‘I’m the binge-drinking health reporter. During the week, I write about Australia’s booze-soaked culture. At the weekends, I write myself off.’
Booze had dominated Jill Stark’s social life ever since she had her first sip of beer, at 13. She thought nothing could curb her love of big nights. And then came the hangover that changed everything. In the shadow of her 35th year, Jill made a decision: she would give up alcohol. But what would it mean to stop drinking in a world awash with booze?
This lively memoir charts Jill’s tumultuous year on the wagon, as she copes with the stress of the newsroom sober, tackles the dating scene on soda water, learns to watch the footy minus beer, and deals with censure from friends and colleagues, who tell her that a year without booze is ‘a year with no mates’.
In re-examining her habits, Jill also explores Australia’s love affair with alcohol, meeting alcopop-swigging teens who drink to fit in, beer-swilling blokes in a sporting culture backed by booze, and marketing bigwigs blamed for turning binge drinking into a way of life. And she tracks the history of this national obsession: from the idea that Australia’s new colonies were drowning in drink to the Anzac ethos that a beer builds mateship, and from the six o’clock swill that encouraged bingeing to the tangled weave of advertising, social pressure, and tradition that confronts drinkers today.
Will Jill make it through the year without booze? And if she does, will she go back to her old habits, or has she called last drinks? This is a funny, moving, and insightful exploration of why we drink, how we got here, and what happens when we turn off the tap.
Thank you for this wonderful book allowing the readers to share in your journey in an alcohol free year. I found this book just after joining HSM - a must for anyone questioning their relationship with alcohol. I felt like I was reading my own life story - albeit several years ago. Your insightful look at alcohol and our society's dependence on it as the master of ceremonies for all things social is an eye opener. As i commence my journey without alcohol I find myself wondering - as you did - whether there is a place for it in my life. Thank you again.
Fantastic book. Makes you wonder
Great and well-balanced book by a seasoned journalist looking at not just the impact on her while taking 12 months off alcohol, but alcohol's role in the wider historic and cultural environment. A nice easy read with well-planned and engaging narrative.
Fantastic read! I could really relate to the author.. If you are thinking about having a break from alcohol, give this book a read.