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March 5, 1997

In the Open: Diary of a Homeless Alcoholic

Author Affiliations

Kansas University Medical Center Kansas City

JAMA. 1997;277(9):757. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540330079040

Organ of Corti, showing four rows of hair cells. Colored scanning electron micrograph, magnification X1830. From Inside Information: Imaging the Human Body, by William A. Ewing, 127 pp, with illus, paper, $23, ISBN 0-684-83108-2, New York, NY, Fireside Books, 1996. Reprinted by permission. A Homeless Alcoholic

The author started keeping a diary to help him stop drinking. It didn't help. After a while he stopped the diary, thinking that might help. It didn't. Nothing helped except being broke, and this was always temporary, with money coming in from somewhere: a day labor office, an unemployment check, a small inheritance.

This may explain why the entries in Timothy Donahue's In the Open move from topic to topic without connecting bridges, skipping around in time (from 1990 to 1994) as pointlessly as the writer hitchhikes around the country. The reader learns a lot about alcoholism and the homeless. Those who know all

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