Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Water by the Spoonful” as Want to Read:
Water by the Spoonful
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Water by the Spoonful (The Elliot Trilogy #2)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The 2012 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Somewhere in Philadelphia, Elliot has returned from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world. Somewhere in a chat room, recovering addicts forge an unbreakable bond of support and love. The boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace as birth families splinter and online f
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Theatre Communications Group
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Water by the Spoonful, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Water by the Spoonful

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 501)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This was a riveting read for me, and a tough one as well. Not tough in that it was hard to get through, but tough in that it was a very emotional play. All of the main characters are going through very hard, emotional, complex situations, and that really comes across in the play. Something about reading it makes you feel as if they are real people, revealing these deeply personal things to you as the play goes on. I felt this especially in the scenes with the online conversations, where it was s ...more
Tex Tourais
Let me first say that I have an innate negative reaction to the word "crackhead" when I see it in a text. I understand that crackheads exist and that their stories are valid and need to be told, but when I see the word, itself... it's a little like the introduction of cancer into a plot line. My initial reaction is always an eyeroll. So... there's that.

This, in case you're a moron, is a story involving crackheads. It is a strong, and in some instances, beautiful story, and I thoroughly enjoyed t
Becky Johnston
I sat down maybe two hours ago to start this play and ended up finishing it; unable to put it down. This is apparently the second of a three play cycle called The Elliot Trilogy. I have not read or seen the first (Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue) or the third, and final, play (The Happiest Song Plays Last). This play, the second, "Water by the Spoonful" stands well enough on it's own that reading/ viewing the other two plays doesn't feel necessary, at least to me. Simply through the strength of Ms. Hu ...more
Jeff Arena
I think that when you read most great plays, you feel the love of the author for every character. Each character, no matter how flawed, is observed with care and compassion. So it is with Water by the Spoonful. The middle of a trilogy, it expands the community of the first play (Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue) in unexpected ways. It also develops a larger world view, using a simple and honest integration of online conversation. This play is full of feeling, an active plot, and layered themes.
Deals with the effects of drug addiction very honestly while maintaining addicts' humanity. The online world was particularly creative, staged as people in chairs doing every day activities like making coffee while speaking their written conversations on an online forum out loud. Here the dialogue between the recovering addicts was especially witty and full of heart. Enjoyed the play, though stories of recovering addicts have never touched me deeply enough to warrant more than 3-stars.
A searing, shining epic genius of a play.

Definitely the best play I've read since Dunsinane.

I think its amazing that Hudes managed to capture the immediacy and intimacy of relationships generated in Internet culture. She really nails it in so many ways. This is something I've struggled to capture in my own work, and found it impossibly difficult.

