by Jack L. Kennedy
It sometimes may seem that life is an uncertain, winding and often confused experience, with day to day movements lived through a haze. We wonder when and how it will end and if what we are enduring is truth or fiction, fantasy or fact.
That uncertainty, by both characters and author, is a predominant but well-meaning theme of My Dead Friend Sarah by Peter Rosch. It is an often boozy, bluesy, tale of an admitted alcoholic, Max, his wife Rachel and the mysterious Sarah, who he seems to stalk endlessly. He has dreams about her eventual death, while law enforcement ultimately tries to figure out if the death was a homicide, suicide or simply a planned disappearance by a confused, conflicted soul who was tired of being trailed and tormented.
Along the way one wonders why the wife remains with Max even after she learns of his obsession for another sometimes ethereal woman. Max faces several people darting in and out of his life, from an attorney friend who tries to help by making him face reality, to a once-trusted Alcoholics Anonymous mentor and sponsor who, like Max, is something of an insecure soul who slips off the wagon. At times the reader, like Max, may wonder who is real,what he or she sees and where life/the plot are going.
If writer and characters seem at times confused, incoherent, and aimless, perhaps, that is Rosch’s goal. His biography in the book states “Rosch is what happens when a Polish drag-racing varsity bowler and a beautiful but paranoid French Canadian Air force brat get together on a disco dance floor in Albuquerque,N.M.” Rosch was a New York City writer, adman, and alcoholic.
In his accompanying background for the book, Rosch says our actions all have consequences in an instant-gratification society, with drugs and alcohol often folded into that partying lifestyle. Even admen today, he adds, often make that lifestyle of drinking look attractive.
The novel is said to be based upon Rosch’s first harrowing year of recovery from addiction to alcohol, and, perhaps, attempts to recover from the addiction that convinces one's ego that you need no one else’s help and can see well and handle hurdles on your own.
“Sarah” seems to wander between being real and imaginary, as Rosch demonstrates how an alcoholic has trouble determining which is which. He offers lots of introspection with a few insights into AA group dynamics and rehabilitation strategies. The book should draw sobering interest for many readers.
Title - My Dead Friend Sarah
Author: Peter Rosch
Publisher: crate Space Independent Publishing Platform/Rosch, LLC (Apr. 21, 2012)
$11.07/paperback; $3.99/Kindle at amazon.com/pp.228; 286 KB