Smashed by Koren Zailckas

I fell into possession of this book quite by accident. A colleague was leaving her position at the Mental Hospital where I work and it was one of two books that she owned. She told me I could have them.

I read this in piece meal fashion. It’s a fascinating read, not just for the content but for the messages that the author sends. For instance, she takes a lot of criticism for seeming to blame men throughout the book. I think this criticism is justified. She seems to act as if drinking is only a female problem and all men are predators who use this truth to pounce on the poor drunken sods of women.

She comes across as extremely angry. It’s hard to understand what she is so angry about though. Is it her idyllic childhood? Is it her doting parents? Is her fortune to be born to a well to do family? She never really explores that aspect of her drunkenness. She is more than willing to help you understand how the rest of society directed her to drinking though.
She even ruined what I thought was a beautiful rant against the word, “whatever.” You know how that word gets thrown around when someone is forced to see the cognitive dissonance their living inside with? I was actually shaking my head in agreement, then she ruined it buy claiming it for womankind as if men don’t say it.
Throughout the book, one could almost get the idea that the only reason poor miss Zailckas drank was because society pushed her that way.

There is also some very poignant statements in this book. In one chapter she states, “A rare truth falls over me like the glare from streetlights. I know that as long as I keep drinking, I will drive back everyone who is good-natured. Only people who are as drunk and as damaged as I am will stay.”

It is moments of refreshing honesty such as this one that make this book one that sticks with the reader. She is strait up and she writes with a style that is very engaging, almost as if she is a friend whispering to you sordid details of her life. This is the genius and the greatest failure of the book, because as a friend that might be whispering the short-comings of her life, the author seems to fail to see her own responsibility in the situation.

She can turn a simile like a skilled pitcher dropping a curveball on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded. If this book is any indication she is truly a skilled artist and I will look for more books from her.

4.5 stars


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Filed under Mental Health, Society

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