The End: A Story of Truth
by Adam Rudolph
Wrecking Balls Publishing

"'Are you okay?'
Like a form letter being automatically sent upon receipt of an unsolicited email, I spouted off my standard response:
'Yeah, I'm just really tired.'"

The protagonist tells this tell-all memoir to his friend Adam in the confines of a hospital room after he has just survived a suicide attempt. The attempt was through an overdose of sleeping pills, downed with an enormous amount of alcohol. As each harrowing chapter of the story unfolds, we learn of his growing up in a family with a hot-tempered and verbally abusive father, a man who eventually is imprisoned for sexually abusing the protagonist's younger sister.

The young man battles a lifetime of debilitating clinical depression, which is exacerbated by his turning to alcohol as a means of escape, failure after failure when it comes to relationships with girls, and an always-present lack of self-confidence. Ultimately, these result in multiple attempts at taking his own life. In the end, after an entire 255-page reckoning with his situation, he shares with Adam a rather impressive range of philosophical issues concerning what it means to be depressed, to be a "man" in our society, and more. Ultimately, the protagonist ends up choosing life rather than death, despite all he has been through.

Rudolph has provided a candid account of his life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—beginning from his childhood and up to his days as a college student, recovering from his latest suicide attempt. Though some readers may be disturbed by the constant trauma that leads him to try and take his life so many times, this is a subject that deserves serious consideration, especially as so many individuals are affected. The author's sobering account is a tough but important read on mental illness, depression, abuse, addiction, and so much more.

A 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Award Montaigne Medal finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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