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Drinking: A Love Story Paperback – May 12, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

The roots of alcoholism in the life of a brilliant daughter of an upper-class family are explored in this stylistic, literary memoir of drinking by a Massachusetts journalist. Caroline Knapp describes how the distorted world of her well-to-do parents pushed her toward anexoria and then alcoholism. Fittingly, it was literature that saved her: She found inspiration in Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life and sobered up. Her tale is spiced with the characters she's known along the way. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback (May 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385315546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385315548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (392 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

351 of 359 people found the following review helpful By L. Beauchamp on December 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book changed my life, and I just wish I could thank Caroline Knapp personally. I guess I was in denial for a long time. While in a bookstore, I plucked her book off the shelf, feeling the need for some sort of literary intervention and thinking it was a short read. I started reading it with a glass of wine in my hand. As I read, I realized with horror and some degree of sadness that she was describing me, along with countless other women in the same position. From the recyling bin to the lies, I could relate on almost every level (I was not one to end up in bed with strange men). It took courage for me to read the book through to its end, and to realize what I had to do. I called my mother and told her that I was an alcoholic. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do. Both my grandfathers were alcoholics, and my mother has always "wondered" if this were passed on to any of us. I decided that I would quit, with the help of family and friends, before I got to the point where I hurt or destroyed someone I love. I haven't had a drink since. I urge anyone who feels that they might be in denial to read this book and see if they can identify with the author's point of view. I thank Caroline Knaff for opening my eyes and pointing me in the right direction. I'm not sure that people who DON'T drink to excess will get anything out of this book ... I wouldn't believe half of it if I hadn't done these crazy things myself......
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202 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Joe E on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As much as I loved this book, I doubt it will impress people who aren't alcoholic or dealing with an alcoholic. Had I read this book in college, I would probably have sympathized with her problems but ultimately thought she was simply flaky and needed to just stop doing the stupid things she describes - not that complicated.

As it is, I read this book when I had become fully aware that my own relationship with alcohol had ceased to be simply "great when it's around - like a good meal" and begun to be compulsive. The absence of a drink became an 800 pound elephant in the room, and I noticed that at some point I had stopped enjoying being sober. For me, that was when I realized I had crossed a line and that drinking was no longer cute or funny. Somewhere along the way, it had managed to insinuate itself as the center of my life, even though I never would have admitted it out loud. My first thought when invited to a social event was whether alcohol would be served. My first thought when going out to a meal in the evening was whether they had a liquor license. I had mentally divided my friends into drinkers and non-drinkers, and I had managed to do so without believing there was anything weird about this.

That is the subtle tug of alcoholism that Ms. Knapp exposes. To everyone around the alcoholic, it is obvious that there is a problem. To the alcoholic, he simply wants to suck the marrow out of life, and can't understand why people aren't with him. Yet, if pressed, most alcoholics will admit that their life stopped being happy right around the time they started drinking regularly (it is a depressant, after all. This shouldn't be surprising). They will have what Ms.
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190 of 200 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was browsing in a bookstore waiting for my comet photos to be developed when I saw this book on the "New" shelf. I started reading, and then put it back when it was time to pick up my pictures. But I couldn't stop thinking about this book, so I went back and bought it. I read it at the kitchen table while drinking a glass of wine. Alarm bells kept clanging and clanging. When I got halfway through, I realized I was just like her--a highly educated writer with a drinking problem. She has a great line in there--that sometimes insight is just a reversal of cause and effect. I don't drink because I have all these problems, I have all these problems because I drink! With horror and tears, I called a friend I knew in AA who brought me to a meeting. I've been clean and sober now for 5 years. I read in the NY Times today that Carolyn Knapp died yesterday from lung cancer at only 42 years of age. That makes me very sad. I feel very grateful to her and her wonderful book. It changed my life.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John M Corboy, MD on December 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've spent 26 of the past 28 years as a sober, happy, recovering alcoholic. This is the best-written account I've seen of how it feels, how we deceive ourselves and others, the struggle of secrecy and denial, the battle of recovery, etc.
I found it very much like a long, heart to heart conversation with Caroline, and was sad when she stopped talking to me. I wanted more!
I loved it so much I immediately ordered eight copies for friends and family, and planned to write Caroline to thank her. Sounds like she'd be a delightful dinner companion! Broke my heart to read tonight that she died of lung cancer last summer...alas, probably from all those cigarettes with the booze.
I find it fascinating that 95% of reviewers think it is very well-written, magnificent,compelling---and 5% think it is awful, repetitious, boring. Can't help wondering which are alcoholic!
If you or anyone in your family has a problem, or thinks they may have a problem with alcohol, this book may save your life.
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