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Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Koren Zailckas

Narrated By: Ellen Archer

Publisher: Tantor Media

Date: April 2005

Duration: 10 hours 34 minutes

Summary:

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 describes 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.

Zailckas's 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 alcoholics-yet-but 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.

Genres:

  • Anonymous

    As a high school counselor, I listened to this book thinking it might help me understand self-abuse. I must confess that it only left me more confused. Even after hours of listening, I still cannot comprehend why someone fairly intelligent can keep making the same mistakes again and again. I also found the author's parents incomprehensible. How could they ignore the danger signs - and then have their younger daughter also go in the same direction? Even so,I think the selection was worth listening to.

  • Anonymous

    This is a book about excess. Excess alcohol, excess metaphors. It's hard to decide which is more repelling-- the author's repeated debauchery in the cistern of alcoholism or her over-metaphored writing style. I found both equally hard to take. As a father of daughters, I hoped to gain some insight into peer pressures girls and young women face so I perservered to the end of this too-long tome. Big mistake. Read any chapter in the middle of the book and you have "the take home message". I could sacrifice wading through an unappealing writing style for the sake of knowledge but it was a struggle that was singularly unrewarding. I wish the author well in her stuggle to remain sober and to eke out a living with her writing.

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely LOVED this book! I couldn't wait to get back into my car for my commute just to listen to it. Amazing!

  • Anonymous

    This book is a little boring. Not because it is badly written, but because the author is too young to be writing memoirs. What she considers to be "revelations" - for example - that frats are filled with way too much testosterone and create a group mentality that in some cases can be dangerous, are not news to anyone else, except maybe the types of sheltered young women who join sororities. This book involves a lot of navel gazing, and the pivotal moments in her life that she records are only pivotal moments because the author is 22 or 23. I agree with another review that I read which implies that the author was simply looking for something to write about taken from her uneventful life.

  • Anonymous

    never even listened to these, the first set was so uninteresting. Guess that must be what it's like to be perpetually drunk

  • Michelle Laws

    Author makes a big deal out of nothing. This is the story of most sorority girls in college. It gets a little more interesting after she leaves college but nothing compared to real stories about alcoholics, such as Alcohol: A love story, or Dry. Author struck me as needing a tale because she is a writer.

  • Anonymous

    The story jumps around a bit, but overall it's worth the time--there are some real lessons to be learned in Zailcka's experience. This book demonstrates how even 'good' girls from stable and loving families can find themselves in the self destructive pattern of alcohol abuse so early in life. The story really hit home for me, having only been out of college a few years myself and having witnessed many of the behaviors she describes. I can't help thinking of how different college, or even high school, might be for so many girls if they only read this book early enough.

  • Anonymous

    I was not as impressed with this book as I thought I would be. It was almost as if I kept waiting for it to get started or maybe it just seemed that the writer would give you just enough info to get you interested then make you guess what happened. There were too many "years later........" Isn't this girl only like 24 or 25 and didn't she just write the book? Anyway, I am glad she was able to stop her self-destructive behavior.