Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Alcoholic” as Want to Read:
The Alcoholic
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Alcoholic

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,311 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
Acclaimed novelist Jonathan Ames writes his first comics work with the original graphic novel THE ALCOHOLIC, illustrated by THE QUITTER artist Dean Haspiel.

This touching, compassionate, ultimately humorous story explores the heart of a failing writer who's coming off a doomed romance and searching for hope. Unfortunately, the first place his search takes him is the bottom
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Vertigo (first published September 9th 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Alcoholic, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Alcoholic

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBreaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerThe Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Best Books of 2008
336th out of 1,530 books — 6,856 voters
Maus I by Art SpiegelmanPersepolis by Marjane SatrapiFun Home by Alison BechdelStitches by David SmallBlankets by Craig Thompson
best memoir graphic novels
57th out of 189 books — 266 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Anthony Chavez
This was an easy read, great story by Jonathan Ames, really touching, and very awesome art by Dean Haspiel.

A true to life almost memoir by Ames, my first read of his. I have been a long time supporter of his show Bored to Death, he always entertains me in his noir sort of way. He does, in his own way, remind me of Woody Allen. He writes humor but there is a great tragic aspect to his characters and the way Ames writes that character is sublime and unique, it truly makes him an artist.

The story i
Sep 28, 2009 Imogen rated it really liked it
I love that when you type 'alcoholic' in the search box, two Bukowsi books that don't have the word 'alcoholic' in their titles come up before anything else.

Anyway, I like Jonathan Ames. You like Jonathan Ames, right? We all like Jonathan Ames. Just like all of us, he grew up in New Jersey and then moved to New York. (well, maybe not all of us. Most of us though.) I haven't read all his books and, honestly, the most interesting thing to me (well duh) is how trans women continuously pop up in hi
Oct 13, 2008 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Though this graphic novel is billed as a fictionalized account of Jonathan Ames struggles with alcohol, I'm gonna go ahead and label it a memoir. Ames story rings true on ever page and Haspiel's art works really well in this sad and painful book. Besides alcoholism, this book also has interesting subplots concerning homosexuality, virility, and death. Of course, there are some great moments of Ames humor as well. And although readers familiar with Ames will recognize parts of his life that he ha ...more
Feb 12, 2009 Christina rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Christina by: Jim's former co-workers
I didn't have any expectations about this book, and I still hated it.

"The Alcoholic," which is actually written by Jonathan Ames and drawn by Dean Haspiel (stupid Web site people), is about Jonathan A., a young man who starts drinking at the age of 15, really enjoys drinking, and becomes (guess what?) an acoholic. The book is about his troubles with alcohol and his visit to rehab and his relapse into alcoholism.

I'm sure I'm probably supposed to think that parts of the book are really funny. And
Feb 23, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This graphic novel focused on Jonathan A. (the main character) and his alcoholism, and how his battle with it affected everything in his life. There were so many wonderful, poignant, tragic and even funny details... I loved his devotion to his best friend, even when said friend ditched him for no apparent reason. I loved it when he referred to his ex-girlfriend by the city she happened to be living in at the time and came to refer to himself as "her bitch" because he couldn't let her go. I loved ...more
Apr 01, 2011 Malbadeen rated it really liked it
He drinks. He stops drinking. He drinks again. He stops drinking again. He does drugs. He stops doing drugs. He does drugs again...

and so on and so on and dubby dubby do.

but woven in with all that, there are complicated relationships, loss, and confusion that would exsist even if he were always sober.

sometimes sad but not crushing.
sometimes hopeful but not cheesy.
and sometimes funny.

Nov 07, 2008 Tosh rated it really liked it
Jonathan Ames, at the moment, is someone who entertain me greatly. In many ways he reminds me of Woody Allen. The character in his fiction is very much the same. Totally self-obsessed and funny. But there is a tragic aspect to this character and the way Ames writes that character and make it funny is what makes him an artist or even... an entertainer.

