Drink the Moon tells a raw, punchy family love story that has it all: interesting characters, vivid detail, and action-packed scenes. At the center of it all is a woman who happens to also be a mother.
She is painted in a multifaceted, almost Cubist fashion by her daughter: me. The story contemplates our relationship to alcohol and our attitude towards it through this story collection.
These stories of my parents, aunts, and uncles showcase the messy realities of human connection. Each introduction to a family member quilts together layers of a big picture. The story builds through these endearing family portraits. The granny—A World Champion Bowler that started them all down the road of addiction. The men, Uncle Dr. Jimmy, Uncle Chuck (Viet Nam Vet) and Uncle Brent, the homeless grifter who spends a year in jail. Aunt Ketty, Mimi, and Sissy who all have their own types of obsessive behaviors, including family love and forgiveness. And my mother, Sally: the magic heart of this family. As she collects strangers from the airport to spend a night at her house, brings non-family members to family functions, and tends, unconditionally, to the broken and addicted, she anchors us all.
The message is strong and because of her flaws, she shines as a beacon of unconditional forgiveness, despite throughout. The line between obsession and addiction is never clear. In fact, these characters embody strength and vibrancy. It is true: addiction makes them relatable.
Sherri Harvey currently teaches English in California’s Silicon Valley and freelances as a journalist and photographer. She holds an MA from California State University East Bay and an MFA from San Jose State University. She spends her days taking pictures, galloping her horses, hiking with her dogs and writing about it all. She has traveled extensively and, somehow, animals always find her. She has been shaped by two things in her life: animals and travel. When in doubt, spend time with a dog. A horse. A monkey. She has published in Reed Magazine, Endangered.org, World Nomad, Wanderlust-Journal, Dime Show Review, the Same Literary, daCunha Global Storytelling and many more.
Check her out at sherriharvey.com.
Nick Taylor is the author of the historical novels The Disagreement (Simon & Schuster, 2008) and Father Junípero's Confessor (Heyday, 2013) and The Setup Man, (Doubleday, 2014.)
“I just finished your book, and I found it an absolute pleasure to read. When I wasn't reading I was thinking about these characters. I look for the same things in memoir that I seek in fiction: interesting characters, vivid detail, engaging material, and some kind of movement. This book has all the elements, and at its center is magnificent characterization of Sally painted in a multifaceted, almost Cubist fashion, layering anecdote on anecdote until we get a true sense of this remarkable, flawed, big-hearted woman. By the end, we can see how all of them--and by extension all of us, the readers--are interchangeable. All are guilty, all are innocent. This is a book about judgment. About the folly of judgment. About how judgment is really about the judge. I found it incredibly moving.”
“This book draws the reader’s interest toward a loving but flawed mother. It paints a lovely portrait of family and of obsession. It’s easy to identify with each of the character’s flaws and weaknesses in a way that turns the camera inward. I thought about the characters long after I finished reading, and my husband (Dave Eggers) and I both read and reread parts of it to each other, marveling at the language and odd characteristics of your characters that make them both relatable and interesting.”
Jenny Walicek has written numerous articles for BBC Travel, Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, Reed Magazine, Studies in Philology, and Gadling.
“The book is so full of beauty and kindness and love. Normally I’d read about someone causing pain and I’d be angry. But for all the pain people caused the narrator, I could easily see any of them today and all I’d want to do is give them a hug, stand back and look for the good in them that is both shown and told about. That’s a tribute to the writer. It’s really clear all through the book that the narrator has done her best to be non-judgmental, that she thoroughly appreciates her family for who they are, from finer qualities to not-so-fine qualities – and yes we all have some of both - all that spoke loudly and clearly of love and non-judgmentalism. A successfully- painted and endearing portrait of a fractured family filled with a reflective quality that lets us know that the narrator has come to terms with it all. The message I get is strong throughout: addictions made my life stressful and hard and I wouldn’t wish them on anyone, BUT my family is full of fantastic, lovable people who love me, and I wouldn’t trade them or my life for all the world. And most importantly: I’ve made a healthier life for myself, and you can too.”