Book review: Mrs D is Going Without, by Lotta Dann

Prelude to a book review…cv_mrs_d_is_going_without

I decided to write a short prelude to my review of Mrs D is Going Without, because it’s not the kind of book I normally read or review; I thought it might be good to give you a little insight.

I am the daughter of an alcoholic.

While I was between the ages of approx 12 and 34 my dad was pretty much drinking and/or drunk all-the-time. I won’t bore you with all the gory details of growing up in a seriously dysfunctional household, but needless to say it wasn’t healthy, or pleasant, or fun.

I’m an occasional drinker, but there is scientific evidence that suggests children of alcoholics may have a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism; and I guess that is always in the back of my mind. Like an inner voice of sorts, telling me to be responsible, reminding me that I don’t want to end up like my father. That’s actually a sad fact to admit to, but it is a true one. I do not want to be like my dad.

So I guess I was looking for some kind of reassurance that it couldn’t happen to me. Maybe reading Mrs D, would provide me with answers to my questions about my dad’s drinking, or perhaps I would be more understanding of his drinking through reading Mrs. D’s story…

Mrs D is Going Without is nothing but honest… unabashedly so. Lotta Dann (Mrs D) leaves no stone un-turned, no secret unrevealed, as she reflects and expands on her first years of sobriety; originally recorded on her blog.

Full of insightful ‘light bulb’ moments, tips and tricks for skipping her 5’o’clock wine – Mrs D had a serious case of clean the house to avoid a drink syndrome – she did whatever it took to avoid booze, and it worked for her.

I love the narrative that strings the blog posts together, and the blog comments that slowly appear to offer support are great to read, to see how her story resonates with people from all works of life, all corners of the globe. But the thing I like the most is Mrs D’s relatability.

Mrs D really is like you or I. She is juggling all the exciting and mundane things that make us all hardworking wives and mothers. Sick kids, moving house, housework, school runs, general day-to-day monotony – you name it, she did it – all while going cold turkey, all without her usual wine o’clock relief that would turn in to an inevitable wow, I drank the whole bottle evening!

I saw similarities between Mrs D and my dad.

Hell, I even saw similarities between Mrs D and myself! But there are great differences too, as revealed on page 220. I wrote this down in my notes: ‘I so loved this moment. I read it with a tear in my eye. Because after almost 40 years of being one, my Dad still can’t say those words… you are a brave and honest woman Mrs D, and I applaud you for it.’ I won’t give it completely away for those of you who will read Mrs D is Going Without, but I found this to be one of the most defining moments in Mrs D’s journey.

To say I enjoyed this book would be understating the fact. I absolutely loved this memoir. After finishing, I wrote this note: ‘So I’ve pretty much cried my way through the last chapters of this book (yes, I am a crier in general) but I have been so moved by Lotta and her journey. Cheers (of the non alcoholic variety) to you :)’

Did I get some of the answers I was looking for – well yes, I think I did. I definitely have a better realization about how easy the slide from one evening drink to out-of-control drinking can be. And while I always have been aware, I now have a better understanding about alcohol being a drug, about how it can consume your every thought, having to base every decision you make on what to drink instead of booze and how to avoid slipping back it to its clutches. Because it is so socially accepted, we hardly notice when it gets out of control.

Mrs D is Going Without, is a must read. And not just for those thinking of giving up the drink. Family, friends, loved ones, children and parents of alcoholics; anyone, anywhere can be affected by alcoholism and I would strongly recommend that you all read this book – if for nothing more than to simply understand that someone who may be struggling with alcohol doesn’t have to be falling down drunk every day. Even the person lying in bed beside you could be silently struggling… and you just don’t realise it.

A truly inspiring 5 star read.

Reviewed by Cath Cowley – My BookChatter Cath

Mrs D is Going Without
by Lotta Dann
Published by Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781877505393

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