Smashed | Book Review

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
Published By: Penguin, 2006
Pages: 384
Genre(s): Memoir
Rating: 4.5/5 (5/5 on Goodreads)
Purchase it here.

Garnering a vast amount of attention from young people and parents, and from book buyers across the country, Smashed became a media sensation and a New York Times bestseller. Eye-opening and utterly gripping, Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics yet but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment.

With one stiff sip of Southern Comfort at the age of fourteen, Zailckas is initiated into the world of drinking. From then on, she will drink faithfully, fanatically. In high school, her experimentation will lead to a stomach pumping. In college, her excess will give way to a pattern of self-poisoning that will grow more destructive each year. At age twenty-two, Zailckas will wake up in an unfamiliar apartment in New York City, elbow her friend who is passed out next to her, and ask, “Where are we?” Smashed is a sober look at how she got there and, after years of blackouts and smashups, what it took for her to realize she had to stop drinking. Smashed is an astonishing literary debut destined to become a classic.


Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment. With one stiff sip of Southern Comfort at the age of fourteen, Zailckas is initiated into the world of drinking. From then on, she will drink faithfully, fanatically. In high school, her experimentation will lead to a stomach pumping. In college, her excess will give way to a pattern of self-poisoning that will grow more destructive each year. At age twenty-two, Zailckas will wake up in an unfamiliar apartment in New York City, elbow her friend who is passed out next to her, and ask, “Where are we?” Smashed is a sober look at how she got there and, after years of blackouts and smashups, what it took for her to realize she had to stop drinking.

Since reading other reviews, I believe I’m in the minority when I say that I loved this memoir. But I’m going to stick to it. I really enjoyed this memoir and will probably reread it again. Repeatedly.

I think memoirs have become my favorite genre of books to read, but they are difficult to review, to be honest, because you really can’t critique the content since it’s the author’s own experience so I’m going to stick to reviewing the delivery.
Most of the reviews I’ve read, the reviewer just hated the way Zailckas wrote but personally, I really really enjoyed her writing style- it was very easy to read but insightful at the same time. She was honest and held nothing back and I found it to be quite relatable. I say that because I have friends and family members who are abusers of alcohol, and I’ve also experienced a “phase” my freshman year of college where I was no different. I do believe in order to appreciate this book, you’ll have to have some sort of connection to it- be it yourself or a friend/family member, otherwise the content in will just go right over your head. That’s just my opinion, anyways.


 

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