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Surviving in Spirit: A Memoir about Sisterhood and Addiction [Kindle Edition with Audio/Video]

Melanie Berliet , Thought Catalog
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What prompts a young woman to abandon the safe bounds of convention for the unknown? At first, all Mélanie Berliet understood was that she'd lost her sense of what 'supposed to' meant. And that her older sister Céline was sick. 

While it's tough to understand what leads a person into addiction--to witness someone you love kind-of kill herself--the truth is that you can learn from it. By the time Céline died at age 30, she was Kermit The Frog green and she vomited blood more frequently than she was able to eat. In less than a decade, she had gone from summa cum laude Columbia graduate to NYU PhD student to unemployed, rambling, stumbling drunk saddled with a cirrhotic liver beyond repair. By the time Céline died, her younger sister Mélanie was no longer a Miss Goody Two Shoes from a waspy Connecticut suburb trotting down the sensible path. She was an adult who had abandoned a secure job on Wall Street to establish a career as a writer committed to exploring fascinating subcultures. 

As Céline's illness escalated, you see, a basic lesson crept up on Mélanie: Life is beautifully short, and fragile as hell. Life happens. Gradually, Mélanie stopped agonizing over what she was supposed to do/think/know/read/listen to/watch/feel, or who she was supposed to be/befriend/love/like/learn from. So she pitched projects that sounded crazy and/or dangerous to most, but which gave her a thrill and helped her establish a career as an immersive journalist. She grew some balls, so to speak, after freeing herself from caring about what others might think.
The devastating beauty of what happened to Céline forced Mélanie to question who she is. However unwittingly, in dying, Céline empowered her younger sister to take risks--to live. This is their story.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gripping from the first page, beautifully written, and thought provoking throughout, Surviving In Spirit is a dazzling memoir, an ultimately uplifting story and a truly valuable read."
- BlackBook Magazine


"Mélanie's writing is honest and thought provoking, but also entertaining. Without a doubt, she keeps it interesting."
Jared Cohen, author of The New Digital Age


 "Inspired by her sister's untimely death to buck convention and lead a full life, Mélanie's story is uniquely tragic, but relatable to anyone familiar with life's capacity to shock and the challenge of searching for self. This book will resonate with you long after you've finished it." 
Meghan McCain, author of America, You Sexy Bitch


"You should be very excited to read about Melanie's adventures with addiction and married men since it's probably the safest way to experience both."
Joel Stein, author of Man Made: In Which a Dad Learns to be a Man for His Son


"Mélanie's writing is funny, sexy, and intelligent." 
Brian Donovan, author of Not A Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters

About the Author

Mélanie Berliet (Est. Charlottesville, Virginia, 1981) is a New York City based immersive journalist who delves into fascinating subcultures and reports on her experiences firsthand. The intrepid writer's work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The New York Observer, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Esquire, and Playboy, among other publications. Many of Berliet's stories have gone viral, and she has appeared on national television frequently (20/20, The Insider, Raising McCain) to discuss her work and her unique investigative approach. As a producer, Berliet consulted on MTV's hit unscripted show, The Buried Life. She has created original programming for both the web and television. Her likes include knee high tube socks, acrostic poetry, her brother, and the color navy blue.

Product Details

  • File Size: 68971 KB
  • Print Length: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Thought Catalog (January 28, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HX4QLC2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,951 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest & Memorable Memoir! February 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
From page one, I was very much drawn into Melanie's open and honest memoir. The interplay of recollections from childhood and present day was a very smart way to unveil a story about sisterly love, finding one's way career-wise, and the impact addiction can have on everyone closely involved. While the ups and downs of Melanie's sister's health were quite tragic, Melanie was able to turn those into a catalyst for change in her life, which is the silver lining in this story.

