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.
It was love at first sight. The beads of moisture on a chilled bottle. The way the glasses clinked and the conversation flowed. Then it became obsession. The way she hid her bottles behind her lover's refrigerator. The way she slipped from the dinner table to the bathroom, from work to the bar. And then, like so many love stories, it fell apart. Drinking is Caroline Kapp's harrowing chronicle of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol.
Caroline had her first drink at fourteen. She drank through her yeras at an Ivy League college, and through an award-winning career as an editor and columnist. Publicly she was a dutiful daughter, a sophisticated professional. Privately she was drinking herself into oblivion. This startlingly honest memoir lays bare the secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships that go hand in hand with drinking. And it is, above all, a love story for our times—full of passion and heartbreak, betrayal and desire—a triumph over the pain and deception that mark an alcoholic life.
Praise for Drinking
“Quietly moving . . . Caroline Knapp dazzles us with her heady description of alcohol's allure and its devastating hold.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Filled with hard-won wisdom . . . [a] perceptive and revealing book.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Eloquent . . . a remarkable exercise in self-discovery.”—The New York Times
“Drinking not only describes triumph; it is one.”—Newsweek
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.
I couldn’t stop reading this book! Helped open my eyes, would recommend to anyone looking to deepen their relationship with themselves, and have some self realizations. I’m saddened to hear that she has passed on.
Accurate, but For the Privileged
A well written book about the insidious brand of substance abuse that is invisible to ourselves and others. Slightly tone deaf at times and insistent on mentioning the race of no characters but black ones, Knapp doesn’t grapple with the privilege of her own personal journey. Nevertheless not a wasted read especially if you struggle with the same things and you are of the same social class
Very good read! Hits close to home!