;Under the Influence; Review

Drugs and alcohol are violent murderers. One may fight to the death against these monsters, but all their troubles were in vain. This is the case in the short story, “Under the Influence” by Scott Russell Sanders. In the story, a boy takes on the demons of his father.

The boy’s father is a raging alcoholic and his moods are all over the place. The boy feels responsible for his family since his father is absent mentally,and begins to crack under the pressure. In the end, the little boy grows up. He is now his father, and his son is his former self. The grown boy drinks occasionally and his son feels like he needs to pick up the slack.

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From reading this story, teens can learn to sympathize with those that have an addict living in their home. By reading this story, someone can learn many of the difficulties that the family of an addict must endure. Teens can learn that drinking isn’t only just fun and games, it’s actually terrible for the body and a great risk to one’s health and their families. “Drinking socially” or “having a few drinks at a party” is just as harmful and only leads to a dramatic increase in alcohol or drug abuse. People that live with an addict or know someone living with an addict may really enjoy this piece.

Someone that cannot relate to the narrator in this short story may not enjoy the piece because it’s hard to put oneself in the narrator’s shoes, especially in a situation as this one. Another person that may not enjoy this short story would be an alcoholic himself, because it would be a rude awakening for what he is putting his family through and how much she truly is damaging her life forever. This story would be like a slap of realization in the face to an addict about what harm they’re doing to themselves and their family and loved ones.