he needs is to quit cold turkey, and that Jack needs
to quit his medicine cold turkey, too. It will be a father-son bonding
experience, he thinks, to get rid of their dependencies together. Of course,
things spiral out of control in more than one way. What I liked so much
was how well Gantos portrays the shifting ground under Jack's feet as his
father displays several personality changes, the way well-meaning but alcoholic
relatives so often do. One minute his dad is protective, the next a pal,
the next a rabid Little League or soccer coach, can't remember which, the
next an apologetic and rueful drunk. There is a safety net for Jack
in the person of his mother, and also his dad's kind girlfriend, and even
a tiny bit in his odd grandmother -- but there are many moments where he
is alone and struggling to make choices that are very difficult and confusing
for a boy his age to grapple with. He's trying to navigate the land mines,
and his successes are uneven. Some adult readers have expressed disappointment
in this book, saying they found it too heavy and not as funny as the first
book. I have to say that I think it's a great book BECAUSE of the way it
deals with this all-too-prevalent issue: it isn't tidy. I think there is
humor, a lot of it, and it is very, very realistic. I was amazed at how
free from easy rhetoric Gantos was; any "issues" book runs a real danger
of being maudlin and/or didactic. I think he avoided both traps while offering
both hope and warmth. While I haven't had feedback from kids with alcoholic
parents (how would I poll for that?!), I would imagine that this could
be a very helpful book to introduce the topic, and that kids with alcoholic
parents, while venting their outrage at Jack's dad, might also find a private
relief in the humor and honesty of this book.
Hunt, Irene. "Up A Road Slowly", Julie lives with her aunt and uncle, and
the uncle has a problem with alcohol.
Koller, Jackie French. A Place To Call Home. It's the story of a
teen-age girl who must deal with the terrible consequences of her mother's
alcoholism, eventually unraveling the painful truth behind the problem.
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
Paulsen, Gary. HARRIS AND ME. A SUMMER REMEMBERED (1993) opens with the
following: "Meeting Harris would never have happened were it not for liberal
quantities of Schlitz and Four Roses. For nearly all of my remembered childhood
there was an open bottle of Schlitz on a table. My parents drank Four Roses
professionally from jelly jars -- neat, without diluting ice, water, or
mix. They were, consequently, vegetables most of the time -- although the
term vegetable connotes a feeling of calm that did not exist. They went
through three phases of drunkenness: buzzed (happy), drunk (mean as snakes),
and finally, obliterated (Four Roses coma). Unfortunately the buzzed, or
happy, stage only lasted a short time, and it grew shorter as time progressed
until they were pretty much mean whenever they were conscious. Home
became, finally, something of an impossibility for me and I would go and
stay with relatives for extended periods of time." The rest of the book
is about his summer spent with some distant relatives, including Harris,
another young boy. Overall, it is a hilarious story, especially read aloud,
and my 11-year-old boys loved it. On the serious side, it also generated
an interesting discussion of alcoholism (starting with questions like,
what are "Schlitz" and "Four Roses"?)
Twain, Mark: Huckleberry Finn
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Reading Lists | Booktalks
| Last Updated: December 18, 2000| Copyright © 1999-
by Nancy J. Keane
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