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Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  55 reviews
From the opening paragraphs of Double Double:“We were sitting in a coffee shop talking, looking at the view of downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. This was ten years ago, and we had both been off alcohol for more than a decade. We were disagreeing about the best way to stay sober, when my mother said, “I think we should write a book about alcoholism.”

I sat back. ‘We?’

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Scribner
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3.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  267 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Jun 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
Many years ago, I had a love affair with Martha Grimes and her Richard Jury mysteries. I devoured them and couldn't wait to get to the next. It was a happy day for me when a new one came out and I adored the characters in these books and the lives they led. Unfortunately, the novels began to go down hill and ultimately ceased to be mysteries. I'm not sure what the heck they were but they were rambling and dull and I stopped reading them and consequently wrote off Martha Grimes.

Imagine my surpris
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Thought this book would be interesting- I enjoy memoirs & my father is a recovered alcoholic. The son, Ken's passages are a big more compelling than the mother, Martha's. However, this book was not what I expected and put it down in favor of spending time reading something more enjoyable.
Sam Sattler
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, coming-of-age
Having one alcoholic in the family is bad enough, but it seldom stops there. Sadly enough, alcoholism is a never-ending problem for many families, one that can devastate them for generations. In Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism, popular mystery writer Martha Grimes and her son Ken very frankly share their own struggles to get, and remain, sober.

The pair, in alternate chapters and several "conversations," look both backward and forward in their lives, revisiting the times and events du
Dorothy Smock
Jun 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
I love the Richard Jury mysteries although they have definitely gone downhill. I wish she had written another one of those instead of this book. I guess she is a dry drunk and that's why her books have taken on the morose tone they now have. I wish she had taken her son's road to recovery and we could now be enjoying Jury and friends. What a waste of time this book was. I feel sorry for her son--he was right to not want to write this book.
Kristi Lamont
What I term a really good "recovery memoir" will usually make me want to go fix a glass or pour up a pint or shot of whatever our author is imbibing as his or her alcoholic beverage of choice, just from the vivid descriptions of the Scotch or the condensation on a glass or the atmosphere of a smoky bar or evocation of the chill of the wine on first sip. (Even though I don't like Scotch and can't be in a smoke-filled room for longer than about five minutes without nearly falling out. And, FTR, if ...more
Connie N.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I was mildly interested in this book because several of my family members are dealing with, or have dealt with, alcoholism and other addictions. What I found most interesting about this book were the different responses and attitudes expressed by the mother/son writing team. As expected, I found Martha's chapters to be straightforward and in-your-face, but she'd go off on tangents that I didn't really understand, getting too much into the research and less about her feelings. Ken wrote about the ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book as a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

I was very happy to have won this book because the subject of Alcoholism is one near and dear to my heart. My Grandfather is recovering alcoholic, my Uncle is an alcoholic and I, myself, have had a very real struggle with alcohol. It always interests me to see how others cope with their illness and how families can persevere. With that being said, I was very disappointed with this memoir. I knew that I would be getting both points of view but I
Jonathan Garrett
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from a Goodreads first reads giveaway. This book was a really good read. The authors made themselves and there problems seem very human and relatable - no preaching, just real life. I would recommend this book!
Chelsea Mullen
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is an underwhelming combination of bad writing and bad editing that results in an essentially incoherent manuscript.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've read quite a few books on alcoholism at this point and this one is by far the most personal and thoughtful response.
Jitka S.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: martha-grimes

Since Martha Grimes is one of my favorite authors and has blessed my life with good writing and memorable characters, I was surprised initially to see the focus of this memoir. But reading her story and now knowing about her battle with alcohol, I have more insight into her novels and appreciate them even more. Now I understand young Emma's knowledge of making mixed drinks in the Hotel Paradise series and all the drinking that took place with the aunt upstairs and the business partner downstairs
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an interesting take on alcoholism, with dual narrators: a mother and her son. Both are recovering alcoholics, and since they are from two different generations, their addictions contrast sharply. Whereas the mother pictures frosty martinis, the son seeks mostly chemical alteration through pharmaceuticals. Because I am an oldster, I related to the mother's story even though martinis are not my chosen form of poison. She had a gift for language and she is the author of a series of mystery ...more
This book was so approachable. Much of it read like a conversation over tea and biscuits with Martha and Ken Grimes. Growing up in an alcoholic household, so many things in this book rang true for me. While this is a nonfiction, I have no problem saying that I connected with both of the authors. I especially appreciated each talking about how society’s treatment of alcoholics has changed over the decades. While both entered into treatment, each chose different paths. One is an atheist and one is ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Martha Grimes is the author of the Richard Jury and other mysteries. Her son Ken works in the publishing industry. She convinced him that they should write a dual memoir of their respective struggles with alcoholism (and in Ken's case other drug abuse) and how they each moved on. Each chapter is an individual essay by one or the other on some aspect of their experience. I love Martha Grimes' writing, but I especially appreciated Ken's chapters because he is so straight forward and compelling in ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Here's the thing. Had it been only a memoir of alcoholism and not a dual one, it would have been much better. I admit I picked it up because it was a mother and son dual thing, but it didn't make for a coherent book. The focus was all over the place.

I'm mostly in the minority with this opinion. But, for me, Martha's story of her struggle with alcoholism and the difficulties she faced with overcoming it was much more palatable than Ken's. Ken, I'm not sure I connected with. He had the more human
Carole Yeaman
Martha comes across grumpy, cynical, unempathetic & the only one with "all the answers" - someone with a permanent hangover. Although admirably "dry" for 20 years through her own willpower (and a couple of hospitalizations which she doesn't describe at all), she ends the book with definitive renouncement of the substance which was the only way she felt she could connect "not simply with other people but with myself and with the world."

