Reading Matters

Patrick Kennedy: ‘A Common Struggle’

If you’ve been reading this blog any length of time, you know I’m a sucker for any book about the Kennedys, including the recent and revealing “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy.”

Now, here’s “Patrick J. Kennedy: A Common Struggle, A Personal Journey through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” with Stephen Fried. (Blue Rider Press, $28.95).

The son of Joan Kennedy and the late Ted Kennedy and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island, Patrick Kennedy has become the nation’s leading advocate for mental health and substance abuse care, research and policy.

But you know before you even open the book, there will be passages to break your heart. Here’s one, in Patrick Kennedy’s own words:

“Two months after my first anniversary in recovery, I turned forty. There was a big family party for me at the Cape on a mid-July weekend. Both of my parents were there, and they both had had a few drinks. My mom never drank in public, but it was obvious when she arrived that way; my dad had substantially moderated his drinking after marrying Vicki, but still loved indulging at a summer party. It was hard seeing them both this way. It made me want to join them.”

P.S. Kennedy is five years clean and sober.