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Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jamie Brickhouse(Author)

    Book details


"A blisteringly funny, wrenching account of wrestling way too close to―and later loose from―booze, sex and drugs and his adorable, infuriating mother. Bravo!" ―Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author of The Liars' Club

"Whoever said you can't get sober for someone else never met my mother, Mama Jean. When I came to in a Manhattan emergency room after an overdose to the news that she was on her way from Texas, I panicked. She was the last person I wanted to see on that dark September morning, but the person I needed the most."

So begins this astonishing memoir―by turns both darkly comic and deeply poignant―about this native Texan's long struggle with alcohol, his complicated relationship with Mama Jean, and his sexuality and his sexuality, which is listed as “Required Reading” in Mary Karr’s bestselling The Art of Memoir and was a Book Chase Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2015.

From the age of five all Brickhouse wanted was to be at a party with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other and all Mama Jean wanted was to keep him at that age, her Jamie doll forever. A Texan Elizabeth Taylor with the split personality of Auntie Mame and Mama Rose, always camera-ready and flamboyantly outspoken, Mama Jean haunted him his whole life, no matter how far away he went or how deep in booze he swam.

Brickhouse's journey takes him from Texas to a high-profile career in book publishing amid New York's glamorous drinking life to his near-fatal descent into alcoholism. After Mama Jean ushers him into rehab and he ultimately begins to dig out of the hole he'd found himself in, he almost misses his chance to prove that he loves her as much as she loves him. Bitingly funny, raw, and insightful, Dangerous When Wet is the unforgettable story of a unique relationship between a son and his mother.

JAMIE BRICKHOUSE has been published in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Salon, Out, Lambda Literary Review, Publishers Weekly, Poz, Shelf Awareness, The Fix, Addiction/Recovery eBulletin, and the Latin American travel magazine Travesía. He is also a guest blogger for the Huffington Post. Brickhouse spent over two decades in the publishing industry, most recently at two major houses as head of their publicity and lecture divisions. He is a Moth StorySLAM winner, has performed stand-up comedy, and recorded voice-overs for the legendary cartoon TV show, Beavis and Butthead. A native of Beaumont, Texas, Brickhouse lives in Manhattan with his common-law husband, Michael.

2.3 (11794)
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Book details

  • PDF | 288 pages
  • Jamie Brickhouse(Author)
  • St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (May 24, 2016)
  • English
  • 2
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By The grass harp on January 21, 2016

    This was an ordeal to read, in part because of the lack of focus. There several different competing books within this one. A brilliant heart-warming tale which would've been excellent on its own, the story of Mama Jean. One of the all-time great ladies, on the level of Auntie Mame. The book should've been entitled "Mama Jean" not the cliched "Dangerous When Wet", which sounds like a Bon Jovi album.The other story here is about the author's sex life. It's interesting and weird and sad and fascinating. It could've been a provocative gay-interest book of its own.Thirdly there's a self-help addiction/alcoholic 12-step memoir, which personally I could do without. Riddled with cliches and mind-numbing in its self-absorption. How many days? How many relapses? Who cares? Who does he think he's writing to? His fellow 12-steppers? I hated this part of it. It's really awful, boring to read. Why are you telling me this? It lacks perspective and conviction, as the author seems like he's probably at this very moment right now getting drunk somewhere. Therefore, don't tell me your preachy solutions. He comes across as coddled, pampered, spoiled, indulged since birth. Also, on every single page he compares himself to some great female actress like Joan Crawford and Susan Hayward which becomes monotonous fast. You are not Joan! I wanted to say, tell YOUR story instead of everything being a reference to some camp classic.I would not recommend this book to anybody. I think because he works in publishing is probably the only reason it was published, let alone all the blurbs from famous authors. I feel like there's a wonderful story buried here, if you could chop out about 50% of this rambling redundant drivel.Then again, the honesty is at times too icky, sharing about his random sex adventures. But occasionally like the chapter in which he becomes HIV poz, it's like a knife through the heart.None of the characters besides Mama Jean and Jamie are fleshed out, which would've been fine had the story been only about them. His partner comes across as a shallow shell. On every page his devoted family/friends/husband seem to be professing and demonstrating undying loyalty to him . Yet, from the reader's perspective, it's impossible to see what the other characters see in this unlikeable narrator.

  • By Maura E. Lynch on July 5, 2015

    Memoir has long been one of my favorite genres. The first memoir I read about alcoholism was Caroline Knapp’s DRINKING: A LOVE STORY in 1997, and so, excuse the awful pun, the bar was set quite high. Jamie Brickhouse's DANGEROUS WHEN WET is absolutely amazing and staggering. He has a rare talent for fully confronting each part of his life with total honesty, sensitivity, cutting wit, and Falstaffian vigor. Mr. Brickhouse said he only was able to write this memoir after the death of his mother, “Mama Jean—my greatest champion and harshest critic.” The book is a brave and clever fusion. He writes about his Texas boyhood, his relationship with Mama Jean (and his father Earl), and his homosexuality and coming out, his discovery of alcohol, and, according to Mama Jean, his true destination was to become a writer.“…you need to be a writer. That’s what you should be doing! I’m telling you, your ticket is the writing. And remember what I’ve always said: you control your destiny.”Mama Jean was right (she was about mostly everything), however Jamie’s journey involved a lot of rough road. He moved to New York City after college in the autumn of 1990, just after graduating from college in Texas. He developed his lifelong love of Manhattan mostly through 20th-century melodrama films and trips up to New York with Mama Jean and Earl. Like many writers, Jamie went into the commerce of books rather than the practice. He was a highly successful publicity executive at the top book publishers. He also was lucky in love, having met his boyfriend within six weeks of his arrival. However, he systematically destroyed his life because he could not control his drinking, or what he did during alcoholic blackouts.This is a deeply moving read. I was in tears over some passages, only to start giggling over Jamie Brickhouse’s brilliant humor. DANGEROUS WHEN WET is a memoir of recovery, but, man, it don’t come easy. I believe this will appeal to people in recovery, to gay men, and, frankly, everyone because we each need to deal with our relationships with our parents before we can truly say we have grown up.I for one cannot wait until Mr. Brickhouse writes a novel. Until then, I shall be preaching the gospel according to Jamie, and Mama Jean, for quite some time.


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