From the Biography/ Autobiography General section

Notice: This site is no longer being updated. It will continue to be available as an archive, at least until the end of March 2019. If you rely on it for review links, please adjust them before then.

The project has disseminated reviews and other information about Christian books since the start of the Millennium. We regret that it is no longer possible to sustain it.

Kicking The Black Mamba

Life, Alcohol and Death

by Robert Anthony Welch


Price: £12.99
Publisher:DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published:17 September 2012
Irish professor, poet and prolific author, Robert Welch, tells the painful story of his beloved and brilliant son, Egan's, descent into alcoholism, leading to periods in hospital and other institutions, and death by drowning in the river Bann in Northern Ireland in 2007, at the age of 28. The book conveys a lot about the problems in living with and caring for someone with alcohol addiction (and also incidentally a lot about Irish life and legends). It is "a search for meaning in the death of a greatly loved son". What makes the book memorable is the author's unmistakable grief and passionate love for his son, his desperate attempts to halt Egan's decline, and his utter honesty in voicing the fear that he has been complicit in some way in what happened to Egan. It is a love story that is painful to read but will reward the reader. After a year's writing, Welch admits he hasn't found the answer, but then, unexpectedly to me, his final chapter and closing "message" speak of "the hope of resurrection". This is not, "emphatically not", a "religious" book, states the author firmly, but I found in it countless references to the Gospel, and to the death and especially resurrection of Christ. What of the book's strange title? You have to wait until nearly the end (page 188) for an explanation. Egan himself made up the expression, when he heard about another alcoholic taking his first drink after a period of abstinence. A black mamba, of course, is a highly venomous snake, whose bite means almost certain death. Egan meant that, by returning to booze, this other person was "kicking the black mamba that will kill him".

Listen to this review

Reviewer: Barry Vendy   (21/01/13)
Scripture Union
Church House Bookshop
Ritchie Christian Media
CLC Christian Bookshops
The Third Target - Joel Rosenberg
Aslan Christian Books
Candle Books
Together Magazine
Gospel for Asia UK