Sunday, May 1, 2011
Book Talk: Smashed by Koren Zailckas
This book is a memoir of the author’s “girlhood,” or the years between 14 (her first drink) and 23 (when she gave up the booze for good). It describes her obsessive love affair with alcohol including trips to the hospital, waking up in strange places, and hangovers she describes in sickening detail. This book is of particular interest to Klub Katalogers because she spends her undergrad years at our Alma Mater – even mentioning Bird Library on two occasions: the first when she studies “among poetry volumes that haven’t been checked out since the early eighties” and the second when Koren is asked to meet her friend on the steps outside so that she can confess the previous evening’s suicide attempt. As you can see from these brief examples, Smashed is at times quite depressing. However, it is a fascinating and engrossing tale of near-misses and complete disasters that will keep the reader’s attention. The sheer number of different alcoholic combinations (to say nothing of volume) she describes is staggering. I would recommend it for readers of fiction and memoir. I would NOT recommend it for mothers of teenage daughters unless you want to be responsible for the ensuing panic attack and psychiatry bill.