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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-12-29
  • Publisher: Broadway Books
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Fueled by booze and drugs and earning rent money working construction with his fellow Irish immigrants, Broderick cheated death and lived to tell his story, which is devoid of self pity or any attempt to justify his loony behavior. (Malachy McCourt).

Author Biography

COLIN BRODERICK was raised Irish Catholic in the heart of Northern Ireland.  In 1988, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx to drink, work construction, and pursue his dream of becoming a writer. For the next twenty years, as he drank himself into oblivion: there were failed marriages, car wrecks, hospitals and jail cells.  Few people who have been a slave to an addiction as vicious, destructive, and unrelenting as Broderick's have lived to tell their tale. Orangutan is the story of an Irish drunk unlike any you've met before. Broderick has written a play, Father Who, and published articles in The Irish Echo, The Irish Voice, and The New York Times.


My wife reads my journal and is waiting for me when I come home from work with it opened to the page where I say that I have fallen helplessly in love with a teenager. The same teenager she’s had her suspicions about all along. I try to deny it, but she informs me that it’s too late, my good buddy Bill, my business partner, my AA sponsor, has already confirmed that it’s true. I take a seat and try to comprehend the magnitude of his deceit.
I decide to take this opportunity to I tell her how I really feel. I tell her that I’m unhappy in the marriage and that I want a divorce. She hopes I rot in hell. So I move to the couch in the basement.
Within a week Bill and I have parted company. He has apologized for his indiscretion but I can’t look at him anymore without wanting to rip out his throat. He comes by when I’m not there and takes his few personal items, then has me served with papers seeking half the business. I tear up the papers and throw them in the trash can. I have never seen him or spoken to him since.
 The adoption agency has called; they have a child for us in South America. She’s almost two years old. We are to fly immediately to meet her and take her back to the States. Brigitte tells me that this is the last thing she wants me to do for her. She cannot do it alone. The agency wouldn’t allow it. She needs a husband. I agree to go along.
We agree that when I come back I will find an apartment somewhere nearby and we will work something out so that we can take care of the child together.
Three days before we fly to Ecuador I find out that Brigitte has emptied my bank accounts, sold the stocks I had purchased, and maxed the credit cards that were in my name. I’m suddenly about forty thousand dollars in the hole. I am completely broke. I have to call Tony to borrow money for gas. She won’t lend me twenty dollars of my own money. My friend who’s a lawyer begs me not to go through with the adoption process. He tells me that I’ll lose everything. I know he’s right, but I feel guilty about falling in love with someone else, so I go along as a form of penance.
 My friend steps in and takes care of the business while I’m gone. The poet Rick Pernod and I decide to become business partners and make a fresh go of it at the café. I tell Oksana that I am in love with her, and she tells me she will be waiting for me when I return from Ecuador. Brigitte and I travel to Ecuador. My daughter is a beautiful, healthy two-year-old, and I cry the moment I take her in my arms. I had never expected to fall in love with her instantaneously. She is the most beautiful child I have ever seen in my entire life. I look into her eyes and I know her and she knows me. I return from Ecuador a few days early, as agreed, to set up my own apartment and prepare for my daughter’s return. Oksana and Rick are waiting for me at the airport. I am an emotional basket case.
I borrow money from Tony and rent a one-bedroom apartment in Riverdale, up on the Parkway. I buy a new bed and move a few personal items out of the house. Brigitte returns from Ecuador with our daughter. She refuses to let me see her, just as my lawyer had predicted. She hires an expensive lawyer of her own and announces she wants full custody. After a brief struggle and the advice of two other attorneys, I relent. I give her everything. The house, the money, Molly, and our daughter. She moves away and I have not seen or heard from her since.
I have an apartment in Riverdale that I can’t afford. I have a ten-year-old car in need of repair. I’m completely broke. My credit is destroyed. The coffee shop is barely paying its own bills.
I close the café on a Friday night after I have signed the divorce papers. I lock the doors. Oksana has gone out for the night with some friends of hers. I am alone. I turn down the lights and take out a bottle o

Excerpted from Orangutan: A Memoir by Colin Broderick
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