Cover image for Hangover soup : a novel
Hangover soup : a novel
Redd, Louise.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1999]

Physical Description:
259 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Faith met Jay in college, "where it's hard to tell who's a true alcoholic and who's not". Five years later they're living in Austin, where Faith tutors and Jay works as a sweet talkin' DJ at the local radio station, and where the gin and tonics finally drive them apart. Jay's pledge to stay sober brings Faith back, but their reunion brings consequences far beyond their own troubled marriage.
-- Reading group guide printed inside.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Shortly after summoning the courage to leave her alcoholic husband, Faith Abbot takes a drastic turn for the worse. Her husband, Jay, after a brief stint with sobriety, falls off the wagon and embarks on a drinking binge that results in a fatal car crash. Faced with overwhelming challenges, Faith throws herself into her work as a tutor for college athletes, all the while struggling to rebuild her marriage and restore some sense of normalcy to her life. Redd details the effects of alcoholism on a couple's life, and her keen observances add new dimension to an oft-visited subject. Yet Redd ensures that Faith's slim prospects for happiness never overwhelm the novel, which is considerably buoyed by Faith's sharply comic narrative voice as well as a coterie of richly drawn supporting characters. Faith's relationships with her so-called athlete "thugs," her tomato-obsessed mother, and her best friend all ring true and considerably lighten the otherwise dark proceedings. Readers will be pulled into Redd's finely constructed story, which deftly alternates between humor and heartbreak. --Brendan Dowling

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I met my husband in college, where it's hard to tell who's a true alcoholic and who's not," explains Faith Evers, the deliciously astute narrator of Redd's second novel, which describes life with Jay Evers, a popular jazz DJ, a gorgeous man and an unrepentant drunk. In between her duties as head tutor for the "student-athletes" at the University of Texas-Austin (she calls them, affectionately, her "hired thugs"), Faith begs and nags Jay to quit drinking. After too many evenings "when Jay's face began to lose its structure, when forming a sentence and a smile required incredible effort and a long period of rest afterward," Faith very reluctantly leaves him. Jay then launches a "High on Wife" alcohol-free marathon at his radio station, trying hard to win her back by serenading and cajoling her over the air waves. His sobriety marathon is upbeat and jubilant until he discovers that Faith has slept with a grad student. Distraught, he embarks on a drinking binge that leads to vehicular homicide and a jail sentence. Friends and family want Faith to get a divorce. "Honey, that's what we call a starter marriage," says her aunt in New York. But Faith finds she can't stop loving Jay, in spite of his egregious faults. Then a chance meeting in a cemetery brings Faith into a tricky, unstable friendship with the husband of Jay's victim. Redd (Playing the Bones) intersperses comic relief when Faith works on grammar with her Texas sports stars, meanwhile guiding her story toward a horrifying climax and then to a sad but hopeful denouement. Expert pacing, pitch-perfect dialogue, fully dimensional minor characters and Redd's ability to depict the wondrous and the terrifying in everyday life create an immensely appealing narrative. Like the novel she inhabits, Faith Evers is wise, funny and utterly memorable. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Given all the emotional hardship Faith Evers endures, Hangover Soup could easily have been a dreary, whining novel. Thankfully, it isn't. The beauty of Redd's second novel (following Playing the Bones) is that it is tightly plotted and briskly paced, funny at times, raunchy at others. Set in Austin, TX, it traces the story of Faith's determined efforts to sober up her husband, Jay, a pot-smoking, beer-guzzling, poetry-quoting, smooth-talking DJ. Jay's on-air marathon toward sobriety starts off well but then takes a drastic turn when he finds out about Faith's brief night of unfaithfulness. Throughout, the novel is sprinkled with advice from Faith's mother, a tomato-growing guru, and enlivened with scenes of Faith's efforts to cram good grammar and basic science into the heads of the university athletes she tutors. Compelling, searching, realistic, and hopeful, this is a novel for all public libraries.ÄYvette Weller Olson, City Univ. Lib., Renton, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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