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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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Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking, and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex + Five Men Who Broke My Heart + Only as Good as Your Word: Writing Lessons from My Favorite Literary Gurus
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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 (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Susan Shapiro's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, The Nation, Cosmopolitan, People, and many other publications. She lives with her husband in Greenwich Village, where she teaches writing at New York University and the New School.


From the Hardcover edition.

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

Page for page, Susan Shapiro is a great writer.
J. Burdick
This book is not only eye opening and profound, but it's an incredibly easy and enjoyable read.
Lindsay
Her determination is an inspiration to anyone who is struggling with an addiction.
Amber Parrish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarah K. Jones 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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3 of 3 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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5 of 6 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anna King on August 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is funny as hell and hard to put down - can emphasis with someone who writes about her struggles with giving up smoking and drinking while living "in the center of Manhattan, where I could get any substance I wanted delivered within twenty minutes"...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gina Ryder on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
While reading Lighting Up, I quit smoking. My withdraw began the moment the book ended. Without Shapiro's voice to guide me through my own nicotine addiction, I was forced to accept my own sober misery. In an instant gratification society, it's easy to give into vices to hide what keeps us from happiness--our own neurosis. Shapiro's quest for overall health is about clearing smoke. Getting rid of the smoke destroying your lungs is fairy simple. But releasing the smoke in your heart is very tough. It becomes easier after joining Shapiro as she liberates herself and her readers by sharing her raw human emotions. Most stray away from showing weakness. Not Shapiro. She's a fearless memoirist, full of stories that ignite an even bigger fire--the power to be yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Agnes Scott on March 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Ms. Shapiro tackles her subject matter in a way not usually seen in this genre: hilariously and honestly. Using humor to convey her struggles with addiction doesn't diminish her suffering; rather, by portraying herself as neither victim nor heroine, she sheds a very human light on a subject to which so many of us can relate. If you're looking for hand holding or spiritual enlightenment, you won't find it in the pages of "Lighting Up," and for this I am very thankful. Not only was I entertained, but I was inspired by Shapiro's straightforwardness and success to finally address my own addictions with my therapist. A great read.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Burdick on August 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a psychologist who specializes (and has coped) with addiction. This book is a must read! Page for page, Susan Shapiro is a great writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christie Grotheim on October 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a 40-year-old who recently gave up carbs, drinking, smoking, and in the process of giving up Nicorette, I really related to Sue Shapiro's book. Brutally honest and infused with humor, the book offered plenty of engaging anecdotes--and insight from Dr. Winters--who became my shrink as well. I especially liked the writing and language in Chapters 2 and 17, breaking out of the narrative into a fast-paced, back and forth stream of consciousness that really captured the essence of how neurotic one feels in the throws of giving up and addiction:

"Remembered that Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg swore by dope. Admitted I never loved the writing of Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsburg. Recalled Rastafarians' claim that cannabis was a sacrament that heightened spirituality. Admitted I'd never been religious or spiritual."

The memoir touches on deeper issues, such as depression, growing older, and body image. The author deprives herself of so much from her drugs of choice to lollipops, candy and gum, and finally wrestles with her main addiction, Dr. Winters, whom she was clearly obsessed with throughout the second half of the book. When she finally puts that relationship in perspective, her marriage becomes stronger, and more importantly, she takes back control of her own life.
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