Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss is a mildly interesting memoir about how one faction of the Stroh family watched their fortunes dissolve. Frances Stroh's father worked at the family's Detroit brewery, which over the course of five generations had grown tremendously, providing the extended family with valuable dividends. Unfortunately, the family run business faltered after a series of poor business decisions such as purchasing smaller breweries and failing to see the rise of the light beer in the eighties. Unfortunately for the reader, the details of their declining family finances are once removed from this story.
Stroh's memoir focuses on the relationships she had with her father and brothers. While people in the Detroit area saw the Stroh family as privileged and respectable, this memoir gives a glimpse of the turmoil within. Frances' father was a collector of guitars, guns, and other memorabilia, and much of what he spent his money on turned out not to have any real value. After her parents divorce, her father eventually meets and marries a woman who Frances recalls smoking cigarettes with while in high school, and the family finances fall into further trouble. Frances also explores her relationship with her brother Charlie, who dealt with drug and alcohol issues throughout his life.
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