Most helpful critical review
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Very intelligent book ..... but
on January 17, 2004
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.