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Drinking: A Love Story [Paperback]

Caroline Knapp
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 12 1997
Fifteen million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of them are women. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as "liquid armor," a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it.

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Drinking: A Love Story + Lit: A Memoir + Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Breaking the Cycle and Finding Hope
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Product Description

From Amazon

The roots of alcoholism in the life of a brilliant daughter of an upper-class family are explored in this stylistic, literary memoir of drinking by a Massachusetts journalist. Caroline Knapp describes how the distorted world of her well-to-do parents pushed her toward anexoria and then alcoholism. Fittingly, it was literature that saved her: She found inspiration in Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life and sobered up. Her tale is spiced with the characters she's known along the way. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Freelance journalist Knapp began drinking in her early teens and continued unabatedly until she "hit bottom" in 1995 and checked herself into a rehab at the age of 36. During that time she managed to graduate with honors from Brown and have a successful career as a journalist, and few people suspected she had a problem with the bottle. Here she recounts the years of denial that helped her rationalize the blackouts, innumerable hangovers, broken relationships and family tensions characteristic of the alcoholic's story. Knapp interweaves her personal history with factual information about alcohol abuse, including frequent references to the AA meetings she's attended. Here's a confession utterly devoid of self-pity, an extraordinarily lucid and very well-written personal account of a common addiction that is filled with insights as well as a comprehensive treatment of the subject. The text reproduces a questionnaire for alcoholism made up by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. First serial to the New York Times Magazine and Cosmopolitan; Literary Guild selection; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise from a recovering alcoholic male July 13 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this book initially as a practicing alcoholic in denial, and then in early recovery. I loved the book the first time recognizing the honesty and courage. The author's style was very pleasing. Now, I appreciate the honesty, courage, and accuracy. I go to A.A. meetings every day, and A.A. is my family now. I wondered, "What could this book offer that I wasn't already getting?" The fact is that this book offered wisdom I hadn't heard before, such as, in decision making, how to tell the difference between the alcoholic alternative and the better choice. I re-read this two days ago, and used it today. I won't spill the beans. You'll have to read the book to learn.
In A.A., sponsors are always the same sex as the sponsee. I wondered what insight I could get from a female alcoholic. I learned tht this is not an issue. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A candid and relatable memoir. Feb. 8 2012
By DJ
Format:Paperback
I found myself immediately jumping to the 1-star reviews, curious of what the criticisms were. As I read them, I realized that what we read touches us in a way that is so personal based on the specific place we are in our lives.

I loved CKs story. I could relate to it. I didn't find it inauthentic or self-indulgent. (Similar to the negative reviews of Eat Pray Love haters). It was her way of telling the story of her own personal experience with alcoholism.

Perhaps it is because I too, on the surface perhaps, am a very successful, happy, well-adjusted woman. A successful, happy, well-adjusted woman with a secret. The secret of a lover, a best friend, a confidante, that I call...alcohol.

That being said, I am only just halfway through the book, so my opinion could change towards the end, as apparently several readers have experienced.

But in any case, I am appreciative of a voice which speaks from a unique viewpoint - a viewpoint which is differentiated from the stereotypical 'brown-paper-bag-hitting-rock-bottom-bum'. As we know, alcoholism is a prevalent issue, which far transcends the class barriers, and it is refreshing to hear someone speaking up to that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was right on the mark!! May 28 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I myself have had a drinking problem in the past and when I was trying to sober up I bought this book and let me tell you, I thought I was reading my life. I am just glad that she had the guts to come out in public and tell her story. I would have loved to have met her. It's a shame she died before her time was up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for alcoholics Feb. 5 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you're an extra sensitive person, a person who came from a dysfunctional childhood, or even just a person who appreciates well-written and candid memoirs, you will love this book.
All the more so if you've ever wondered if you or someone you know has a drinking problem. Without being preachy, and without drowning in the rhetoric of AA, Knapp's book is full of insights. She's especially good at navigating the tangled family legacy of alcoholism and denial, and describing the life of an alcoholic, where everything ranks a distant second to drinking, and covering your tracks, so you can drink some more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Changer Jan. 15 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Now three years sober, I come back to this book again and again for its fresh perspective and dead-on descriptions of addiction from the standpoint of a "high functioning" alcoholic; i.e., one who is able to achieve considerable professional success while her alcoholism escalates. The author writes with a clear-eyed but lyrical style that illuminates her drinking life without romanticizing it, and ends with the hard-earned hope--but not the guarantee--of permanent sobriety. If you have any questions whatsoever as to whether you drink too much--especially if you are a aharp, single, successful woman who "has it all together"--I urge you to buy this book. At the very least, you will be rewarded with an absorbing read and you might find that it is a catalyst for a change in your own life. In the same vein, if you are worried for a friend who drinks too much and you can not confront her, slip her a copy of this book. It might save her life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good read June 4 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone who has a question about their drinking habits should read this book and be able to see if they find themselves in the pages from time to time. She explains how the mind refuses to believe there is an addiction growing and to see the signs before it is totally out of control. She also tells how other people often warn you that there is a problem long before you realize there is one.
She also points out how common it is for high-functioning people get caught up in the excuses that they deserve a drink.....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent April 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a truth telling magnificent look from the author's own life that speaks of a childhood of pain, lost in drink...and the years of battle to overcome her addiction. She shows courage and determination to survive and thrive when it would have been so much easier to give in. I am impressed with her writing acomplishments. An excellent read.
Hannah Lee
My Other Recommended reads: Nightmares Echo, Running With Scissors,Dry,I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very intelligent book ..... but Jan. 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read it as someone interested in addiction, having given up smoking and also cutting down on alcohol, perhaps one of the "fringe" people she mentions. This book made me realise that you don't have to be an alcoholic to abuse alcohol on a regular (or irregular) basis, and I recognised myself many times in the book. So this book was very interesting for me for many reasons.
She writes beautifully and concisely at times with great insight - especially about women. Also, the last page clarifies sobriety beautifully. Yet if I have a criticism it is that I found the book on a personal level strangely emotionally flat and joyless. And for that reason I found the book, for all its insights, strangely depressing. Perhaps this was deliberate on the author's part - sharing her alcoholism - but not her self as such, which must have been her prerogative. or maybe its an alcoholic thing - you look back and see things that seemed like fun at the time with a rather cold disdainful eye (but what about her childhood? no joy mentioned there either which must surely be utterly bizarre, or just one-sided for the purposes of the book? (I don't know)). So though the book has many, many insights, I found it not as inspiring as I would have hoped or imagined.
Therefore, so as far as recommending this book to someone on the road to the potential joys and self-discovery of sobriety, I find myself ambivalent about recommending it.
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