Author Adam C. Mitchell is one of my favorite noir authors. I was curious when offered an advanced reader copy of his book Beer, Women, and the Written Word. All I knew was that it was semi-autobiographical and from the title, I gathered it wasn’t “noir”.
From the beginning, I wondered where the story was going. The main protagonist, Harry Block, is a mess. He’s the kind of screwed up guy you have to love. Even when he’s doing everything right, something is bound to go wrong. Smart, irreverent, a hapless jokester, Harry bumbles through life, love, and a job he hates while trying to write a best seller.
The glue that holds things together for Harry is the love of his life, Lou. She is the anchor that keeps him from sailing away on a sea of his beloved beer and coffee. What started out as a sexy love affair soon turns to much more, especially when the couple learn a Baby Block is on the way.
Lou is no quiet little “stand by your man” lady. No indeed. She loves her man Harry with all she’s got and according to Harry, she has a lot of love to give. But when he crosses the line she doesn’t hesitate to put him in his place and get him back on track. Harry loves her feistiness.
The book abounds with a liberal dose of sex, profanity, love, action, and the daft kind of madness we have all probably faced sometime in our lives. Harry’s observations of the world around him are priceless. He sees people as they are and doesn’t hesitate to make note of behavior that is often ridiculous. Of course, his own behavior is equally as questionable. But when push comes to shove, Harry loves his lady and soon loves his Baby Block as well.
While all the craziness goes on around him he continues to write his novel. Not his first book, but one he struggles with; a story that needs telling. Lou encourages him every step of the way. Her faith in him and his writing is more proof of both her love for the father of her unborn baby and her belief in his ability to change from intoxicated, brash playboy to Family Man of the Year.
Beer, Women, and the Written Word is a slice of life with all its grit and grime, hope for a better future, and the determination to overcome the unexpected obstacles fate loves to throw in our way, and an end so twisted I wanted to scream. It is not a book for the easily offended, which is a shame because they won’t know what a great story they are missing. Put aside your inhibitions and sensitivity and dive into a book whose writing has been compared to James Joyce and Henry Fielding.
” The book you have in your hands follows the path of Semi-autobiographical Mitchell’s alter-ego Harry Block.
Through the highs and lows of a job he hates, impending parenthood, the trials and misadventures of redemption and a rather long and successful career in alcoholism!
All the while dealing with the struggles of the written word and writer’s block.”
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