Bethany and Erryn review ‘The Hate You Drink’ by N.R. Walker. The book was self-published on May 21, 2019 and is 295 pages.
NOTE: This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why Bethany read: N.R Walker is an auto-buy for me so this was a no brainer.
Why Erryn read: I loved Galaxies and Oceans and wanted to see if this book is as powerful as the synopsis hints at.
Erik Keston, son of the Keston Real Estate empire, knows what it takes to be successful. Despite his inherent wealth, he holds his own. He works hard, he’s grounded, he’s brilliant. He’s also secretly in love with his best friend.
Monroe Wellman lost his parents three years ago and never grieved, never recovered. Inheriting the family company and wealth means nothing, and his spiral of self-destruction is widespread and spectacular. Dubbed Sydney’s bad boy, he spends more days drunk than sober, and the only person who’s stuck by him through it all is his best mate.
But when Monroe hits rock bottom, Erik gives him an ultimatum, and his entire world comes to a grinding halt. It’s not until the haze lifts that Monroe can truly see what he’s been searching for was never in the bottom of a bottle. It’s been by his side all along.
* * *
An 80,000-word friends-to-lovers story about fighting the demons within and trusting in the love that takes its place.
“Because when all you drink is hate, that’s all there is inside you.”
Wow. I really don’t know how to react to this one. I haven’t read a book by this author I didn’t love. Some are fluffy fun reads that don’t cause me really any heartache. Some are action packed that have me on the edge of my seat. Some have a bit of heavy angst leaving me biting my nails for the HEA. But this one? Well it damn near destroyed me.
I like wine. I like beer – hubby makes it. I like a good margarita with my fajitas at my favorite Mexican restaurant. But I don’t NEED it like Monroe did. I have been lucky in the fact I don’t have anyone that is an alcoholic in my life. Yet I do know that it IS a disease. I can not fathom being an alcoholic, or loving one like Erik does.
It broke my heart to see Monroe go through the horrible situation life put him in, just as it gutted me to see Erik try to “fix” Monroe. But I think what hurt the most was Erik accepting he was as addicted to Monroe as Monroe was to the drink. I cried for a good chunk of this book, not knowing when these two would conquer the demons that followed them both.
But like every book by N.R. Walker I have read they did find their way, but what a painful journey it was to take with them. N.R. has taken a very serious subject and shed some light one it. You can tell she has done thorough research on this subject to make sure she did her characters justice. Once again a book that will follow me for a long time, and one I know I will reread and hopefully listen to if it comes to audio.
Thank you N.R. Walker for another brilliant read.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Every reader has a different reaction to each book. That experience is what brings readers back again and again. I have enjoyed every N.R. Walker book I’ve read. Each has given me a unique experience and provided me with a different perspective on life. Not since Galaxies and Oceans have I had such a visceral reaction to a book. Hell, The Hate You Drink might have been one of the hardest books I’ve ever read. I cried through most of it. I’m crying now remembering. But every reader reacts differently. My fellow reviewer Bethany had a different perspective. So a book that moved me to tears won’t do so for every other reader. Still, having tissues nearby won’t hurt.
Why did I react so profoundly to the book? A couple of reasons. First, given my family history, I’ve opted to never drink. The thought of losing control terrifies me. The thought of hurting people like I’ve been hurt makes me sick. Although I had empathy for Monroe, it was Erik I most related to. I understood when a character said to Erik: “You’re as addicted to him as he is to alcohol. You need to be you again. Be Erik without Monroe. Because right now, Erik Keaton is lost.” I could relate to being enmeshed in a destructive downward spiral. When your partner selfishly chooses alcohol, you wonder how long you’ll be able to continue on. You understand alcoholism in a disease. If your partner developed cancer, you wouldn’t consider leaving, right? But watching someone self-destruct day after day is brutal. Watching them living in denial is soul-draining. I suppose I got lucky – my partner chose alcohol over me and eventually left me.
This is a romance with a happy ending, but man, did Erik and Monroe struggle to get there. But there was hope. There is the following exchange between the men. Monroe says:
“I’m a mess, and I have no idea what I’m doing, and I don’t really even know what love is.”
I pulled back and cupped his face and waited for him to look at me. “I’ll show you. I’ll show you what it means to love, and I’ll show you how much you deserve to be loved.”
“I have more baggage than a Louis Vuitton catalogue.”
Erik’s love is always so clear. And there is a reason for Monroe’s alcoholism that is truly devastating. His parents were killed in a plane crash and he carries a lot of guilt – deserved or not – over their deaths. A character says to Monroe: “Reconciling with deceased love ones is never easy. The only way for you to get closure is from acceptance in here” – he put his hand to his chest – “and letting go of what we can’t change.”
Unfortunately, I could relate to this. I had an argument with my best friend and let the silence ride for a while, believing she would calm down. She was right to be angry with me – I had behaved selfishly – but we had all the time in the world to reconcile, right?
She was diagnosed with cancer and died 35 days later. We never spoke again. I know she forgave me. I know she’d be mad at me for still feeling guilty even 15 years later. So, yeah, I related to Monroe and his unresolved feelings of guilt. When he was asked “why do you think you don’t deserve love?”, I understood. Completely.
But this is a book about redemption and hope. And the unstinting belief that recovery is possible. As Erik said about Monroe, “for the last three years it felt like we’d walked on eggshells, waiting for the eruption of grief. But Monroe never exploded with rage and anger. He imploded instead.” That implosion was spectacular, but the aftermath provides Erik the opportunity to prove his fidelity and loyalty to Monroe.
To prove his love.
“Hate. I drank so much hate that I became it.”
The admission is hard for Monroe to make. Once he can see it, though, he can finally move forward. He can accept love from those around him. He can offer contrition and ask for forgiveness. He can receive absolution.
As I said, everyone has a different reaction to a book. Many readers won’t experience the visceral pain. Many won’t have painful memories they have to work through. Many will simply enjoy the book because it is brilliant, honest, and raw in its accurate portrayal of alcoholism, the alcoholic, and those who love him. Needless to say, this is a book I think everyone should read.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…