Written by Debra Cunningham
In a recent search for a book to review, I was lucky enough to wander across Debra Cunningham’s request for reviewers of “Red Dale Ray: A Sober Rebrand.” She sent me a copy (with a personalized note – thank you very much!) just in time to keep me and my pups company by the fire this chilly weekend. @reddaleray “Red Dale Ray, A Sober Rebrand” is a familiar story to those who have ever witnessed a family member or friend with alcoholism and their attempt to live a life without realizing/admitting there is a problem. While a weighty subject, Cunningham’s writing and storytelling incorporates a layer of humor and entertainment that makes a serious issue feel not as heavy.
Ray Bowler spends his days on a bar-stool in the small-town bar he owns and his evenings in the Red Dale trailer setup in the bar’s parking lot. With developers and small craft breweries making their entry in his small-town, separation from his wife and a declining business, Ray is at a crossroads with what’s next in life. These challenges coupled with an obvious alcohol problem, presents daily hurdles for Ray, specifically trying to remember what he said or did the previous day.
Even with his snarky humor and surly personality, I couldn’t help but hope his character gained enough clarity to turn it around. The perspectives and stories of side characters, such as bartender Patty and Meri, were nice extras to keep the reader engaged. While the antics of wild moose, Wally, are not side-splitting funny, they also add a lighthearted touch.