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Drunk Mom: A Memoir Paperback – Deckle Edge, Apr 23 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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  • Drunk Mom: A Memoir
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  • Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada; First Edition edition (April 23 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385677804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385677806
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.9 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

“It’s really very intense, a very brave, very complicated story. It’s a difficult book, and I found my jaw on the floor, which doesn’t happen that often to me. I love the way that she approaches prose—I think it’s really beautiful.”
—Lena Dunham

“While the title suggests a simple autobiographical autopsy of motherhood marred by alcoholism, Bydlowska’s memoir delivers far more—a human portrait of the disease . . . the author and her addiction [speak] to each other in a tragic duet.”
The New York Times Book Review

"I am adhered to the misery memoir and can say that Bydlowska did it perfectly. She floated over her personal landscape like a drone and then dropped ordnance on herself. As for the why, she wrote one shattering page towards the end about human pain, hers. She’s a Canadian writer headed for even more greatness."
—Heather Mallick, Toronto Star
 
“It’s a bestseller in her adopted homeland Canada… brilliantly written but painful to read.”
—The Times (UK)

“[M]aternal tippling is a trendy topic on ‘mom’ blogs... But these chirpy, jokey accounts don’t touch the dark spiral of addiction Toronto writer Jowita Bydlowska relives in this riveting account... Bydlowska is an evocative, talented and gutsy writer who appears willing to confess all…  Bydlowska writes of watching other upscale stroller-pushing moms and wondering: do they hide mickeys in their diaper bags too? With this bracing book, others will now be asking that question as well.”
Maclean’s

‘[A] gifted writer, and a courageous one… Without glibness, without self-pity, knowing that she risks being judged, Bydlowska tells her story…. Luckily for those reading her story, she possesses a wickedly dark sense of humour.” 
—The Gazette, Montreal

“It is a memoir that pushes at boundaries – what is private, what should perhaps be kept private, what we need to know, what we don’t, what is insightful or just exhibitionism.  [O]ne of the most talked about books of the season... “ —The Globe and Mail.

“To understand this story in the guise of an addiction memoir is to misunderstand its worth…. Instead, this book is fresh within the context of a parenting memoir, one of a particular kind: A counterculture parenting memoir.  [It] stands as an uncommonly perceptive chronicle of what it means to be an intelligent, urban parent trying to hold on to the rest of her life. As a writer she’s got some chops.”
National Post

“A compelling, raw look at her struggle with alcoholism, the addiction that swallowed [Bydlowska] after the birth of her son.”
Elle

“[She] eschews the touchy-feely language of recovery ... The cool yet raw efficiency of Bydlowska’s prose, a testament to her successful journalistic career, repudiates indulgence of any kind. This detachment is what makes Drunk Mom both a painful yet paradoxically effortless read.”
—Literary Review of Canada

Drunk Mom is a stunning, harrowing read.  Why harrowing?  Not just because of the dramatic story, of a new mother at the edge of her tether.  And not only because of Jowita Bydlowska’s skill as a writer, and the crisp, original way she tells it.  What’s most harrowing about Drunk Mom is that you can’t stop reading it—this, the dark, now-told tale that lurks in the shadow of every seemingly normal family.”
—Ian Brown, author of The Boy in the Moon
 
 “A brave, brilliant and scathing self-portrait.  Full of energy and insight. If Frida Kahlo had been a writer, she might have been compared to Jowita Bydlowska.”
—Patricia Pearson, author of A Brief History of Anxiety – Yours and Mine.
  
“Fearless and troubling, and so very humane, Bydlowska explodes the cutesy momoir genre. You'll read it in one sitting."
—Katrina Onstad, author of Everybody Has Everything.

"This is quite simply not just another addiction memoir. It's something truly special. I felt this book. It carries the reader. It whispers. It really is can't-put-it-down great!"
Stefanie Wilder-Taylor,  author of I'm Kind of a Big Deal: And Other Delusions of Adequacy.

