Smashed Story of a Drunken Girlhood Author:Koren Zailckas From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old Koren Zailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring how binge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." With the stylistic freshness of a poet and the dramatic gifts of a novelist, Zailckas describe... more »s her first sip at fourteen, alcohol poisoning at sixteen, a blacked-out sexual experience at nineteen, total disorientation after waking up in an unfamiliar New York City apartment at twenty-two, when she realized she had to stop, and all the depression, rage, troubled friendships, and sputtering romantic connections in between. Zailckass unflinching candor and exquisite analytical eye gets to the meaning beneath the seeming banality of girls getting drunk. She persuades us that her story is the story of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholicsyetbut who use booze as a short cut to courage, a stand-in for good judgment, and a bludgeon for shyness, each of them failing to see how their emotional distress, unarticulated hostility, and depression are entangled with their socially condoned binging.
Like the contemporary masterpieces The Liars Club, Autobiography of a Face, and Jarhead, Smashed is destined to become a classic. A crucial book for any woman who has succumbed to oblivion through booze, or for anyone ready to face the more subtle repercussions of their own chronic over-drinking or of someone they love, Smashed is an eye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement.« less
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I didn't finish the book... I quit reading at page 209. I was expecting this book to be more of a cautionary tale of how excessive drinking can be damaging to young women. Maybe if I had kept reading, I would have gotten to that part. But the first 200 pages were nothing more than a girl with low self-esteem recounting her drunken escapades. I found it very difficult to like Koren or feel any empathy for her.
An honest, hard look at alcohol abuse. I saw in Koren bits of myself, and many a past friend. Heck, parts of it even made me miss getting drunk, but mostly it makes me realize how easy it is and how acceptable society makes it for anyone to abuse alcohol. I think it's a great book that everyone should read.
I thought this book was awesome. I read it very quickly and always looked forward to getting time to read it. The author and many of her friends reminded me so much of so many of my peers. All teenagers should read this book! It is both an entertaining and heartfelt memoir as well as a cautionary tale on the "harmless" binge drinking fad running rampant in so many high schools and colleges in our country.
This isn't just one girl's story of sneaking drinks in junior high, creeping out for night-long keg parties in high school and binge-drinking weeknights and weekends through collegeit's also a valuable cautionary tale. At 24 (her present age), Zailckas gave up drinking after a decade of getting drunk, having blackouts and experiencing brushes with comas, date rape and suicide. She weaves disturbing statistics (from Harvard School of Public Heath studies and elsewhere) into her memoir: most girls will have their first drink by age 12, and will have the experience of being drunk by 14; teenage girls drink as much as their male peers, but their bodies process it badly (they get drunk faster, stay drunk longer and are more likely to die of alcohol poisoning); and date rape and booze go hand-in-hand. Zailckas had alcohol poisoning at 16 after a night of downing shots at a party with friends, but having her stomach pumped in the emergency room and enduring a month of being grounded didn't check her desire to drink. Fraternity keg parties led to drunken sexual encounters not-quite-remembered; drinking began to replace intimacy. Alcohol defined Zailckas's adolescence and college years to such an extent that, as she tells it, she lacks the tools to be an adult: she's unsure how to maintain relationships and unclear about sex without an alcohol buzz. Zailckas is unsparingly insightful and acutely aware of what drinking can and does do to girls. She explains that while kids are taught that drugs are always dangerous, alcohol is perceived as an acceptable rite of passage. Her book is deeply moving, written in poetic, nuanced prose that never obscures the dangerous truths she seeks to reveal.
An affecting memoir. Zailckas does well in her description of her addiction and the escalation from normal college student to alcoholic. Enjoyed the book enough to pick up her next book at a bookstore!
Kept me interested, although the writing was somewhat juvenile but I was still entertained. Koren tells her story of her journey through drinking for most of her life and if you began at an early age it is easy to relate to.