i pick up his books expecting to be entertained or at the very least to be part of his world. What we have here is Ames world in a comic book forma
Jason Coleman
This might be the most pitiful public-humiliation spectacle since Coetzee's Summertime. "J. Ames" is not only a hopeless alcoholic and doper; he is sexually confused, prematurely bald, orphaned, even incontinent. The hell-on-earth of addiction is vividly evoked, and Ames achieves a nice mix of humor and awful honesty. The graphic-novel format (the unfussy art is by Dean Haspiel) suits the material; it's the perfect shorthand for this odyssey. But because the story is not strict memoir, one wonde ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
If you have read My Less Than Secret Life, you know that Ames is willing to take the confessional mode to excruciating, almost absurd extremes. The question is always there, just how much of this can be true? In this graphic novel, he offers himself up as the embodiment of the alcoholic author. Jonathan A. drinks just like the authors he most admires, but from his first drunks in high school and on into his 30's, he knows that his drinking is abusive and compulsive. Although the story opens with ...more
Leslie Jamison
Nov 09, 2009 Leslie Jamison rated it really liked it
How to describe the experience of reading this book? It was like cringing for several hours straight, trapped in a bar booth with a man twice my age who might want to sleep with me but is probably too drunk to pull it off, all the while he's using words like "mid-list" and "self-care." It was like that. Intense like that. But also heartbreaking, and expert at summoning its own inky little claustrophobic world.
Irene Mcintyre
This was sad but definitely as an alcoholic myself -- many years away from my last drink -- I can relate to this kind of life and can tell this is someone's true story. Kind of funny at points and as I said very sad. Unfortunately realistic too as many of us have a similar sort of depressing past. Reading this made me think over and over "thank God I don't drink anymore."
Jen (The Bookavid)
Originally Published On My Review Blog

In "The Alcoholic" by Jonathan Ames and illustrated by Dean Haspiel, we learn about Jonathan and how drugs had an influence on his life in retrospect. I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that this is a biographical work even if it states on the back (probably sarcastically) that it's not.

Starting with how Jonathan first got into contact with alcohol at the age of fifteen, we find out what it's like to be physically dependent on something. The odd thi
Jan 10, 2009 Jeremy rated it liked it
Jonathan Ames writes this graphic novel about his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. The illustrations are simple and clean. I can sum it up pretty quickly, Ames started drinking while he was young, and quickly became a self-absorbed alcoholic which messed up everything in his life.

It doesn’t really get much more interesting than that, he continuously finds something small in his life like a girl he likes, then messes up this new relationship by focusing on himself and his insecurities. T
Apr 15, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels

This would easily have gotten a five-star rating from me, with the really well done artwork, a very engaging storyline, a deep emotionally driven character and subject... but this is another of those 'books without an ending'.

I don't mind open-ended books, mind you- but books that just trickle off into nothingness... that drives me a little crazy.

So if that doesn't bother YOU, then you might like this book even MORE than I did! ...and I liked it a lot.

It focuses on a man who is, as the title say
Ratan Sebastian
Jun 03, 2011 Ratan Sebastian rated it liked it
Having known of Jonathan Ames mainly from the TV show, Bored to Death or the movie adaptation of his book "The Extra Man", I must declare at the outset that this novel is not what I was expecting. A lot of my expectations had to do with pace. Bored to Death episodes are 22 minutes of tragi-comedy that never lets up. The characters, the plot and the setting all conspire to make sure that there's never a moment of boredom. While the vignettes and anecdotes here are equally amusing and reveal more ...more
Jun 15, 2013 Daryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I picked this up cheap, 'cause I'd heard about it, it looked interesting, and it was a Vertigo book, always a good sign. Ames' story, presented as fiction, but reading like a memoir, hooked me from the very beginning. It showed his beginnings of drinking as a teenager, and how that's affected his life ever since, even though he becomes a successful author. The first half of this book blew me away, with its depiction of graphic sex (the main character's sexual awakening is painful and poignant) a ...more
Jun 23, 2012 M0rningstar rated it did not like it
Shelves: sequential-art
Good production values, but ultimately disappointing. Several relevant and meaty themes are touched upon in this book. Unfortunately, they are filtered by a protagonist who views the world through a drinking straw trained at his own navel (and crotch, more often than not.) The reader is left wondering why they should give a crap about someone so relentlessly pathetic, unthinking, and self-absorbed as to be repulsive.

Overall pacing is adequate enough to keep the pages turning, despite the repetit
Joey Alison Sayers
Jan 18, 2015 Joey Alison Sayers rated it it was ok
I like a lot of Jonathan Ames' writing - though his near-ubiquitous representations of trans women usually make me feel pretty uncomfortable. Overall, this book was not my favorite. A little too getting-off-on-how-pathetic-you-find-me.

Plus one star for Ames' intentionally hilarious author photo. Minus one star for Dean Haspiel's horrible cocky bro photo.
Aug 14, 2012 Bandit rated it really liked it
This was a really excellent graphic novel. I love Vertigo line and the book they put out and while the art in this book was just serviceable, the story itself was really good and engaging. Jonathan Ames wrote an incredibly honest memoir about his struggle with love, loss and addictions, particularly the titular one. If this was a fictional story, it would also work just based on the characters and strength of writing alone.I'm only familiar with the author from the very entertaining, albeit shor ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Marianna rated it really liked it
A tough subject to read about. Jonathan's actions and mental state were fascinating. I love introspective writing; reading about how people cope with life, disappointments, and tragedies.

