Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story

Black Dog & Leventhal. May 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780762468256. $30. MEMOIR
Making it successfully through numerous AA-type treatment and therapy programs after years of drinking, Wertz (Tenements, Towers & Trash) had coupled up with an eager but irresponsible suitor in a seemingly idyllic relationship until he dumped her on her birthday during their vacation. Surviving in an illegal Brooklyn basement apartment far from her California family, she painfully manages the long transition from self-centered binge drinking to a richer life with friends, fellow AA survivors, and a variety of adventures. Her favorite pastime is urban exploring: sneaking into weird, abandoned buildings with an enthusiastic collaborator. She draws her characters simply, herself as a waifish naïf constantly surprised by the twists and turns of her life, while other humans look more realistic. But her backgrounds abound beguilingly in realistic and oddball details, especially her studio and the New York cityscapes that she explores.
VERDICT Wertz’s immersive and sometimes very funny tale hardly fits the “completely average” subtitle, yet nearly everyone can see themselves somewhere in her story, cheer her on, and enjoy the surprise ending.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing