This is a story of a historian turning his craft to the story about which he is most afraid: his own. This is a book about fighting the monsters of addiction, severe anxiety, depression, and crippling self-doubt.
But more than this, it is about a fight against hope. And how the author fought for thirty years against hope. He fought that dreadful proposition that there might be something else out there that offered some kind of reprieve. He fought, and hoped against hope.
This is a story about a crooked family tree, bent and twisted by suicide, alcoholism and abandonment. This is a story about carving out an early career in television, radio, and comedy and then walking away for a girl. This is the story of a decade spent in the hallowed halls of academia by day, and the gutter by night (and the terrifying things found in both places).
This is a story about a string of girlfriends and almost girlfriends, about breaking up and being broken up. The narrator is not the the hero, nor is he the only author. For a couple to agree on anything can be hard enough, but especially so when the things upon which they must agree took place more than twenty years ago. And so throughout the story, when ex-girlfriends and his wife come into play, they have had the opportunity to write unfiltered and unedited footnotes about what they believe actually happened. It is his story, but it is theirs too.
The monsters are real. They are addiction and chemicals and fear and angry ex-girlfriends. But the real monster is one much scarier... and the one the author still can't shake.