I love that this play does not shy away from the pain and misery suffered by addicts, but also does not gloss over the pain and misery addicts inflict o
I feel kind of blasphemous saying this, but I thought this place was nice, but not as moving as I expected it to be. The ending was kind of anticlimactic to me. Still a good play, just not on my top ten of 2012.
An amazing play - Hudes gets inside the skin of every character and lays them bear to the reader. Now I am even more sad to have missed a production of this piece at the Adrian theatre in Philadelphia. The story is very real and very moving. It is brutal and haunting, and deeply insightful of human nature. What do people really escape from? What does it mean to struggle? How do you forgive someone you deeply loathe? I am not really able to articulate everything that this play made me feel but su ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Tung rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
Earlier in the year, I read Clybourne Park, the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. At the time, I doubted that another book this year would come along and challenge it for my top book of the year. Water by the Spoonful (winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) doesn’t quite beat out Clybourne Park for my top book for 2012, but it made a strong case for it – this play is outstanding. The book focuses on Elliot, a 24-yr-old Iraqi war veteran; his cousin Yaz; Odessa (Elliot’s mother), ...more
I got mixed up at first trying to figure out who was who but once I got that squared out in my head then things got pretty interesting. There were a couple main stories: 1) Elliot's battle to find life after returning from service in the Iraqi war with the help of his cousin Yaz, and 2) Online chat room adventures of recovering drug addicts. It was fascinating how the two stories ended up intermingling. Elliot wasn't suffering from a drug addiction but his mother was the founder of the Onli
I read this while sitting in my school's makeup room while the play was being performed by the wonderful IBTA Year 1 Class. I loved reading it and I really look forward to seeing how they are going to bring it to life. I can't even really articulate how and why this play was wonderful other than it just felt real. It was very real and raw and I love when things do that. I'm not a theatre student so I can't tell you what made this a good play due to technique, but emotionally it was very powerful ...more
Lyndi Rosdail
Great play although I wish I had the chance to see it and not just read it! Can't wait to see what else Hudes produces. Her mentions of John Coltrane throughout the piece were simply genius as well as interweaving characters of different backrounds each struggling with addiction.
Victoria Friend
First of all, I should say that I saw the play before I read the book, so I'm biased to love the book as much as I loved the play. That being said, I did love the book. However, I don't think that just the script can do this play justice, since the book, despite all it's wonderful points, can't really describe the artistic nuances that actors and staging give it. However, it's still very much worth reading, and even more worth seeing onstage.
An intricately layered, ambitious piece of modern theater that tackles the complexities of addiction and human connection in the technological era.
Delara Hazegh f
I think it could have ended a bit sooner, somewhere I could rate it 5stars not 4!
I loved the name it just perfectly matches with the whole play.
Rachel Linn
A good play. It does an especially good job of weaving digital living into real life as seamlessly as it actually happens. The juxtaposition of the persona of Haikumom and the flesh of Odessa is beautifully done. The truth shared between these two very different visions of the same woman is convincing and feels truthful. This is a play about the families we make and how those conflict with the families we were born with. All of the characters are trying to rebuild a broken history with the conne ...more
Paul Gabbard
Honestly I was expecting more from a Pulitzer Prize winner
Pep Bonet
This is a powerful piece. It shows how family bonds can be important and how things are not necessarily what they look like. It mixes the struggle of some Porto Ricans to get up the social ladder, community action by some of its members and drug abuse in this same community to show that family, group and community are key. Very good reading and probably even better watching in a theatre.
Amy O
Excellent drama. Strong voice in each character, imaginative staging and deeply emotional with some lighter moments of irony. Very glad I read it! The topic of addiction, recovery and support groups makes this play resonate especially for people who have experienced or love someone who has experienced these challenges or loneliness.
Bobby Sullivan
Found this one hard to get into. But I persevered, and it really picked up in Scene 7, halfway through the play, when Elliott recounts the story of his baby sister. All in all, a lovely story about how people can turn around and help people, even if they've harmed people in the past.
Mario Martinez
Wow. I've read this one time so far and I love it. Other than trying to figure out who's who, it's amazing. The text itself is amazing. The little things that are connected are like WOW. Can't wait to read this again to find more of these little things that are all related
Ksenija Popović
It was the first time I struggled getting oriented while reading a play. I was impressed by the originality, but something - and what frustrates me is that I can't figure out what - keeps me from giving it five stars.
Rebecca May
Couldn't get into this one. Characters didn't connect for me. I mean, it won the Pulitzer, so this probably makes me an idiot. But it didn't measure up in my opinion.
Sep 01, 2014 Payam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
Pulitzer Prize for drama?!
Are you kidding me?!
Are you fucking kidding me?!
one of the most ordinary plays I've ever read
Each part of the story is affecting and tenderly treated. I can't wait to see how it looks live.
Pretty great. I have to admit. It’s a pretty great play.
Very good. Definitely deserving of a Pulitzer.
Jana Hall
not nearly as good as I'd hoped.
A gorgeous play.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Clybourne Park
  • Ruined
  • 4000 Miles
  • Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
  • The Kentucky Cycle
  • Becky Shaw
  • Strange Interlude
  • Take Me Out: A Play
  • The Motherfucker With the Hat
  • The Heidi Chronicles
  • In the Next Room, or the vibrator play
  • Anna in the Tropics
  • Other Desert Cities
  • Seminar
  • The 39 Steps: A Play
  • I Am My Own Wife
  • Dinner With Friends
  • Next to Normal

Other Books in the Series

The Elliot Trilogy (3 books)
  • Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue
  • The Happiest Song Plays Last
Welcome to My Neighborhood!: A Barrio ABC Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue Yemaya's Belly The Happiest Song Plays Last 26 Miles

Share This Book