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Mother's Ruin

Nicola Barry

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Biography, Biography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

This is the remarkable true story of alcohol addiction and its devastating effects on the family.

Nicola Barry grew up in well-to-do Murrayfield, Edinburgh. Her father was a hospital consultant, her mother was medically trained, her brothers boarders at public school. But behind the closed doors of their imposing family home, her mother was drinking herself to death. A beautiful, quirky woman, this is the story of how Monica Barry became a prisoner to alcohol and a prisoner in her own home, her addiction slowly sucking the life out of her. And how - with her father at work, and her brothers away at school - Nicola spent a lot of her childhood as her mother's unofficial carer: hauling her from the bath when she was too drunk to function and running errands to buy her booze.

Full of harrowing incidents, and warmed by a touching, bleak humour, this is the powerful story of how a mother drank herself to death and how alcohol destroyed a family. And of how Nicola battled with her own alcoholism but, determined to throw off her mother's legacy, came through - a survivor.

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Nicola Barry

Nicola Barry is a feature writer and columnist. She has worked at the Edinburgh Evening News for five years and for The Scotsman. As a child, she spent eight years in a wheelchair and on crutches, having some twenty operations on both legs. She learned to walk again, just in time to break her neck and become addicted to alcohol, both of which she overcame. She is a recent graduate of the celebrated MPhil course in Creative Writing at Glasgow University and is currently studying for a PhD in the same field.
She has won 29 press awards, mainly for social issue writing and for her columns and lives with her husband Alastair Murray and dog Coll in Edinburgh.

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