Peter Benchley, Author Random House $18.95 (257p) ISBN 978-0-394-57667-1
Initially, this new novel by the author of Jaws seems to be the kind of book that nobody writes anymore: an earnest look at the social ill of alcoholism from the perspective of an upper-middle-class suburban WASP. Scott Preston can't make it through his morning commute from New Jersey without stopping in Penn Station for a couple of belts of vodka. Of course, he thinks he has it under control and, of course, he's surprised when his wife, daughter and boss waylay him in his office for an ``intervention'' in which they tell him how much damage his drinking has done and force him to seek help. ``Welcome to the rest of your life,'' he's told before entering a posh New Mexico rehab clinic. For half its length, Rummies hits every expected mark, taking Scott through an AA-ish recovery program;then Benchley the thriller-writer takes over, as two of the ``rummies'' plot to expose the clinic's hypocritical, coke-snorting director. Not surprisingly, the novel sends mixed messages about substance abuse therapies, and is often as predictable as a TV movie. But Benchley spikes the familiarity with unexpectedly funny and heartfelt prose; his plot may be muddled, but his writing is vigorous and observant. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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