Author: Jared Bryan Smith
ISBN: 9780984595501

Jared Bryan Smith with his hippopotamus sea; my viral sobriety transports his readers to a place that most would not dare to go, or wouldn't even think of going.

In excruciating detail, Smith's biographical account details the life of a tragic individual who was bombed out of his mind for seventeen years beginning in his teens until his early thirties when he sought the help of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA).

What makes this book so powerful and at the same time disturbing is that we know that the narrator is a real person that did in fact live a life of hell as an alcoholic and drug addict, and as he states, “becoming a paranoid delusional nut,” who unfortunately has now wound up with Hepatitis C.

Luckily, Smith has survived the ordeal and is still alive to share his deepest feelings, emotions, experiences, and remorse with his readers. According to Smith, the book has provided him with an opportunity to apologize to some of his friends and relatives, explain to others his behavior, to thank AA that ultimately came to his rescue, and perhaps give hope to other alcoholics and drug addicts.

How can one comprehend a life such as Smith's? To answer that question, we have to look to his early childhood where he was raised in a dysfunctional environment with a father that had succumbed to alcohol and who engendered much agony to his wife and family. At the age of eleven Smith was to experience a traumatic event that would have long lasting repercussions when his father blew his brains out. No doubt, this was probably one of the determining factors in his own downward spiral into self-destruction that expressed itself in his extreme rage and nastiness that lasted for many years thereafter. Quite alarming and disheartening was just before he killed himself, Smith, after receiving a phone call from his dad where he talked about suicide, told him, and as he informs us, he meant it, “why don't you just do us all a favor and kill yourself?”

Throughout his high-school days and into his early thirties Smith was continually lying to himself that everything was just fine when in fact he was living a decadent life jumping from one relationship to another, drinking and drugging himself into a continuous stupor, hallucinating, being fired from one job after another, blaming everyone for his misfortunes, abandoning his son, being arrested several times, and committing the most despicable act in stealing his mother's pain killing medication who was dying from cancer.

A consistent theme among alcoholics and drug abusers is the seeking out of buddies that will share in their drinking and drug habits, and I guess Smith's many relationships with the opposite sex bears this out, as for the most part his female companions were just as messed up as himself. Ironically, through all of this, Smith did manage to secure some great jobs where, when fairly sober, was able to earn a descent salary as an executive recruiter.

Although Smith's memoir is honest and moving, his message would have been much more effective and not have read like a rambling day-by-day journal of the author's life, if there had been better content editing, organization and proofreading. Nonetheless, writing a 355-page painful memoir of a drug addict and alcoholic is not only a cathartic exercise but also quite a daunting task and I commend Smith for his courage and candidness. In the end, hippopotamus sea; my viral sobriety may not exactly be a feel good book, it still left me pulling for Smith and hopefully he has finally found the path to combating his addiction that will eventually lead him to a normal life.

Click to read Norm's Interview With Jared Bryan Smith

Author's Bio: 

Norm Goldman is the Publisher & Editor of the book reviewing site has been in existence since 2002 and has posted over 5000 reviews and over 650 author interviews.

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