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Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to…

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

by Sarah Hepola

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3341451,379 (3.81)11
A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, BLACKOUT is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure--the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It's about giving up the thing you cherish most--but getting yourself back in return.… (more)



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A touchingly honest memoir about being a woman who drinks. Highly recommended. ( )
  dianawr | Nov 29, 2018 |
I came upon Hepola’s memoir of alcoholism shortly after completing Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering—a self-absorbed and unwieldy tome, which I only disliked more and more after finishing it. Maybe it’s unfair to compare the two books, but the two authors’ descent(s) into alcoholism and many of their life experiences are quite similar. Making comparisons just seems inevitable. First of all, Hepola’s book is short and fast-paced. Although the author is occasionally guilty of the clever, showy writing that so characterizes Jamison’s writing, she has no grand, ambitious plan to write an entirely new kind of choral, symphonic memoir about her experience as an alcoholic. She doesn’t seem to be driven by the same need to show how bright and smart and intellectual she is. Second, there are, thank God, no close analyses of the great drunken novelists (like Jean Rhys and Charles Jackson), inebriated poets (like John Berryman), or famous alcoholic short-story writers (like Raymond Carver). Neither are there visits with and biographies of other reformed alcoholics, sociological riffs on racism or justice issues related to addiction, or lengthy sections on the joys (and stories and corny cliches) of Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the end, Hepola’s book is simply her story. It addresses the early signs (in childhood and in her teen-aged years) that alcohol was going to be a problem, the emotions that fueled her addiction, the attempts of friends and family to intervene and support her, her disastrous relationships with men, the degree to which her drinking took over her life, and (of course) the blackouts. Hepola initially struggled with recovery and continues to attend AA. I enjoyed her illuminating book, understood why her friends stood by her, and was moved to learn that she attained sobriety. I would certainly read more by her. ( )
1 vote fountainoverflows | Jun 20, 2018 |
I found this book interesting and sadly a little too familiar. I have experienced some of the same things. It was interesting to read from another person's point of view. ( )
1 vote ShellyM71 | Mar 22, 2018 |
I read this book upon recommendation from a friend and I have to be honest and say that I don't know how I feel about it. I thought it was well-written and a good read but I never felt that captivating sense of "I must turn the page!" Maybe I don't feel like the raw emotion it seemed Hepola was aiming for really came through. The end of the book was also more sentimental than I expected it to be. I honestly feel like I was a little robbed in that respect; it felt like I was reading other people's endings not her own. ( )
  startwithgivens | Mar 21, 2018 |
Blackout is the memoir of Sarah Hepola a writer who has had a love affair with alcohol since a young age—but who experiences the additional effect of blackouts with her drinking—losing hours of her memory, waking up in strange places with strangers. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing. As the blackouts accumulate, she can no longer escape the fact that she is an alcoholic and needs to change or risk the loss of everything in her life. I enjoyed this memoir though I wished she had spent more time on the science around the biological aspect of blackout which I found fascinating—and how this phenomena may relate to other brain changes like dementia. 3 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Jun 23, 2017 |
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