Ken, her beleguered yet uncomplaining son, displays a muc
Martha Bratton
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had no idea of what to expect from this book, but I wanted to read it because I think I've read every Grimes book and I was stunned to hear about her alcoholism. Martha Grimes doesn't mince words, so this is an eloquent confrontation of a spooky problem. The focus is on what works and what doesn't--AA vs. clinics. She and her son come at the issues from different angles, and I now know more than I ever wanted to now about how difficult it is for an alcoholic to stop drinking.

I have had alcoho
Linda Caminiti
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I know there are a zillion books on addiction but this one is different because it's told from two points of view. Two stories unfold...that of the alcoholic mother and that of the addicted son. Each give their once perspective on addiction, how they deal with it and how it has affected their lives. Martha Grimes is a famous murder mystery writer, the author of the Richard Jury series. Her son became addicted to drugs of all kinds in his early teens. He anted to be the cool guy until his friends ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I like the premise of this dual memoir on alcoholism, written by a mother and son. It was interesting to read about some of the same events from their different perspectives--I always like that. Also, he's pro-AA, and she's not. I enjoyed the small debates on that.

Overall, the story didn't really touch me on any emotional level, though. I guess there wasn't that much story there, really. They both drank a lot, and the son also used other drugs. Then they each got clean. It was hard. They've sta
This is a memoir of a mother and and her son: both alcoholics. This seemed like an interesting in theory, but doesn't do well in the execution of it here. I was interested in this book because I have alcoholism in my own family and I thought this might help get into the mind of a mind addled by addiction.

I did find Martha Grimes to be honest about her addiction and the choices she has made, but I found her son's account more relatable. He uses AA for recovery while his mother utilized an outpati
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Very interesting book coauthored by a mother and son about addiction and recovery. Written together after they were decades sober. They have very different ideas about alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. She prefers inpatient treatment while he choose AA meetings. Of course, the best outcome of any treatment is sobriety which they both seem to have found. They do agree on the premise that after treatment there is no social "I can handle it now" drinking. Having experienced this within my own fa ...more
Joyce Yanney
Two views of dealing with alcohol from a mother and her son that have been alcohol free for over 10 years. Martha believes alcoholism has never affected her work or ability to function. Because of alcohol she never noticed her sons struggles in life. Ken tells of his dealings with alcohol and drugs. He goes to AA and believes in powers above for saving him. We get to look into the lives of 2 people and what drove them to their alcoholism and what it has taken to stay sober and clean. A very tell ...more
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Received this book from Net Galley

First of all, it was kind of cool to read a book that referenced a place I used to work. I am, however, afraid that might have been my favorite part of this entire book. I love reading memoirs, especially those dealing with addictions. Double, Double had great potential but I think the dual points of view got a little confusing at time, especially in an advance copy with editing mistakes. It also seemed as if I was reading two different books in the same book. I
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: obp
An eye-opening and unique look at alcoholism. Witty, entertaining, moving, and profound, Martha and Ken give two sides to a dirty coin--She's used rehab clinics to get dry, and he's a lifer with AA. A mother and son pair with equal amounts of writerly talent, I think this book will appeal to a wide range--those interested in alcoholism and addiction, those who love a good [dual] memoir, anyone who likes something a bit different on their bedside table, and fans of Martha Grimes, so famed for her ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Quite an interesting mother and son memoir. One who swears by AA and another who doesn't believe in it at all. I found both stories quite fascinating. Having lived with an alcoholic probably made me appreciate this book more than I would have otherwise, but it was a good read for sure. Alcoholics are a different breed and I think that if you don't have firsthand experience with one (or if you aren't one yourself) you may not get some of this. What seems stupid and ridiculous to most makes perfec ...more
Sharon Reamer
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Martha Grimes is one of my favorite mystery writers and this book was an interesting look at her life and that of her son and how their addictions dovetailed throughout their lives so far. I especially liked the reports she gave about how her battle with her addiction did not seem to affect her writing, at least in any major way - this was a surprise to me.

It was an intense read and very thought-provoking.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Well, growing up in a family of alcoholics I definitely related to this book. Have to say though that I was more engrossed by Kens writing than Marthas sometimes. She really went off into a lot of thoughts and phrases which at times could make you try to "move on" through the paragraghs, lenghthy. Kens were a little more direct, to the point, interesting. There is a lot of good insight in these pages and I will surely pass this on to those who can benefit.
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow: what a mother/son duo. I don't know if it's having been raised in an evangelical tradition or potentially similar temperaments: I really entered into Ken's story, and I did NOT enter into Martha's. Likewise, with my reaction to Martha, I can empathize/understand Ken.

Great writing. Hurt my soul to see the effects. Glad they partnered, and can understand why he was hesitant.
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Good information on understanding addicitons in general and alcoholism in particular. Especially like the idea that it is from two perspectives...mother and son. Different generations, different experiences, different methods. I would recommend to anyone with questions or concerns. Simple, straight forward, interesting read.
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Martha Grimes is an American author of detective fiction.

She was born May 2 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to D.W., a city solicitor, and to June, who owned the Mountain Lake Hotel in Western Maryland where Martha and her brother spent much of their childhood. Grimes earned her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Maryland. She has taught at the University of Iowa, Frostburg State University, and Montg