Published Jan 2015
I touched bottom, as alcoholics like to say on 12th February 1983 (the date is slightly fuzzy).
Thirty-one years ago John Sutherland nearly lost everything to drink. A married man, with a family, working as a visiting professor of English on the west coast of America, he awoke from a blackout to find he was lying next to a stranger – a very strange stranger. This was his morning of clarity: it was time to sober up. Or die.
Last Drink To LA is part reportage, part confession, in which John takes a frank look at drinking culture on both sides of the Atlantic, weighing up the pros and cons of Alcoholics Anonymous, which since its launch nearly a century ago has sparked hot debate. Is it a cult, or the best life-saver drinkers have?
What John courageously ‘shares’ here is not a temperance tale (told to terrify, inform and instruct), not what AA calls a ‘drunkalog’, but a moving and thought-provoking meditation – some thinking about drinking and the devastating effects it has on individuals, families and society at large.
John Sutherland is among the handful of critics whose every book I must have. He’s sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued, with a generous heart and a wise head.
Jay Parini – author of The Last Station
A remarkably honest book.