Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep draws on her varied experience and affects the flat, sorrowful tones of two characters of the affluent Northeast: Amy, the young daughter of a couple in the midst of hosting late night revelries, and the household cook. Inhabiting these characters, Streep dramatizes the tragedy of alcoholism with a self-righteous tone that evokes sorrow in the listener for Amy's plight and her eventual heartbreaking decision on what do about her parents. Streep uses her acting and vocal range to add new layers of emotional insight to the polished prose of this master storyteller.
Listen to more classic short stories in The John Cheever Audio Collection.
©1978 John Cheever; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Steinbeck
This short story is outstanding. Meryl Streep as narrator makes it even better.
First, it should be noted that John Cheever could write this from the heart. He was a lifelong alcoholic whose relationships were decimated by alcohol abuse. His story is told from the point of view of Amy, the daughter of 2 society-type alcoholics.
Never have I read anything, or watched anything, that could so distill the negative effects of alcoholism on a family. I did Not say alcohol, which most people can drink in moderation and from time to time. An alcoholic, for whatever reason, cannot.
In Sorrow, the parents steal time and love and care from Amy. Their alcoholism diminishes Amy's respect for them and for herself and, in one way so excellently illustrated in the story, leads to the unexpected demoralization of the family as a unit.
This should probably be required reading for Al-Anon or children of alcoholics suffering psychological problems (though I'm no psych... person).
For a short story of decent length by such a good writer as well as pitch-perfect narration, it's certainly worth a few bucks. I highly recommend it.
These days children seem to segue into adulthood quite seemlessly. The transition was far more remarkable in the mid 20th Century, as this story illustrates.
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