Author: N.R. Walker
Publication Date: May 23, 2019
Length: 300 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Erik Keston, son of the Keston Real Estate empire, knows what it takes to be successful. Despite his inherent wealth, he holds his own. He works hard, he’s grounded, he’s brilliant. He’s also secretly in love with his best friend.
Monroe Wellman lost his parents three years ago and never grieved, never recovered. Inheriting the family company and wealth means nothing, and his spiral of self-destruction is widespread and spectacular. Dubbed Sydney’s bad boy, he spends more days drunk than sober, and the only person who’s stuck by him through it all is his best mate.
But when Monroe hits rock bottom, Erik gives him an ultimatum, and his entire world comes to a grinding halt. It’s not until the haze lifts that Monroe can truly see what he’s been searching for was never in the bottom of a bottle. It’s been by his side all along.
An 80,000-word friends-to-lovers story about fighting the demons within and trusting in the love that takes its place.
“Because when all you drink is hate, that’s all there is inside you.”
The Hate You Drink is an incredibly emotional journey from a life of addiction and self-hate to sobriety and love—for self, for others and for the past that left behind such open wounds and copious amounts of grief and pain. When Monroe loses his parents in a plane crash, he is both unable and unready to assume the mantle of CEO to a multi-million dollar corporation and buries his guilt and despair in alcohol. By his side is his best friend, Erik. Erik, himself, comes from great wealth and while that levels the playing field for both men there is a vast difference in how they use that wealth and privilege. For Erik, his family is an unwavering support and source of love and safety.
For Monroe, his deceased parents are the wellspring from which his self-loathing and pain come. Without giving too much of the story away, suffice it to say that Monroe’s parents were not happy that he was gay and their relationship paled in comparison to Erik’s and his parents. But after their death, the loss and guilt Monroe felt weighed him down and led him to the bottle where he found some measure of relief and a false sense of control. Manipulating Erik, who was in love with his best friend, was something Monroe did with ease and little sense of remorse. So for three years Erik became babysitter, cohort in crime, and fixer for Monroe—always there to help him when he fell regardless of the toll it took on his heart and life. Monroe never understood that Erik loved him—yet he also knew that the thought of a future without Erik in it left him terrified. It takes Erik delivering an ultimatum—their friendship or the bottle--for Monroe to finally accept he needs help.
There is where we find the bulk of this story focusing—on Monroe’s recovery and Erik’s as well. You see both are addicted—Monroe to booze and Erik to Monroe and keeping him safe. It takes intensive therapy and time apart for both men to come to terms with how to cope with their addictions and to decide if they can continue to be a part of each other’s lives. In a scorchingly honest and gritty journal-like story with alternating points of view, we watch and learn as Erik and Monroe go through the next phase in their relationship and fight to keep each other in their lives. For Monroe it means acknowledging things that will tear him apart emotionally and make him realize just how destructive his drinking has been to himself and those he loves. For Erik it means placing some boundaries on how he views Monroe and the all-consuming need to keep him happy at cost to his own well-being.
This is a tumultuous and draining novel but absolutely brilliantly written. The way these two men grow and change throughout the entire course of this story is breathtaking to read. The strength and determination on Monroe’s part to fight his addiction and take back control of his life might be painful to watch but it is exhilarating to see him succeed in the end. The love Erik has for Monroe is so pure and deep—it was simply the loveliest component of this novel.
The Hate You Drink by N.R. Walker is a gorgeous story of redemption from pain, victory over addiction and love that survives the hardest of challenges. I highly recommend this novel to you.
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