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3.8 out of 5 stars
Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2011
I had high expectations when I bought this book, but I found it hard to read. It felt more like a platform for the author to vent her irritation at her friends and everyone who crossed her path than about her recovery. Halfway I considered not finishing the book but then thought that the author may be staging as part of her recovery a developing tolerance towards others, or at least the ability to walk away from relationships that clearly weren't worth hanging around for. That didn't happen. Very disappointing. I got nothing out of this book at all, other than an icky feeling.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
I have never written a review before, but after reading this book, I felt compelled to do so. I do understand that this is the author's personal account of her recovery process. I gave the book 2 stars simply because her writing it could come from a place of courage. I do not know her motives, nor will try to understand them. However, I am a recovering person and have been in the program for several years and most of this book scared me. I would not want a new recovering person to pick this book up... period. I have been to meetings all over and do know that each person and group is different, but there are still some basic tenets that are (or should be) the same throughout the program. The first and foremost is that no person new in recovery should expose themselves to as much drinking as the author did when she became sober. She may have been able to do it, but it is such dangerous behavior and many fail. Secondly, we are told to go to 90 meetings in 90 days and the author chose to ignore this and even admitted that she was not commiting to it. And last, never should a recovering person have a sponsor that is of the opposite sex- the reasons being obvious...
Sure, this is just one woman's account and sure, no one is forced to read it. But, as a recovering person with more than a year of sobriety, WE (the author and any of us) have a responsibilty to newcomers and accountability for what we say and do, as anyone could use her as an example. I am afraid of this book and very surprised (and disappointed) that Hazeldon chose to publish it. Please- if you are new in recovery and choose to read this book, proceed with caution. What works for one may not (and, in this case, usually doesn't) work for someone else.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2011
I purchased this book because a friend of mine was reading it for her book club. She called me a week later to say don't bother with it.....as she had started it and hated it. It was too late. I had already bought it and so I read it. I have always liked stories about people who have overcome adversity. Their humble stories of courage and strength motivate me to be a better person. The first few pages of this book are OK.....somewhat funny and seem honest. About a third of the way into the book you start to see the real personality of Brenda.....and it has nothing to do with alcohol. This woman literally has a problem with every single person in her life. She methodically takes them down hoping you will find her to somehow stand out as a better stronger person. Especially disturbing is her complete disrespect for her parents who she could find nothing good to say about. Its interesting to me that her Mother in law Martha gets a pass for her drinking, yet her Father, who seems to drink about the same, gets thrown under the bus. I also loved her BIG reveal at the recovery meeting. Everyone is telling their painful yet truthful stories and hers is that she had gotten pregnant with her second child to avoid drinking. Not only do I not believe her but I think she threw something as stupid as this out there to say" Hey I'm not nearly as bad as all of you people here". I do think Brenda has a real problem the least of which is drinking. She comes across in this book as spoiled, selfish, fake and immature. I would not bother with this book. If anything it will make you want to drink.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2011
I am a huge fan of memoirs dealing with addiction where people are able to overcome major conflict in their lives and rise above but seriously this woman had me gagging. This felt like the work of a bored housewife who got together with friends to dabble in drugs and alcohol to slum it for a night. I didn't feel that sense of rock bottom which was evident from all the meetings she attended and was horrified by. If I had to hear about one more brie stuffed item of food and vintage wine at the Ravinia concert I swear I was going to throw this book across the room. The most offensive part was the statement from her son "Mom make sure you get a nice car!" lol and her horrified reaction that her son would be so shallow. I don't know exactly where this author is from but the North Shore of Chicago is for sure not slumming it. The petty bickering between her and her friends got old after awhile as did all the terrible situations she was put in and tempted by alcohol such as her trip to Budapest (gag). I'm so glad I got this book from the library listening to a spoiled housewife go on for three hundred pages about her terrible life (the successful husband, 2 beautiful children,wonderful home ect...) is not worth any amount of money pass on this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2012
She is such a jerk! The fact that she was a drunk is the least of her problems. It made me sad and angry to read. Her kids and her husband are an afterthought, even after she gets sober. She is more concerned with her social life than anything else.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2014
I could appreciate how the author decided that her drinking was out of control and chose to stop. However, in her reviews of her motives and people around her, it almost seems like sobriety is a new platform for her to be superior to others. She is already living a golden life, world travel, money, beauty, thinness, blah, blah, blah. She claims to cheer on an overweight woman who unselfconsciously goes topless in a g-string in Miami. However, any mildly overweight person that she comes across is decsribed as: chubby; obese; dimpled knees; dimpled buttocks; 250lb butt, ad nauseum. I am not fat, so this isn't a pro-fat rant, but it shows her revulsion and prejudice towards any non-thin person. She also claims to hate martyrs but constantly snipes in her mind about all that she does for everyone anbd how no one does anything for her. A lot of this made the book non-relatable to me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2011
When I bought this book, I had braced myself for an indulgent first-time author's trip down a booze-soaked memory lane. I was pleasantly surprised. In fact once I got going, I had a hard time putting the book down. While the diary format may not work for some, I found it to be an effective means of presenting a glimpse of the day-to-day experiences, emotions, and thought process of a newly recovering alcoholic during the ups and downs of the first year of sobriety. I am married to a recovering alcoholic, and I have accepted that I will never be capable of fully understand how his though process works. It's just different from mine. That said, Brenda's story provided me with some valuable insight into the daily struggles an alcoholic faces--including situations and triggers that I would never have identified as being a challenge. I appreciated her raw honesty and self-analysis, especially regarding her best and worst moments as a parent. And I found beauty in the fact that she seems to have made peace with her disease and her life, in spite of (or thanks to) its imperfections. An interesting, candid read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2011
I read this book in less than a weekend because I was so compelled by the story. I have never really known anyone who was an alcoholic, though reading this story helped me to understand and empathize with the particular challenges, obstacles and hidden world they live in. Brenda's writing creates images that clearly draw you in and keep you engaged till the very end. Her ability to articulate her emotions and experiences makes you feel as if you are there in the moment with her. I highly recommend Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife to anyone who seeks a better understanding of this disease and the people living with it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2012
It started getting really difficult to empathize with this author after all the entries about her well-to-do life in the suburbs. Maybe she wouldn't have so much time to drink and wallow in self-pity and criticize others if she had to do things like actually have a job to help support her family. Instead she spent her days hanging it out with friends, at summer vacation homes and on European trips. I'm not even sure when she was taking care of her children, as she always at meetings or dropping them off to be babysat by her parents and friends. She just came across as self-absorbed and ungrateful and shallow.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
Who among us does not have someone important in our lives who is dealing with alcohol addiction? I have a family of origin that was deeply shaped by alcoholism, as well as lifelong friends who are living with the disease, for better or for worse. We move forward through our lives together, with typical human love and confusion, struggling to understand and support one another in the healthiest ways we can manage. When alcohol "wins" these struggles, it always takes honesty as its first prisoner -- stories and feelings aren't shared, difficult conversations aren't attempted, and alcohol sucks the people I love back into its bubble. Wilhelmson's memoir is unstintingly honest and open in the places where "nice," "established" people would be tempted not to shine a light. The author reveals her flaws, her doubts and her missteps against the backdrop of a life that appears highly functional and successful. These are the alcoholics I know: they keep their lives afloat and, with the help of those closest to them, they maintain the appearance of having it all. When I read this book, I wonder what more I can do to support my friends who are struggling, and I am reminded of this addiction's overwhelming power to ensnare individuals, along with those who care about them. I thank the author for shining her light, because telling the truth about alcoholism is such a critical factor as we work to loosen its grip.
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