Holly's Reviews > Drinking: A Love Story

Drinking by Caroline Knapp
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Jan 18, 14

bookshelves: re-read, 2011-reads
Read from September 28 to 30, 2011

Though I haven't read Pack of Two, I did read Appetites (as I now recall), and I find it interesting that the writer of each book could be a different person, for the stories are extremely compartmentalized. If Appetites discussed drinking it did not explore alcoholism, perhaps just binge drinking; Pack of Two probably didn't touch on anorexia or alcoholism. Here, Knapp does mention the anorexia but it is explained as a sort of auxiliary-behavior to the drinking.

Unlike the first time I read Drinking: A Love Story when I engaged in the customary self-reflection over my own relationship to alcohol, I didn't need to do that again (same conclusion: I simply like to drink; it's not a gateway to my oblivion).

I discussed this book last night with a few people, most of whom found the account unrelenting in its bleakness and litany of self-destructive behavior. It seems apparent to me that Caroline Knapp wrote this book only a few years into sobriety, for she is clearly in the throes of AA. Her friend Gail Caldwell used a combative, pugilistic approach to rejecting alcohol: she would be stronger than it. Caroline Knapp is trying the accepting, submission route. Since Knapp died of lung cancer at age 42 we don't get to see how or if her recovery approach would change over the years.

Someone pointed out that the Dial Press trade paperback edition that is now on shelves (July 2005) includes the copyright page disclaimer that "This is a work of fiction . . any semblance to actual persons . . . is entirely coincidental." The original editions (1996 and 1997) do not say this. What's the story there?
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