I'm going to start this off by saying that this was a very difficult book for me to read and an even more difficult subject to discuss and I imagine that anyone that has any association with addiction will feel the same way. It was an amazing book and I am incredibly happy that I won this as one of my goodreads first-read giveaways.
The description of the book is a bit misleading. The description sells the book as two men (Monty and Dave) confronting their addictions and one man (Monty) trying to learn how to forgive himself and the other (Dave) for an accidental tragedy. The details of the accident were not revealed to Monty until the end of the book and I did not really pick up on any struggle with forgiveness until perhaps the last 15 pages. It struck me more as a tale of accepting one's own demons and flaws and facing our own reality.
This book will lead you on a serious rollercoaster ride of emotions. I went from not really caring or being emotionally invested in any of the characters to liking one and despising the other to feeling the exact opposite way only ten pages later. I cried quite a few times while reading the book simply because Mr. Seaward does an incredible job of depicting the struggle with addiction. I've been witness to loved ones struggle with addiction more times than I care to count and it was very difficult to read through pages full of such accuracy and heartache. It was truly gut-wrenching. I appreciate Mr. Seaward not holding back the details of addiction and withdrawal. He discusses in very explicit details the mental, psychological and physical effects of withdrawal and the various stages of recovery. It is a very difficult book to read but only because it is so honest and direct and confrontational. It forces the reader to view and accept the world of addiction and recovery.
The ending when Monty walks out of rehab and decides to continue his quest to drink himself to death was the perfect culmination of the rest of the book. The whole story was brutally honest about a very sensitive subject but written and told beautifully.
So why not five stars? There was only one very minor thing about the book that made it fall just a little short for me. It was the timeline. In the beginning of the book Mr. Seaward is writing two separate stories, the story of Monty and the story of Dave, and the timeline gets a little blurry until they merge together. I was never clear on exactly how much time was elapsing and at one point I felt like it was probably a month or so and then a character mentions it was only about two weeks. It also felt like I would read about Monty's story progressing for two or three chapters then have to revert backwards in time to read Dave's story for the same time period. The cohesiveness of time blurred for me throughout the first half of the book but that happens when an author is trying to tell multiple stories.
All in all it was a fantastic and very honest depiction of the struggle with addiction and the quest for sobriety. I would certainly recommend it to anyone but with a note to be sure to have a box of tissues nearby.