cover image Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

Jefferson A. Singer. Free Press, $25 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-684-82720-9

This exploration of addicts by Connecticut psychologist Singer (The Remembered Self) helps shed light on many areas. The author presents his subjects--residents of an addiction facility in Connecticut--as full human beings as they confront certain existential realities. Many of these men, he notes, find ""meaningful sobriety a threatening prospect."" Singer presents 13 case histories: an African American homosexual who grew up in the Hartford, Conn., projects in the 1950s and 1960s; a group of alcoholics who lived together in a sleazy hotel and spent all their hours drinking, playing cards and trying to rip one another off; a talented athlete whose major league career was ended by an injury; a former millionaire salesman who lost a business empire; an unusually passive man of 41 who never had the chance to ""develop any sense of adult identity."" Each story is told with an objectivity and compassion that lends Singer's examination great interest. Foreword by Robert Coles not seen by PW. (Dec.)