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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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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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.” (Parents.com)

“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.” (Jezebel.com)

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)

Customer Reviews

I feel this book was well researched and very informative.
christine crossley
Glaser has written a fascinating history on the trends of drinking in the U.S., especially in regard to women & alcohol.
catherine johnson
I know a lot of women want to drink, but there are just some who shouldn't and if they do, it is destructive.
K Lloyd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 102 people found the following review helpful By MJ on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever wondered...."do I drink too much", this is a book you must read. You'll feel empowered by it; it provides important context for the way alcohol affects American women's lives. Historically, socially, medically, this book offers well-researched and well-reasoned information on the topic. The book isn't going to give you your answers about your own drinking, but it will help you think about what's right for you vis a vis alcohol.

For my whole life, I thought there were two categories of people who drink: drinkers without problems, and drinkers with problems ("alcoholics"). With this limited view, any self-introspection (is a bottle of wine too much for two people? One and a half?), was a kind of cul-de-sac conversation with myself. I'm not an "alcoholic" (none of the classic signs - blackouts, trembling, DUIs), so I'm "ok". Right? But still, the doubt. And then if you ask any of your girlfriends about it, it's usually over a glass of wine and they're also wanting reassurance they're "okay". So if you wanted to explore this topic before, the information that's been available to date has been sketchy at best.

This book puts all the information in one place. The book is not a self-help book, but an accurate social view of how and why American women drink, an exploration of the fine line between social and problem drinking, and it offers a view into solutions for people who want to manage their drinking better. Most interesting for me was the way the book explored the history of women and alcohol in American, which explains why my mom's attitudes towards liquor are so different from her mothers, and from mine, and from my daughter's.
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51 of 57 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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57 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Mona Lisa on July 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a woman who struggled with addiction during my young adult years (I started drinking as a teen and didn't quit until I was 38) I found this book fascinating.

I enjoyed reading the detailed history of how women's drinking came to be viewed and addressed in American society and how the male-oriented, faith-based steps of AA came to monopolize the treatment of alcoholism in the US. I was also pleased to see that the book is part of the growing chorus of voices questioning the utility of one-size-fits-all treatment--where the one size is AA.

But where the book truly shines is in its unstinting, and in my experience entirely accurate, reporting of AA's safety problems and its organizational refusal to address them. I spent a number of years in AA myself, where I experienced and witnessed these problems first hand--from the creepy older men who gather at the meeting room door to get their "AA hugs" to the outright predators who make a beeline for vulnerable women.

This behavior is not rare, not an unusual problem limited to a few outlier groups like Midtown. And although the existence of the problem is typically denied to outsiders "that never happens in MY home group!" or explained away "well, there are predators at bars, too...." it's well known among the membership. It's minimized, or blamed on the women, but it's openly acknowledged among members.

A small sampling of what I personally saw:

*A woman, fresh in town after a long relapse, worked in the same building as a male oldtimer (25 years or so). He walked her next door to her first meeting in her new town: within days they were sleeping together.
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