Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So far, there are a couple of reasons I really like Smashed. First, she's exactly my age, so when she's talking about things that happend in highschool, etc, it's kind of fun to see the social parallels, but secondly,she's from New England. I'm more than a little obsessed with all things New England since I'm a transplant. (I've watched The Departed and the Dennis Lehane movies more times that I can count). Her bio says she grew up in the 'suburbs of Boston', but when she's talking about a girl who goes to her regional high school andsays "Billie lives in the bordering town of Clinton..." I gasped in excitement, because that's just up the road!
It's a bio that I'm hopingdoesn't turn out to be bogus like that of James Frey.
I wanted to read it before sending it off to my 15 year-old niece as a'cautionary tale' (yep, I'm *that* aunt) and have found that it's really good, frank, and I think that most parents would benefit from reading it even if your kids aren't there yet.
Even though the 'times are different' it hasn't been all THAT long since I was in high school, but I feel like I've forgotten a lot of the nuance. Oh yeah, and I never drank in high school.
The above was written when I was only about a third into the book...I have to say it went downhill from there. She was either grossly exaggerating her drinking in parts, or in fierce denial in others because she'd talk about slugging drink after vodka-filled drink for hours on end on a regular basis, while maintaining a certain level of function; but at others would say things about how 'some' people could tolerate 3 long island iced teas while she was blasted after just two.
I also felt like she never, really, admitted that she had a problem. Saying instead that she didn't have a "genetically based reaction to alcohol that addiction counselors call 'a disease'" or "I drank for the explicit purpose of getting drunk, getting brave, or medicating my moods."
Even though the book is aimed at being a cautionary tale for teen-age alcohol abuse, it's more a cautionary tale for not owning your alcoholism. She was/is an alcoholic. Period. I'm disappointed that she never admitted that. She only says that she stopped drinking because her husband enabled her to feel in a way that she formerly couldn't without alcohol...um...that's alcoholism.
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* Cross-posted at Knitty Reviews