The (mis)adventures of an alcoholic drug addict

Fiction - Literary
290 Pages
Reviewed on 01/29/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Inspired by true events, Clean by Michael Rebellino tells the story of Cameron, a young man who struggles to let go of the influence of drugs and alcohol in his life. Written in a unique style with poetic verse, letters, and conversations making up most of the narrative, the book is divided into seven parts and an epilogue, each focusing on a different stage in the life of Cameron as he deals with his addiction. Cameron relates his foray into the world of drugs and alcohol as a teenager. Molested as a child, he struggled with anxiety and depression from an early age, using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism to escape from reality. After he loses his friends and the love of his life, he wonders if there's hope for him yet.

Author Michael Rebellino tells a moving tale of a young man doing everything he can to get himself out of the deadly addiction to drugs and alcohol. The narrative feels authentic and uniquely presented, with poetic verse and personal letters covering a significant portion of the story. Rebellino perfectly captures the headspace of an addict, showcasing how addiction affects not only the victims but also their friends and family. One of the closest friends of the protagonist overdoses, sending him to the brink of relapse. It's a tragedy, but unfortunately, incidents like that become somewhat normalized whenever drugs or alcohol are involved. I have enormous respect for people who somehow manage to get out of their addictions and live full lives. I highly recommend Clean to anyone who enjoys literary fiction.

Clarissa Pattern

I would highly recommend Clean The (mis)adventures of an alcoholic drug addict by Michael Rebellino to anyone who wants a literary book examining what it means to be a flawed human trying to take control of their life. From the Forward (in four words): ‘people are just people’, I knew that Clean was exactly my sort of book. Rather than creating a conventional narrative, Michael Rebellino explores what it actually feels like to experience the disease of addiction. Things aren’t neat and tidy, stories overlap and are repeated in different forms. Familiar passages from the Bible, nursery rhymes, and the 12 steps are referenced and entwined into the thoughts of Cameron, a twenty something fighting to stay sober.
The novel is composed of short poems, interspersed with letters, and conversations. Despite the darkness of the themes it is surprisingly easy to read and get immersed in Cameron’s life. The everyday struggles are very well presented; whether to tell a new girlfriend about recent relapses, making the decision to change a phone number after coming out of rehab, finding the strength to call out for help from a sponsor rather than buy alcohol. Cameron is firmly the centre of the story, but the strain on family members and how essential their support is, is also clearly depicted. This is a raw and powerful story but it is also a story of hope, reaching out to everyone who suffers from addiction in the many forms it can take with the positive message that you are worthy.