Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | June 15, 2011


Charlie & Me is the true story of Catherine Barry’s battle with alcoholism and her sponsor Charlie.  The story charts the relationship between Catherine and Charlie, where a shared addiction has to compete with a shared sense of humour. As their friendship solidifies, we are treated to many uproarious moments along the way. Charlie often tells Catherine things she does not want to hear but she takes on board what he says.  It is also Charlie who encourages Catherine to send her poems and short stories to magazines and publishers.

A story of addiction may sound a little too downbeat for some, and there are certainly dark moments throughout, but this story is essentially an optimistic and uplifting one, always real and believable but never sentimental. In one scene Catherine’s house gets flooded and she is at her wit’s end thinking of how to get the money to replace the furniture and carpets.  Charlie keeps trying to reassure her that everything will be OK but she is up to ninety. When all seems impossible, she opens the front door in a foul mood one day only to be met by the crew of a certain film, who want to use her house for said film; the money offered enables her to fix up the place up.  There are times when they are chatting in coffee shops that I feel Im eavesdropping at a nearby table and can reach out and touch them both. Charlie’s wrecked old van becomes a loveable character in itself, as does his flamboyant sense of dress.

We are taken through Catherine’s love affair with another addict, a love  that eventually implodes, leaving her desolate and scared.  However, the most heartening part of the book is when Charlie, her sponsor, her rock, himself gets sick and Catherine’s journey through helping him and trying not to fall apart herself.  It is the story of a deep, platonic friendship between two people, who would never have met and befriended each other but for their mutual addictions. Their unconditional love for each other gives one another strength and laughter whilst also providing a very entertaining story of addiction, hope, laughter and resolution.

I was completely blown away by Charlie & Me. I  literally could not put it down.



  1. Great review Susan! Makes me want to read the book, might get it for the bus to Galway next week. Ta for recommending.

    • Yes June, its a big story in a little book.. You would read it in a few sittings. I think you would love it, the two characters are just so amazing. I was crying reading the last few pages.

  2. thanks. Love it Susan. x

  3. Great review Susan – you captured the essence of the book beautifully. : )

    • Thank you guys, my first book review, but now I have to do Evelyn Walshes, starting to read it tonight. She gave it to me months ago so I have been a little remiss. Cant even afford my cheap lunches anymore so its book reviews now!!.

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