Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thing 1's Book 5 : Smashed

Zoren Zailckas' Smashed is the story of a young woman's relationship with alcohol.  She says very early on in the book that she's not an alcoholic but only that she abuses alcohol. For about the first half of the book, I was sympathetic of her issues - she was clearly drinking to fit in and make friends and I felt bad for her. However, her drinking started to move past fitting in to being horribly destructive and the complete focus of her existence. At one point, her mother visits her during the summer and she's not only so hungover that she can't go for a walk with her mother without being sick every couple of blocks but she had even called her mother before she left and warned her that she'd be hungover. I don't see how this wasn't a red flag for the mother. Or, how this girl was still so irresponsible in her early twenties that she'd go out and get completely hammered the night before her mother visits her.

All that aside, she's writing the book in her post-college years having given up drinking entirely. By the end, I completely lost all sympathy for her and thought she was a bit of a spoiled, self-centred, melodramatic brat. Part of the problem was probably that she had only recently quit drinking when she wrote the book so she was a bit holier-than-thou and preachy about everything. If she had waited a few more years before writing the book, I think it would have been completely different. She had no other life experiences to give her any perspective and it showed. And I don't want to dispute that she had a problem with alcohol, because I think she did, but she seems to have forgotten that drinking is a huge part of the college experience.  I think some of the escapades were supposed to shock the reader but really just sounded like the average college experience.

Anyway, I did like the writing and I would pick up another book by Zailckas but only if drinking had absolutely nothing to do with it.

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