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Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking, and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex Paperback – December 27, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a follow-up to her memoir Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Shapiro turns from romantic train wrecks to nicotine addiction. Her struggle to end a two-pack-a-day problem will be familiar to anyone who's tried to kick the habit; her version of suffering includes eating too many lollipops, yelling at her husband and encountering writer's block. To make quitting easier, Shapiro visits a psychologist who specializes in addictions and finds herself both repulsed and drawn to his aggressive style, which involves following his advice without question for a year. And what do you know: after several months, Shapiro's cigarette cravings diminish—but she finds she's addicted to her therapy sessions and looks forward to them in the same way that a smoker thinks of her next drag. More seriously, the removal of Shapiro's literal smoke screen reveals aspects of her life—family and relationship issues—that she's neglected for decades. Writing this memoir was obviously cathartic for Shapiro, although reading it can be trying at times (e.g., her discourses on her other vices, like pot and caffeine, are quite long-winded). But Shapiro's wit and honesty elevate the work, and her sessions with her cool, intelligent psychologist capture all that's both absurd and mundane about such encounters.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Shapiro's wit and honesty elevate the work."
--Publishers Weekly


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385338341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385338349
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan B. Shapiro is an award-winning Manhattan writing professor and The New York Times bestselling author of the nonfiction books UNHOOKED, FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, LIGHTING UP, SECRETS OF A FIX-UP FANATIC, ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR WORD and two novels, SPEED SHRINKING and OVEREXPOSED. Most recently she co-authored THE BOSNIA LIST (Penguin, 2014.) Her books have been translated into 12 languages. She's written for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Nation & Newsweek and teaches "the instant gratification takes too long" school of writing at The New School and in private classes and workshops. Visit her at her website Susanshapiro.net, follower her on Twitter at @Susanshapironet or email her directly at profsue123@gmail.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gwendolyn Knight on January 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Stumbled upon Susan Shapiro's new book, Lighting Up, yesterday. Just finished it with a bottle of Spanish Cab and a half a bar of Ghiradellis chocoalate, as if on a two-day binge. Further confirming my belief in Shapiro's brillance. She is a strong, self-assured, sensitive, sardonic woman... my kind of hero.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reader99 on June 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
I started this book on Friday and could not put it down, finished it on Sunday and felt sad when I hit the last page. As I began reading, I realized I would need paper and pencil to take notes to use in my own life. My whole life I've been surrounded by people who smoke and drink, and I made a conscious effort not to become one of "those people." But after I read this book, I realized I'm no better; that I have addictions of my own that have nothing to do with "controlled substances." This book sheds a lot of light on how to live through suffering so one can come out the other end feeling like a better person for it. Susan's writing is so down to earth that you will see yourself in her no matter who you are. Dr. Winters is a big player in the book, but it's the way Susan takes the wheel of her own life that makes you want to cheer for her and ask yourself why the hell you've waited so long to face what makes you "suffer" the most.

Dr. Winters said that underneath any addiction is a deep depression. Read it and find out what it means to you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Inveterate Reader on March 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fun, insightful, and challenging memoir by a New York writer who worked with a therapist to quit smoking. Along with quitting smoking, her therapist, Dr. Winters, helped her kick all self-medication and urged her to "sit with" and experience her emotions and feelings. It is a very interesting look at addiction recovery outside of the 12step paradigm. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie MacDonald on February 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
We're all hooked on something: love, sports, drugs, cupcakes. No matter what your addiction is, you'll profit from reading Shapiro's book. In it, she detoxes from the substances that are preventing her from living her fullest, best life (cigarettes, pot, booze, gum -- don't laugh...even bread & pasta, perish the thought!) With fearless honesty and self-deprecating humor, Shapiro walks readers through the process, which she tackled with the help of a brilliant addictions specialist (and wannabe writer) named Dr. Winters, who has plenty of issues of his own. You'll love the little Zen wisdom notes he gives her at the end of each session; feel the discomfort of withdrawal; relate to the negative reactions of those around her when Shapiro overcomes her addictions, one by one; and most of all, cheer her on as she confronts her demons. Packed with insights (and cheaper than therapy), this memoir should be required reading for anyone seeking to reinvent themselves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alana Joblin on January 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Susan Shapiro's honesty, humor, and talent as a storyteller make Lighting Up an irresistible read. As her second memoir, following Five Men Who Broke My Heart, this book offers even more insight into Shapiro's sharp mind and vulnerable heart. It is impossible not to relate on some level to her fascination, curiosity, and ultimately, obsession with her addiction therapist, Dr. Winters. It was also great fun to be reunited with some of the characters from her first memoir. The real heart of this book is not just in Shapiro's witty observations, but in her complex insights and relationships with the people she loves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Burt-wang on January 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
as an ex-smoker, i found this fast-paced, fresh, hysterically funny take on addiction to be right on target. shapiro's got a knack for making keen, insightful observations, particularly on family and the nature of dependency - the hilarious scene where she goes back home to see her parents and brothers after getting clean really rings true. but Lighting Up is more than just a book about substance abuse - it chronicles the universal struggle to be a sane, functioning human being in this crazy world.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Memoiraddict on May 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book enormously. But I also have mixed feelings about it. The writing was snappy and comedic without being cutesy or gimmicky. By the end of the book, I was dying to move back to NYC and ask Dr. W to help me fix MY life. However, Shapiro's description of herself scared me a little. Her utter self-centeredness and self-absorption seemed to play into my theory that people who never have children never really grow up themselves. I am a childless woman in her 30s who may never have children. The book made me worry that I am or will become someone so selfish that I can't even empathize with another person's childcare issues or problems. (EG Shapiro is often completely unsympathetic when her therapist sometimes cancels appointments for personal reasons involving his daughter)I know that in the book Shapiro eventually does come to empathize with those who don't always put her needs first. Perhaps she is just honestly describing the temper tantrum-ish first response. It just seems like she is still stuck in this child's version of an adult world.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laura H. Rubens on August 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was an honest and provocative look at the life of an addict. Many people have different stories about how they cope with being an addict, but Susan Shapiro takes you inside the dark web of her addictions in a completely fresh and mind altering way! READ THIS BOOK! I LOVED IT!
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