A jaw-dropping memoir that chronicles Sen. Ted Kennedy's addiction to alcohol and the substance abuse problems faced by other members of the Kennedy clan has sparked a bitter rift in the family.
Patrick Kennedy details his dad's issues with alcohol as well as his own struggles with booze and drugs in "A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,"
written with Stephen Fried and published by Blue Penguin.
He tells of times he believes his father let him down and how he and his siblings tried to stage an intervention when their senator dad was drinking heavily in the wake of a rape charge against their cousin William Kennedy Smith.
He also spells out the mental health and addiction problems the Kennedy family has been dealt with over the years.
The candid tell-all by the eight-term Rhode Island congressman was quickly trashed by his brother Ted Kennedy Jr., a Connecticut state senator.
"My brother's recollections of family events and particularly our parents are quite different from my own," Ted Jr. said.
"Our father was a man with an extraordinary capacity for empathy and intimacy who cherished many lifelong friendships; my dad and I shared a deep, emotional bond …
"Mental illness and addiction are critically important issues that deserve a serious discussion — not a narrative that is misleading and hurtful."
On Sunday, Patrick defended his decision to write the book.
In an interview with The Boston Globe
, he insisted, "I'm writing very truthfully."
But Patrick admitted to CBS News' "60 Minutes"
that the expose had left him "outside the family line … I was hostage to the family code. Anything you say, it's disloyal. It's against the family code."
He said he believes his stepmother, Vicki Kennedy was displeased. The Globe said its attempts to reach Ted Kennedy Jr., Joan Kennedy, and Vicki Kennedy were unsuccessful.
Patrick, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, told The Globe he does have one important supporter: his mother Joan, who has fought her own addictions over the years. He says she helped him to get the book out.
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