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Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen Miller



Subject Areas

English literature


Drink the Moon depicts a raw, punchy mother-daughter love story that has it all: interesting characters, vivid detail, and action-packed scenes. At the center of it all is a woman who happens to also be a mother. She is painted in a multifaceted, almost Cubist fashion by her daughter: me. These stories of my parents, aunts, and uncles showcase the messy realities of human connection. Each introduction to a family member quilts together layers of a big picture. The story builds through these endearing family portraits: The granny—World Champion Bowler that started them all down the road of addiction; Uncle Dr. Jimmy; Uncle Chuck, Viet Nam Vet; Uncle Brent, the homeless grifter who spends a year in jail; Aunt Ketty, Mimi, and Sissy all have their own types of obsessive behaviors, including family love and forgiveness; And my mother, Sally: the magic heart of this family. As she collects strangers from the airport to spend a night at her house, brings non-family members to family functions, and tends, unconditionally, to the broken and addicted, she anchors us all. She shines as a beacon of unconditional forgiveness, despite of and because of her flaws. The message is strong throughout: the line between obsession and addiction is never clear, but despite addictions, these characters embody strength and vibrancy. In fact, addiction makes them relatable. By the end of the book, the reader can see how all these characters—and by extension all of us, the readers—are interchangeable.