“Jowita is matter-of-fact, funny, fearless, and irreverent as she lifts the veil to chronicle what it means to be a young mother when both baby and mother have their own bottles -- the shame and the inner voices, as well as the joy and relief. This book is for anyone who has ever struggled to make it through a day.”
—Laura Albert, a.k.a. JT LeRoy, author of Sarah, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and Harold's End

“Jowita Bydlowska, to steal a phrase from Hemingway, writes hard and clear about what hurts. And man oh man can she write! …In my decades as a lover of books I've written only two fan mails. One of them went to Jowita Bydlowska. Thank you, Jowita, for Drunk Mom – for its rawness, for its clarity, for its bravery.” 
—Angie Abdou, Fernie Fix

Drunk Mom is a discomforting read. Its bare-naked honesty about addiction and families will make a lot of people uncomfortable. . . . It’s by far one of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read, both for its candor and bravery and for her narration.”—The Frisky

About the Author

JOWITA BYDLOWSKA was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Woodstock, Ontario, as a teenager. She eventually learned English well enough to try writing in it. She writes a popular parenting blog, and her work has appeared in an assortment of magazines, newspapers and online publications, including Salon and The Huffington Post.  She lives in Toronto with her son and his father.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book. Whether or not you have had an experience with addiction you will really relate to her story of struggle.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the early days of the Oprah book club, there was a whole genre of meanderingly written addiction memoirs with facile, feel-good redemption stories.

This is not one of those books.

This is an unflinching account that offers a real glimpse into the realities of a crushing addiction, in all its gory detail.

Contrary to some of the other reviews, any repetitiveness in the story is a realistic portrayal of the repetitiveness of compulsive behaviour, and the writing is some of the most visceral, direct, page-turning and finely crafted of any I have read in a long while.

I look forward to further work by this author on ANY subject, fiction or non-fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Once I got past the repetitive scenarios and grasped that this is at the heart of the story I appreciated the good writing and humour. What strikes me, however, is the authors self-confessed image of the addict, and of herself as somehow romantic, beautiful and tragic and doomed. The accompanying photo of the author, and the descriptions of her fellow addicts play to that perception. I wonder if that self perception gives licence to the addictive behaviour from which she ostensibly wishes to escape. If she was not beautiful and thin and sexy but instead the opposite of those things would the addictive behaviour lose some of its allure?
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By Richard Schwindt TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 16 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Of the women and alcohol memoirs Caroline Knapp's, Drinking, a Love Story, is perhaps the best written and most profound. That said Jowita Dydlowska's story of her drinking following the birth of her son is perhaps the most disturbing. While the book is quite readable she does not share Knapp's wit and presents as a wounded and unhappy. Her pursuit of intoxication is in the end pathetic. In other words, she sounds like a real alcoholic. And that is the takeaway from this book. The reach of shame that troubles so many women whose drinking is out of control. Her honesty has been criticized but really, is there another way this story could have been told? Recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting story about addiction with a "twist" - ie, someone brave enough to write about being drunk and a new mother at the same time. I enjoyed hearing about places in my own city where the author went throughout her story, and the fact that "the boyfriend" is a well-known writer for the Globe and Mail. I remember reading about the boyfriend's retina problems in a Toronto Life magazine article and the coming together of two Toronto writers and their stories was interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The idea of the book is an interesting one - watching a new mom spiral out of control and hearing a first-hand account of how she is powerless against her descent into addiction. Unfortunately, there is not enough meat to make this story into a book. Once you have read one or two "I-got-drunk-and-passed-out" stories, it became difficult to get through the rest. I read through many of the chapters thinking "Didn't I just read this?".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book because it gave insight on what internal struggles and alcoholic can have, with or without children. Mind you, that doesn't mean I didn't want to slap the author, but it increased my awareness. What I didn't like was at times, the author went into periods of imagination or internal dialog and I found that a bit confusing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazingly honest portrayal of the battle against addiction. So real being told from a young mom. Book club read for us & garnered good discussion.
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