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Drunk Mom: A Memoir Paperback – May 27, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 New York Times Book Review

“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

"Drunk Mom is a rarity in this age of constant overshares—a work that had me questioning, "Does she want us to know this? Should I know this?" as I read it. ...At times, it's also a shockingly amusing read, sprinkled with wry, dark humour. I couldn’t put it down." - Vice

“[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

“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 (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

"It takes guts to write a book called Drunk Mom. You couldn’t pay me a million bucks to slap my name under a title like that. In fact, I suspect very few people in the world who share a story like this would. But I’m glad Jowita did because you know where I am right now? I’m about to enter one of those Amazing Awesome meetings. I hadn’t been going regularly; I was taking a break. Drunk Mom brought me back. " - She Does the City

‘[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

“[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

About the Author

Jowita Bydlowska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Canada as a teenager. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Salon and the Huffington Post. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her son and his father.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Paperback Edition edition (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143126504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143126508
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By lakemomof2 on July 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved it! I am also a recovering drunk mom. So many things she did throughout her journey, I can totally relate to. I have learned that I am not alone in this journey, but reading her book just strengthened that for me, like a validation. We can overcome alcoholism, but it takes the help of others, and our decision to QUIT.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ryan J. Dejonghe TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
This was tough to read. Bydlowska is brutal, open, and honest in her narrative. She lays it ALL out there—all of it: her strong desire—passion, rather—to drink; trying to maintain her sex appeal despite lactating; the lack of connectivity and feeling during intimacy. It’s all there. Bold and exposed.

Despite it all, Bydlowska demonstrates her strongness in her motherhood. She recognizes the dangers; she plans around her blackouts; pumps when she knows her milk may be poison. Her joy for motherhood is exhilarating. Her ripping conflict between drink and child is persistent.

The other important factor is the power of family and loved ones. Her sister and her lover come together as a bonding agent for deliverance. They act as the stronghold that she can depend upon, especially when she can find no strength within herself. It is trying and wearing to behold.

That’s makes this tough: the striking nature through a stream of conscious narrative over an extended period of time. There is merit to this type of reading, but the emotional beating was a bit too heavy to outlast three-hundred pages. While there is hope, in the end there is still a lingering doubt: a remaining piece of darkness. I feel touched by the author, and thankful for her openness, but I leave bedraggled.

Thank you to the Penguin Group for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Schwindt on April 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Of the women and alcohol memoirs Caroline Knapp's, Drinking, a Love Story, is perhaps the best written and most profound. That said 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 intoxicaton 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. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By laura block on October 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An open and honest account of the reality of addiction in women. This story reveals the secrets of many alcoholic women; hiding & buying alcohol,sneaking drinks in coffee cups or pop cans, stashing empties in drawers, laundry rooms, etc.
A sad reality-great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Francesca Zee on September 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I picked this up at my local library and didn't expect much, thought it might be the just the average story. I was surprised at the honesty in this memoir. It was very raw. The book is written sort of in a diary form, just out of very blurry/drunk memories at first. The author explains that she is a recent mother with a young child and was recently sober until a minor slip up at a party left her in the throws of alcohol. She is very honest and describes waking up next to her infant child not having any memory of the past few hours or even the past couple of nights.

I really enjoyed the style of writing that the author utilizes, it makes the reader feel like they are looking right into their lives.. Not just a narration of that life from the author's viewpoint, but YOU are looking in and making your own judgements. I did not, however, enjoy how the author sometimes jumped timelines. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with what she was talking about, but I understand that it is how she felt, being black-out drunk every night, there were holes in her life and therefore holes in the story. But it made the read more difficult. I also did not know whether to root for her to get clean, or root for her boyfriend to kick her out, or root for her to fall flat on her face! That's a side-effect of real life, there really isn't a winner.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E.Paige VINE VOICE on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
WOW! I am astounded by the amount of low star reviews for this outstanding book especially when you compare the amateur reviews to those the of the professionals. Bydlowska's book is receiving immense critical acclaim from the pros while lay readers just aren't feeling it. However, I found this book to be gripping and extremely satisfying. No, it isn't a happy little story about a tipsy housewife getting well at AA. It is dark and to some disturbing but if nothing else it is honest! And all memoirs to some extent "exploit" the families of the author. It comes with the territory. Her son will make up his own mind about his mother but I am pretty sure he will be able to forgive her.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Parks Family on August 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brutually honest portrayal of a mother struggling with addiction. The authour is extremely brave and her story is heartbreaking. Highly recommended.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By a.e. on July 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
Okay, I allowed myself to look past the lame title, and gave this book a shot. As someone who carries the same affliction as the author, and who is the mother of a small child -like the author- I was taken in by the synopsis on the back cover. Annoyed. This book annoyed me on so many levels. Her 'style' is arrogant, childish, and choppy. I got tired of listening to her by the third chapter. This book isn't well-written, it isn't profound, and it isn't all that interesting. It is full of odd gaps, and strings of sentences that don't tie into each other. I found myself rolling my eyes at predictable, over-the-top, elongated metaphors that would've been better-said if they had just been SAID. Forgettable. Moving on now.
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