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Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget Kindle Edition
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For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.
But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.
A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure -- the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It's about giving up the thing you cherish most -- but getting yourself back in return.
An Amazon Best Book of June 2015: Bracing and heartbreakingly honest, Sarah Hepola’s memoir Blackout tears off the Band-Aid of her alcohol addiction and takes a whole lot of skin with it, too. Thirty-something and a successful writer in Manhattan, Hepola turns at night to the embrace of alcohol. When her drinking transforms from a gentle suitor into an uncontrollable beast, Hepola begins to black out regularly, operating for all the world as if she’s fully aware and conscious but with no memory later of what she did. Her blackouts lead to sex with strange men and force longtime friends to take a cautious step back, and after several unsuccessful starts, Hepola finally completes the grueling process of getting clean. Hepola’s wry voice stays on the sane side of raw but doesn’t relinquish any power of authenticity as she casts a light on her own bad decisions as well the fact we now live in a culture where women getting tipsy or drunk is considered a sign of female empowerment. You don’t need to be enthralled by alcohol to be deeply affected by Blackout. But for those who do worry—or know—that they have similar struggles, Hepola’s ultimately uplifting story could help lead the way out of the rabbit hole of alcohol abuse. --Adrian Liang--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00O7X61DQ
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing (June 23, 2015)
- Publication date : June 23, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 852 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 241 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #79,295 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2015
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Top reviews from the United States
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My critique is split into three parts.
Part 1: The main bulk of the book. Probably 85-90% of the book. Very very well written. A flabbergasting and brutally honest chronicle of the mechanics of alcoholism and a description of its effects on every bit of her life. Hard to believe anyone in the world would read this and still want to go get drunk. But as Sarah illustrates, alcoholism plays cruel games on your mind, so who knows, some folks may read this and still feel like getting a drink…
Hepola's writing style is engaging and quick. Great language skills. On the flip side of this compliment, I would also give my only real critique. I don't mean this in a bad way, but I think, at times, Hepola tries a bit too hard to be witty. I felt like salvos of "smart-ass" language (for lack of a better term) were raining down on me. Admittedly, a lot of it -- most of it, actually -- was in fact very witty and entertaining. I just had a nagging sense that she was trying harder than was called for or needed in order to make her point. Her story is so powerful and compelling that I suspect that even had she written it using a 4th grader's vocabulary, it still would have been equally captivating. On the extremely remote chance that Sarah is actually reading this, I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way. Not trying to be mean.
Part 2: The few chapters after she quits drinking. These are last few chapters, maybe 10-15% of the book. Like a highly skilled and seasoned journalist/reporter/blogger, Sarah “reported” her life fantastically well up until the point she finally quits drinking. But somehow, at that point in the book, I think Sarah struggled with trying to put together a grand "message to the world". I don’t know if/why she felt her story was not enough on its own. But to me, I felt like I was a tad getting lost in philosophical discussion where it was not really needed. Unlike the rest of the book, here I felt she used way too many words to say something that could have been expressed in a few short paragraphs. Again, not a crime and does not diminish from the overall quality of the work. Just my two cents, but I think those last chapters don't do justice to the rest of the book and the quality of her writing.
Part 3: The final part. I’m not even sure Sarah considers this an official part of the book. It’s just a few pages, after the end of the book. Not an epilog. I don't want to spoil this for anyone, so am being a bit vague in order to not give away too much. Basically, Sarah reviews some of the sources inspiration she had for this book and how to write it. Holy s*** --- that was a home run! Reading that was what brought everything together. Suddenly, dozens of things in the book just fell into place and made sense. You know how sometimes you’re listening to the radio. You hear a song and you just KNOW what the next song will be. You have common roots and associations with the musical editor and you are thinking on the same wave length. So this is what I felt reading the end of her book. I suddenly knew EXACTLY where she was inspired and by whom. It was like Spock’s Vulcan Mind Meld. I was inside Sarah’s head and she was in mine. What was just a sense while reading of “who does that remind me of” or “why is this so strangely reminding me of a certain book or movie” – it all became a joyful and brilliant cornucopia of being able to attribute so many things in the book to common sources of inspiration. She managed to do this and still be legit and original! Not one ounce of copying from anyone else, just pure inspiration that must have been infused into her very core over decades. I loved it! It was so powerful. So part 3 was actually incredibly important for me and is what elevated the book back to a 5 for me. My final note on this is that I had never noticed this literary technique used before of specifically listing sources of inspiration the way she had done it. Like almost everything else in the world, I’m assuming it’s been done before (Incidentally, in the book there is probably the best one-liner on earth for these cases – look up the word Zebra and you’ll find it…). If not, and for some reason Sarah is the first to have used such a technique --- then major league kudos!
I'm going to quote her, because like Carrie Fisher's book Wishful Drinking, no one can use ordinary words to such amazing affect. "This is true strength. To want what you have, and not what someone else is holding." page 209
"Maybe you're one of those lucky fellows who can slurp your whisky all afternoon and never disappear into the drink." page 2 When Sarah talks about her blackouts, she puts the feeling perfectly.
"My evenings come with trapdoors." page 2 "Women now empowered by every thing a woman does." page 10 How perfectly put. We women want power so badly that we grasp at bad habits like drinking and smoking as symbols of empowerment, when they are really things that will bring us down.
Sarah is reading a questionnaire to see if she's an alcoholic. "Next question: Do you ever drink to get drunk? Good lord. Why else would a person drink? To cure cancer?" page 11
"People on the winning team rarely nice that game is rigged." page 144 Sarah has just explained politics in one sentence.
And here's one of my favorite lines. "Now I realized what sadistic game drinking played. It built up your confidence at the very moment you were looking your worst." page 191 That one stung. What hasn't either been the one who drank to much and did a karaoke-pole-dance, or watched someone bring out their inner performer-minus the talent after a few shots?
And lastly, Sarah gives us the reason so many of us are afraid to quit drinking. "People who quit drinking become terrified they will lose their power. They believe booze make them the people they want to be. A better mother. A better lover. A better friend. Alcohol is one hell of a pitchman, and perhaps the greats lie is convincing us we need him, even as he tears us apart." page 204 No one could have said it better.
Thank you Sarah, for you wit and wisdom and courage to quite drinking so I can enjoy your writing for a long time.
Top reviews from other countries
Sarah’s story of her descent into alcohol-dependency had me gripped at every turn and had me willing her to get through all the obstacles she faced along her journey.
Tackled with humour and insight, the narrative isn’t one of despair or bragging - it provided a window into alcoholism and into a personal struggle with my own demons (we all have our poisons to deal with them so I delighted as Sarah faced hers and found contentment with who she is). If you’re looking for an honest short biography by a talented writer - this should be your choice.
As an aside, if you’ve read Bryony Gordon’s books, this will be right up your street! Enjoy!