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Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink-And How They Can Regain Control Hardcover – July 2, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This well-reported, well-written book is a depressing look at American women who are drinking more than ever. Glaser, a former reporter for the New York Times, the Associated Press, and National Public Radio, interviews dozens of drinkers, doctors, and treatment specialists and cites numerous studies. She also injects humor, asking, “I wondered how exactly did our cultural icons go from the saloon destroyer Carry Nation to the cosmopolitan-sipping Carrie Bradshaw in just a couple of generations?” Inevitably, the book will be unpopular with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) devotees because she questions whether AA helps women and brings up the founder’s LSD use and philandering. Glaser will also raise eyebrows by weaving herself into the story and noting that she and her husband regularly consume about two-thirds of a bottle of white wine with dinner and that her weekly total is usually “more than seven drinks a week (though not by much), and by U.S. standards that makes me a ‘heavy drinker.’” --Karen Springen


“[A] substantial book, interested in hard facts and nuance rather than hand-wringing. . . . Glaser makes a persuasive case that Alcoholics Anonymous, which enjoys a near monopoly in the recovery sphere, is structurally and functionally unsuited to many women.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Glaser has written an engaging account of women and drink, citing fascinating studies about modern stressors…and evidence that some problem drinkers can learn moderation….Bound to stir controversy.” (People)

“Glaser approaches [her topic] with investigative rigor and thoughtful analysis.” (Boston Globe)

"That so many American women stand at the edge of a liquid cliff is a surprising and scary problem that Gabrielle Glaser illuminates powerfully. For those who have a loved one standing there, you will find hope here." (Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning coauthor of the national bestseller Half the Sky)

“With humor, thoughtfulness and skillful research, Glaser paints a picture of mature female drinking today. You’ll see yourself or your friends on almost every page.” (

“A well-researched look into the differences between how men and women drink, what their motivations are for drinking, and how they should cope with drinking problems.” (

Her Best-Kept Secret reveals the existence of an epidemic with profound implications for women and their loved ones. This compassionate yet authoritative book explains why millions of ordinary women are turning to alcohol to handle the strains of daily life—and what they can do about it.” (Hilda Hutcherson, MD, bestselling author of What Your Mother Never Told You About S-e-x)

“An important addition to feminist literature that calls upon women to reject a spurious equality ‘whose consequences in broken families, broken hearts, and broken futures, are all too real’ and face up to the problem of alcohol dependency before it takes over their lives.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Insightful and provocative.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439184380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439184387
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By pc on July 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book! This book was truly a life changer for me. As the daughter of an "alcoholic," I have often wondered every time I over imbibed if I too had a drinking problem. I have a sister who certainly does have some form of alcohol dependency. But, my Dad never admitted to being an alcoholic, and I have always secretly agreed with him. After reading your book, I agree that he probably does have a problem with alcohol that would probably fit more into a yet defined category, like "alcohol dependency," or "at risk." He did go through AA, but never quit drinking.

I fit into the 'women on wine' category. I have 2 kids, great husband, great career, hobbies etc. and had progressed in my drinking to resemble the kitchen drinking description in this book. Having a family who believed in AA, I always thought drinking was all or nothing. All I heard my whole life is that people with alcohol problems are powerless over it. That is why Ms. Glaser's in depth look into AA is so valuable. It is empowering to learn that there are multiple resources with great research based methods to help people reduce their alcohol consumption.

This book is is a God send and must read for anyone who drinks more that 2 glasses of wine in the evenings and over indulges on occasion and has the slightest concern that she has a problem, but hasn't admitted it to anyone, perhaps not even herself. It is also a must for women who drink a lot more than that too.

I personally think EVERY woman would find this an interesting and valuable read. The history of alcohol in America is interesting and enlightening on its own. But, most importantly I believe this book has the power to save lives. It will certainly enrich them.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ericka Clay on April 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Right out the gate I need to make a confession. When I was approached for this assignment I thought it was an adult contemporary novel which is my genre of choice. Happily I agreed to review a novel called, “Her Best Kept Secret” by author Gabrielle Glaser. Imagine my surprise when the book showed up and the full tile was, “Her Best Kept Secret – Why Women Drink – And How They Can Regain Control. This story provides endless entertainment for my girlfriends who know I love my wine and write erotic romance. I’ve got to admit, the book took me a few weeks to read. Not because it wasn’t any good, but because it was real life. I often prefer to escape my real life in my nighttime reading when finally away from the hustle and bustle of being a working mom of two, a wife, a writer, and a professional fundraiser.

At first when I started reading the book I’d roll my eyes at different points the author made but then found myself enchanted by the historical effects drinking has made on our country and men and women as a whole. Ms. Glaser gives an in-depth look at drinking as far back as the 19th century to present. Her research is top notch and her interviews with professionals on the subject surprisingly interesting.

For example, I live in sunny California, the home to some of the world’s greatest wine. My hometown itself is home to Gallo. Technically, it shouldn’t have been surprising that in California alone, between 1994 and 2009 the number of women arrested for drunk driving went from 10.6 percent of all drivers to 21.2 percent, but it was surprising. This is double what the rest of the states experienced. Made me wonder if it was because wine was so damned good in California or if was because of a bigger problem? Both are definitely possibe.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M.Barry on November 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Her Best Kept Secret by Gabrielle Glaser is a fascinating compilation of facts and anecdotes about women and their relationship with alcohol. I couldn't put it down, but admittedly have an interest in the topic, as a woman who likes to drink, and does not intend to quit. What I found most fascinating about this book is the author's lack of an agenda. Ms. Glaser gives an historical overview of alcohol's place in American society, both from a legal and moral perspective, and she also gives a very enlightening history of the wine industry's incredible marketing tactics--basically making women love wine! (Thank you Mr. Mondavi!)Then there is the medical data--the disparity between clinical trials and true scientific data on women and alcohol use and other "diseases" is truly appalling, and this alone is worthy of a book being written. Learning that there is a pharmaceutical product that can be prescribed to control cravings is particularly interesting especially considering the number of weight loss centers and physicians across America prescribing appetite suppressants with such vigor. I will recommend this book to every female friend I have, and every physician friend I have, no matter the amount of alcohol they drink daily. Ms Glaser has written a very eye-opening book that will hopefully challenge the medical and rehab establishment to re-think the way we treat women and their unique health issues.
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Format: Hardcover
This book fills a void as specific research on women and drinking did not even begin until as late as the 1990's. It's meticulously researched and executed with journalistic craft, captivating style and disarming humor. Have you ever wondered if your drinking or that of someone you care about is getting out of hand? Glaser provides (among many other things) "sobering" insight into what the guidelines are for an acceptable daily amount of alcohol consumption for women in the US compared to international standards. Shockingly, international standards allow women to drink more...and those women typically live longer than American women. Why? Glaser expounds on such paradoxes and truths from a historical, cultural and an economically based perspective. This book fills a desperate need for truth regarding women and alcohol in this country. This book can save women a lot of pain, confusion and possibly even save someone's life. Her Best Kept Secret is an engaging, empowering and edifying read. It is also a vital facet of the current growing movement to provide modern society with current, real, evidence-based information, resources and treatment for alcohol and substance use challenges today...if we can handle the TRUTH that is. Here is an excellent interview with the author:[...]
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