I really enjoyed the balance of witty humor and sheer honesty of Melanie's writing, and I can't wait to to see what she comes out with next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of Melanie's articles and was really excited to read this book. Just like all of her work, it's honest and hilarious, but this book was especially touching and you can tell that everything she's written is sincere. There's so much to relate to in this book, even if you don't have any experience with addiction. It's a great read and I guarantee you'll finish it in one sitting. I can't wait for her next book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and real February 9, 2014
By JKL
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
Melanie's memoir is a heartbreaking account of losing her beloved sister to alcoholism. Despite the deep loss and sadness that is palpable on every page, Melanie is able to find hope, humor and the willingness to go on. Her story is brave and beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE AFFIRMING January 31, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
Mélanie achieves the impossible; telling her story of loss with equal measures of wit, heart and candor. Her spirit leaps off the pages and inspires, moves and entertains the reader from beginning to end. Felt a sense of loss finishing this book. Every word will stay with me for life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What drives someone to drastically change course? January 31, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
In Melanie Berliet's case, it was her sister. Her sister's course changed drastically. And not in a good way.

But in dealing with her sister's decline and journey down the wrong path, Melanie realizes that she herself is going the wrong direction.

A great read for those who have loved ones dealing with addiction. Also a great read if you've found yourself wondering whether you need to change the path you're on. Because if you're wondering that, you probably do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, honest and hysterical! January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
I was very excited for the release of Melanie's book and as expected, I have not been able to put it down! Her writing is honest yet humorous at the same time. The book goes much deeper than Melanie's stories about sisterhood and addiction and there is certainly something for everyone to relate to. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more of Melanie's writing!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking but beautifully written January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video
Really impressed by this unflinching memoir from the always great Melanie Berliet. Incredibly honest, but not without its share of humor. Would recommend highly, especially if you have friends or a family member struggling with the horrors of addiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Read of this Year April 15, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video
Did know what way this book was going to go when I first started to read it but it was amazing from start to finish! Definitely my favourite read so far of this year!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
I just loved Melanie Berliet's memoir. Her brutal, yet tender story of her sister's addiction is so honest and beautifully written. Read more
Published 1 day ago by jasmine lobe
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Highly Recommended
I'm really impressed with this piece for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the broad applicability of its message. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Louis Pecora
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, thoughtful and honest
I found myself laughing my way through this heartbreaking story of family, friendship, alcoholism and the traumatic death of a loved one. Read more
Published 9 days ago by bryn schuyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible - can't wait for more
This is an excellent read, very honest and moving. Left me wanting more from this writer, whose journalism I already adore. Hope she writes a full-length book
Published 10 days ago by annabelmaud
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Self serving and self promoting. Not emotional about the deceased sister nor delve deep into underlying issues... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurt J. A driving force
How sadness and disappointment over a loved ones life can instill a new meaning and greater impetus in yours. Read more
Published 16 days ago by kurt jacobson
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, frank, and original
Melanie's writing, always brazen and often shocking, is perfectly captured in her memoir (which I hope is the first of many from her). Read more
Published 19 days ago by sticky ricardo
3.0 out of 5 stars WAYYYYY TOO SHORT
I normally look at how many pages I am getting before I purchase an inexpensive book (free-$5 or so) but since I paid about $8 for the kindle addition I assumed it was an... Read more
Published 19 days ago by heather
5.0 out of 5 stars Carefully observed and unfussy
This book could easily have fallen into a number of melodramatic traps that might even make it a bestseller. Read more
Published 20 days ago by marco north
5.0 out of 5 stars authentic, brilliant, and courageous writing.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Melanie about a project I was working on a few months ago and we immediately made a connection on the phone. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Colette Bennett
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More About the Author

Mélanie Berliet (Est. Charlottesville, Virginia, 1981) is a New York City based immersive journalist who delves into fascinating subcultures and reports on her experiences firsthand. The intrepid writer's work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The New York Observer, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Esquire, and Playboy, among other publications. Many of Berliet's stories have gone viral, and she has appeared on national television frequently (20/20, The Insider, Raising McCain) to discuss her work and her unique investigative approach. As a producer, Berliet consulted on MTV's hit unscripted show, The Buried Life. She has created original programming for both the web and television. Her likes include knee high tube socks, acrostic poetry, her brother, and the color navy blue.

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