|THE TWO SEPARATE LIVES
OF AN ALCOHOLIC NEWSMAN
Harry Turners gripping memoir tells how the birth of a son
finally ended a drunken, self-destructive existence
and turned his midlife ashes into golden coin.
Beginning in the Great Depression, Dear Frank brings to life an America so alien as to be unrecognizable to todays readers. For five years Turner lived in one small dark room with his mother and alcoholic father. The saving grace of his childhood was the early conviction that he would become a newspaperman, as he eventually did.
Turners memoir captures World War II Los Angeles (anti-aircraft emplacements, barrage balloons overhead), then moves on to Army service in war-rubbled Tokyo. Out of the service, he became a pill user and an increasingly heavy drinker, moving from job to job on newspapers.
Turner married an older woman, a morphine addict, and the two of them lived a drunken, vagabond existence before finally settling in Puerto Rico, where he went to work as a reporter for the San Juan Star. He eventually was named city editor, then managing editor, but spent most of his thirty-two years at the paper as its Washington correspondent, covering the White House, Congress and such stories as the violent activities of Puerto Rican nationalists.
After his wifes harrowing death, he married again, to a younger Puerto Rican woman, and at age forty-nine became a father of a son (the Frank in the books title). After his wife left when Frank was three, making Turner a single father, he knew he had to straighten out his life. It turned out to be easy, for he had found someone to love and knew happiness at last. The final chapters of the book deal with father and sons life together.
Harry Turners writing style is professional, brutally honest, and fair. He has compassion for the losers in life, and accepts his own wretched mistakes. As a newspaperman he knows how to tell a story, and his memoir is absorbing and often funny. But most of all, it is passionate.
Now retired, Harry Turner lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
A Father Remembers...
by Harry Turner
ISBN 978- 1-56474-476-0 ISBN 1-56474-476-0
416 pages, paperback, $18.95
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