Drink Up and Be a Man
Born in Southern Ireland to single mother in 1942, John Mahon went on to become a steward on some of the largest post-war liners. But as the title hints, life was not a bed of roses. Frequently kept from school and of slight stature, John was orphaned at the age of 11. His foster mother can only be described as a devil; although the very rough life he learnt to live stood him in good stead when he had to earn a living. Initially achieving success as a steward, his alcoholic downfall came from the phrase of the title. Becoming a full alcoholic, John hit rock bottom, and managed to save himself eventually. This is a modern Rake’s Progress, albeit with a happy ending and tells of a now vanished era of sea travel and the troubles and temptations facing a young man. The language is unashamedly lower-deck and may shock some, but is necessary for telling John’s story. A book for the bunk side or for rainy days in harbour, it runs the whole gamut of humanity, from the best of mankind to the wicked step-mother and the brothels of Asia. A well-paced and entertaining read.