Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Drinking Closer to Home: A Novel Paperback – January 18, 2011
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Blau's second novel (after The Summer of Naked Swim Parties) revolves around a family in crisis after a mother's debilitating heart attack. The troubled adult children of Buzzy and Louise come home to visit their parents on their hippie ranch in Santa Barbara, Cal., "where the days are so sunny you'd swear a nuclear reactor had exploded." Sisters Anna and Portia, and brother Emery, recall the events that led them to their restless present. Emery and his partner, Alejandro, tip-toe around the topic of asking a sister to donate eggs so that they can have a child. During their week-long visit everyone must deal with uncomfortable details about their parents' personal lives, as well as the ghosts of the people they once were, wishing that they could leave their childhood wounds behind once and for all. Blau writes funny, often heartbreaking, and always relatable anecdotes. She aptly describes the family visiting Louise in the hospital: "every day, a moment comes when someone can no longer take sitting in the beeping, stinking room." Blau's lifelike characters are such a joy to get to know that one feels sorry to leave them behind.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The bohemian Southern California Stein family faces a crisis when its matriarch, Louise, suffers a massive heart attack. The three adult children, Anna, Portia, and Emery, return home to hold vigil and commiserate over their unusual upbringing, recalling Louise’s fondness for frequenting the nude beach; her pot habit, which inspired their father to devote his avid gardening skills to cultivating a deluxe homegrown version in their backyard; and Louise’s abdication of her parental role when she gave Emery’s care over to Portia, then age eight. All three have suffered from being raised in a chaotic environment. Anna is chronically unfaithful to her husband, eyeing every male stranger as a potential bedmate. Portia struggles to recover her self-esteem in the wake of her husband’s desertion. Emery, happily in love with his soul mate, Alejandro, has become obsessed with domesticity. Blau uses every trick in a writer’s arsenal to make readers care about this flawed, very human family. From painful humor to poignant scene-setting, she takes no prisoners in her candid look at an unconventional clan. --Joanne Wilkinson
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 60%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
In Drinking Closer to Home, Jessica Anya Blau shows us that dysfunction we get from our parents are only their reactions to the dysfunction they got from their parents. I enjoyed this book, if only because it made me feel like the dysfunction I inherited from my parents isn't nearly as bad as what Buzzy and Louise passed down to their children.
Anna, Portia and Emery are the adult children of Buzzy and Louise who descend on their Santa Barbara ranch when Louise suffers a massive heart attack. The spend the time reminiscing, remember the hurts and triumphs of their lives, from childhood to the near-past.
The family starts off as a upper-middle class family in Ann Arbor, Michigan, living in the kind of neighborhood that is so normal it has to be abnormal behind closed doors. And it is, although Buzzy and Louise seem to be the most normal--at least at that time.
The family packs up and moves across the country for Buzzy's career, landing in California. They move into a picture perfect house with a pool and a lemon orchard. All is wonderful until the moment Louise "quits" as a mom. She quits cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and caring for the children, including baby Emery, whose care she entrusts to Portia. All the children grow up dirty--I think this is what got me the most. Louise begins 'etching' and writing poetry, and Buzzy cultivates marijuana, something he takes great pride in but doesn't smoke. He leaves that to Louise.
I think this is where the book lost my heart. I did not like Louise very much until she is much older. She lives in a completely self-centered world, dropping motherhood like it was an adult education class. Those of us that are mothers may drop responsibilities for a day or two, but could never abandon my children to themselves to indulge my whims. And Buzzy lets it happen. It seems with the money he makes he could hire a nanny/housekeeper, but he just leaves the kids to fend for themselves. And Emery grows up without a mother or a father.
We meet Buzzy's parents, an Orthodox Jewish family who comes to California once a year. They love the girls and Louise (who converted for the marriage and was Sarah for awhile and is the best Kosher cook they know), and really cannot stand poor Emery. This is the only time the house is orderly and clean, an act put on purely for Zeyde and Bubbe.
We also meet Louise's parents, a couple that lives in bucolic Vermont (I love the vision of their house). They are portrayed as completely backasswards, but you kind of like them for it. Otto, Louise's dad, believes that all children born after the first are only backups in case something happens to the oldest, so all the love and affection is poured into the oldest. Anna is adored, Portia is tolerated and Emery is ignored.
As we go through the children's lives and arrive at their adult selves, we realize that the more attention the children got from their parents and grandparents the more screwed up they are. Anna is really a mess, Portia less so (really desperate for love and attention, but in a healthy? way) and Emery is the most stable (probably because he never had any attention or any need of it, he embraced his homosexuality and made it fit into his life in a time when it wasn't quite as acceptable).
I guess if Buzzy and especially Louise were checked though out, they all would have been a little more functional.
That said, the ending is very poignant and did make me laugh and tear up. They are a family and come together when necessary, although PLEASE tell me I haven't messed up my kids this bad.
The characters are well developed and you do care about them. They reminisce with humor and emotion. Again, I liked this book. I just couldn't get past Louise's total lack of motherly feelings--and this brought the book down a notch.
Visit my book review blog at[...]