Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir

“Jamie Brickhouse has written a blisteringly funny, wrenching account of wrestling way too close to – and later loose from – booze, sex and drugs and his adorable, infuriating mother. Believe me: the gator wranglers from his Texas backwater hometown have it way easier. It's packed with multiple fine threads in a rich tapestry. Bravo – the first of many from Brickhouse.”
—Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry and Lit

“As a blackout drinker and a ‘serial fornicator,’ Jamie Brickhouse was guided by two interrogative mantras: ‘Sure. Why not?’ and, courtesy of singer Peggy Lee, ‘Is that all there is?’ But Dangerous When Wet is far more than a witty chronicle of gin-soaked debauchery. It is, more importantly, a poignant , hilarious and sharply observed story of a gay man’s exchange of self-destruction and self-loathing for a quest for wisdom and a mature understanding of love. Move over, Augusten Burroughs. You’ve got company.”
—Wally Lamb, author She's Come Undone, Wishin' Hopin', We Are Water

Dangerous When Wet is anchored by a character destined to become iconic: Mama Jean. The outrageously bold and bawdy Mama Jean teaches more about life in a single one-liner than a shelf full of self-help books. Brickhouse’s memoir is as revealing as it is riotous...a dark journey studded with gems of hilarity.”
—Josh Kilmer-Purcell, I’m Not Myself These Days, co-star The Fabulous Beekman Boys

“Everyone’s got a mother, but Jamie Brickhouse was lucky enough to have a Mama Jean, a boisterous, loving and bouffant Texas tornado. In Dangerous When Wet, Jamie’s delicious and touching memoir, we find out precisely how Jamie became the sort of guy to purchase, at auction, 'a six-and-a-half-foot long, chestnut brown, ranch mink scarf,' which had once belonged to Joan Crawford. Under Mama Jean’s tutelage, Jamie also came to appreciate the joys, and dangers, of a champagne cocktail. In exploring family uproar, the Holly Golightly allure of Manhattan, and the free fall of alcoholism, Jamie creates a literary cocktail all his own: witty, blisteringly honest and wickedly intoxicating.”
—Paul Rudnick, playwright, author, New Yorker columnist

“Jamie Brickhouse has seen the darkness, and emerged a happier, stronger person. His book is sensitive and thoughtful, tinged with hilarity and heartbreak, and as bubbly as a champagne flute of Asti Spumante. Drink it.”
—Henry Alford, author Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?, New York Times columnist

Dangerous When Wet is one wild-ass ride filled with lurid sex, drunken treks, late night phone calls to the rich and famous and secret upon secret that no one has any business revealing. Jamie Brickhouse serves up a riotous, rollicking memoir that, ultimately, is as sweet as it is outrageous.”
—Neil White, author In the Sanctuary of Outcasts


Whoever said you can’t get sober for someone else, never met my mother, Mama Jean. When I came to in a Manhattan emergency room after an overdose to the news that she was on her way from Texas I panicked. She was the last person I wanted to see on that dark September morning, but the person I needed the most.

Lying on an ER gurney following a failed suicide attempt, Jamie Brickhouse was more terrified of the fact that Mama Jean was flying in from Texas than the alcoholic trauma that had landed him in the ER in the first place. So begins this astonishing memoir – by turns both hilarious and deeply moving – about this native Texan’s long struggle with alcohol, his complicated relationship with Mama Jean, and his sexuality. Funny, heartfelt, yet unsentimental, Dangerous When Wet follows Brickhouse through his childhood as a best-little-boy gay son to his head-on ascent into alcoholism in New York City.

From the age of five all he wanted was to be at a party with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other and all Mama Jean wanted was to keep him at that age, her Jamie doll forever. A Texan Elizabeth Taylor with the split personality of Auntie Mame and Mama Rose, always camera-ready and flamboyantly outspoken, Mama Jean haunted Brickhouse everywhere, no matter how far away he went or how deep in booze he swam.

Brickhouse’s journey continues through his high profile career in book publishing amid New York’s glamorous drinking life to his near-fatal descent into alcoholism. After Mama Jean ushers him into rehab and he ultimately begins to dig out of the hole he’d found himself in, he almost misses his chance to prove that he loves her as much as she loves him. Bitingly funny, raw and insightful, Dangerous When Wet is the unforgettable story of a unique relationship between a son and his mother.