The intimate, gorgeous, garish confessions of Joshua Mohr—writer, father, alcoholic, addict.
Her teeth marks in the wood are some of my favorite things. Every now and again she rips the pick out of my hand and tosses it inside the guitar . . . I hold it over my head, hole down, shaking it back and forth, the pick rattling around in there. And as it ricochets from side to side, I always think about pills. Maybe the pick has turned into oxy. Or Norco, codeine, Demerol. Maybe it’s a pill and when it falls out I can gobble it up.
After years of hard-won sobriety, while rebuilding a life with his wife and young daughter, thirty-five-year-old Joshua Mohr suffers a stroke—his third, it turns out—which uncovers a heart condition requiring surgery. Which requires fentanyl, one of his myriad drugs of choice. This forced “freelapse” should fix his heart, but what will it do to his sobriety? And what if it doesn’t work?
Told in stunning, surreal, time-hopping vignettes, Model Citizen is a raw, revealing portrait of an addict. Mohr shines a harsh spotlight into all corners of his life, throwing the wild joys, tragedies, embarrassments, and adventures of his past into bold relief.
Pulsing with humanity and humor, revealing the immediacy of an addict climbing out of the murky pit of his past, Model Citizen is a darkly beautiful, incisive confession.
“Pockets of San Francisco, here and there, still feel like home, but they hang by a thread. And then comes Joshua Mohr’s heartbreaking memoir Model Citizen to remind us. . . One of the many gifts of Joshua Mohr’s writing is that because it’s so unflinchingly specific, so in search of life, you realize that perhaps, regardless of your own particulars, you might not be alone."
—Anita Felicelli, San Francisco Chronicle
“Mohr is a charismatic narrator . . . [A] redemption story that’s easy to root for . . . I hope he keeps writing for as long as he can.”
—Jeremy Gordon, The New York Times Book Review
“Any one of [Model Citizen’s] ingredients—addiction, fatherhood, near-death experiences—would make for a compelling book. Taken together, they constitute a powerhouse work, one haunted by the traces that people in Mohr’s life have left behind . . . If Model Citizen were a song, it might be a ballad by Nick Cave, a piece of drama inviting readers to sympathize with the devil on his shoulder, maybe even sit in its place.”
—Tobias Carroll, Los Angeles Times
"In this searing memoir, Mohr opens up about his alcoholism and drug use with the vigor of someone purging themselves of their darkest memories . . . A potent mix of regret and resilience, Mohr’s story confronts his demons while finding a sliver of hope for a better life."
"Unflinching . . . It’s [the] haunting threat of a foreshortened life that sets this work apart from traditional addiction memoirs. Mohr’s raw account is equally shocking and moving."
“Joshua Mohr’s new memoir, Model Citizen, is not for the faint of heart, but there’s something profoundly beautiful and deeply humanizing about it, too. The book forces us to reconcile the conflicting truths of our mortal existence - that we are alone in a world that doesn’t care about us even a little, even as we’re surrounded by and connected to other solitary souls who might just save us if we let them. There’s terror here, but comfort, as well.”
—Richard Russo, author of Chances Are
“From dozens of perfectly honed scenes combined in a mind and soul satisfying structure, Joshua Mohr has made a book that refuses to look away from all the ugliness, yet makes himself so vulnerable in the telling, that every bit of beauty sticks. Relentlessly honest, hilarious, gut-wrenchingly sad, Model Citizen is the opposite of a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps memoir, and all the more hopeful (and profound) for it.”
—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country
“No one anywhere writes into the gap between grit and grace better than Joshua Mohr. Model Citizen dives deep into the crucible of addiction and recovery and then breathes life back into us all. How thrilling to encounter a story in which I can feel both named as well as loved alongside a narrator who I respect and admire for diving down into the depths and bringing something back for the rest of us. A ride or die book. This book changed my life.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge