- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback (May 12, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780385315548
- ISBN-13: 978-0385315548
- ASIN: 0385315546
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 471 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Drinking: A Love Story Paperback – May 12, 1997
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“Quietly moving . . . Caroline Knapp dazzles us with her heady description of alcohol's allure and its devastating hold.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Filled with hard-won wisdom . . . [a] perceptive and revealing book.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Eloquent . . . a remarkable exercise in self-discovery.”—The New York Times
“Drinking not only describes triumph; it is one.”—Newsweek
From the Publisher
Fifteen million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of them are women. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as "liquid armor," a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it. Copyright 1996 by Caroline Knapp
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Many of us alkies have wondered if we drank because we had problems or we had problems because we drank. While I believe it's a little of both, Knapp makes a good case for the use of alcohol being the bedrock and origin of the secrecy and dishonesty which becomes completely interwoven with the negative end results alkies put themselves and others through.
I thought the material covering her parents was a little overdone and long, but there is a lot to be gleaned from their difficulties, which so severely affected the author. I've read the book twice and gleaned different things from it the second time around. Very worthwhile.
Unfortunately, Ms. Knapp's life took a darker path. Her memoir does give little snippets of alcoholism trivia, but it primarily describes her gradual descent into drinking hell. There is a little questionnaire on page 121 of the paperback edition that you may find helpful. Mercy, not only could this lady drink but she also was one heck of a writer. Despite being very intelligent and doing well in the business world, the author's life was a mess due to alcohol. Ms. Knapp was brutally sincere in her presentation, but her massive insecurities that permeate the memoir were getting on my nerves near the end of the story. My tolerance for reading about someone's self-destructive nature seems to be about 200 pages before I have visions of wanting to slap some sense into the author. For a career woman, she certainly didn't have a feminist mind-set. She allowed alcohol to be her excuse for rationalizing some pretty nasty, narcissistic actions. Despite the author's eloquent, cogent account, it's still difficult for me to see how someone could hide liquor bottles so they could sneak shots or drink practically every day and NOT think they have a major problem. I guess we humans can rationalize doing anything.
I've talked with quite a few people over the years whose lives had been messed up because of alcohol. Some clearly saw that liquor was not an escape from their problems but actually contributed to their difficulties; others still live in denial. Drug use has been a part of civilization since cavemen probably ate fermented fruit. It'll never go away. The stuff is so prevalent, celebrated, and legions of people use it to self-medicate. Of course, the same could be said about hoovering junk food. 'Drinking: A Love Story' has smatterings of humor, but more often are events that felt like I was punched in the gut. The story about her half-brother Wicky made me nauseous. The major thing that helped me by reading Ms. Knapp's memoir was realizing that many stories people have told me or I've read over the years seemed very illogical in their actions but could be explained if liquor was involved. It never dawned on me to think of it in that way. It's breathtaking to consider how often alcohol is involved when issues such as date rape, murder, destroyed marriages, theft, and whatnot are the issue. You may find that Ms. Knapp's trials and tribulations will resonate for you and help you take the first steps towards living a better, happier life. That would be priceless. The book is never boring.