Jonathan: overwhelmed by inadequacy, a drive for perfectionism, appearing "normal", inability to connect deeply with others. He obsesses, but never accepts and lets go. A self described OCD like pattern. Obsessing. Trapped in a destructive cycle of self abuse. Does he know how to break it? Does he want to? Wanti
May 31, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
Painful but real.
Dragan Nanic
Nov 18, 2014 Dragan Nanic rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Green
Apr 06, 2014 Emily Green rated it liked it
Jonathan Ames’s The Alcoholic tells the tale of a self-destructive addict who finds himself helpless to drugs and alcohol, but also to the fear of abandonment. He traces Jonathan A.’s story back to his childhood, one in which expectations for him were overwhelming at best, and to the lost relationship of his best friend, Sal. Ames reveals the requisite embarrassing and astonishing past of the addict without revealing or moving forward to recovery. The story suggests the ability to survive and ev ...more
Sep 18, 2014 James rated it liked it
Decent graphic memoir/novel about an alcoholic writer named Jonathan A. How Jonathan A. correlates to Jonathan Ames is unclear. Jonathan A. writes detective fiction; Jonathan Ames does not, although in the oughts, apparently, he was the showrunner of an HBO series called Bored to Death about a writer/shamus named Jonathan Ames. All of that is annoyingly meta in a way that is less than daisy-fresh, but the book, whatever it is, is pretty good. One of the reviewers here was very impatient with the ...more
Feb 19, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I don't know anything about John Ames but I really enjoyed this as a graphic novel. It's a fast read, really honest and vulnerable about his experiences with alcoholism and drug abuse. Tales of sexual confusion and mishaps make him particularly vulnerable. The reviews said it was really funny but I did not find it funny, I found it sad and honest. Definitely entertaining too.
Apr 14, 2016 John rated it it was amazing
" The Alcoholic" is the definition of true reality. More realistic than anything you will find on cable these days. After spending the last 19 years tending bar I am able to relate to the message at hand. This story reminds me of my first couple years into the bar business. I was joking around with one of my co-workers about a regular and the bartender quickly corrected me. " Joe, he watched his father kill himself at an early age. " Try functioning with that memory in your head! It was then and ...more
Mar 13, 2010 Lee rated it liked it
All the classic Ames themes, plus Monica Lewinsky eating a sausage at Velselka. More sad and confessional than funny. I have one of those fringe diagram printouts somewhere . . .
Alexander Briggs
Feb 24, 2014 Alexander Briggs rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
It's been a long time since I read a graphic novel. I unsure how I felt about this one. It depicts a truthful image of The Alcoholic. I was carried along with the story and found my way to the end. At no point did I find a deep understanding or connecting with any message within the writing. I left agreeing that it was a cookie cuter alcoholic.

I had picked it up to understand more about Jonathan Ames. I may need to pick up Wake Up, Sir, to learn more.

The lesson learned is why we write for nove
dontfeed thetiki
Apr 13, 2009 dontfeed thetiki rated it liked it
I don't think I feel bad for this guy.
Jan 05, 2010 Abraham rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
From the first page, this book reminded me of Harvey Pekar's stuff. And it's not just because, as I found out later, Dean Haspiel -- who partnered with Pekar for The Quitter -- did the art. It's that kind of candid, modern, messy biography that Pekar has become known for. American Splendor is, of course, his most famous example, but I have also read and enjoyed Bebopman! and Ego & Hubris.

But they aren't exactly twins. This book is only semi-autobiographical,and I found it to be rather more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Quitter
  • American Widow
  • The Best American Comics 2010
  • Freddie and Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody
  • Sloth
  • Mister Wonderful: A Love Story
  • Cuba: My Revolution
  • The Best American Comics 2008
  • Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!
  • Paul Has a Summer Job
  • Too Cool to Be Forgotten
  • A Mess of Everything
  • Jamilti and Other Stories
  • My Brain is Hanging Upside Down
  • The Salon
  • A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
  • Essex County Vol. 2: Ghost Stories (Essex County, #2)
  • The Acme Novelty Library #20
Jonathan Ames is the author of the books The Double Life is Twice As Good, I Pass Like Night, The Extra Man, What's Not to Love?, My Less Than Secret Life, Wake Up, Sir!, I Love You More Than You Know, and The Alcoholic (a graphic novel illustrated by Dean Haspiel). He is the editor of Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs.

He is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a f
More about Jonathan Ames...

Share This Book

“I hid my underwear beneath a parked Peugeot.” 3 likes
More quotes…