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Drink: The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol
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Drink: The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,885 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Combining in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery, an award-winning journalist delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today-the precipitous rise in risky drinking among women and girls

While the feminist revolution has allowed women to close the gender gap professionally and educationally, it
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Harper Wave (first published September 17th 2013)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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David Dinaburg
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
One might think that, at this point, I would be inured to the charms of non-fiction subtitling: Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol has the appealing air of an in-depth sociological examination. As someone living in a predominantly female neighborhood in Manhattan—renowned for its air of “safety” over “excitement”—I was curious to find some rationale behind the observably more frequent clusters of women stumbling around on late Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings—ha ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was expecting a slightly different book than what it actually was; I was hoping for a statistic heavy book analyzing and noting trends in marketing alcohol, alcohol related disease, sociological trends in drinking in women, and analysis of drinking culture in general. Instead, the book was mostly a vessel for personal memoirs of the author and her own experiences and struggles with alcoholism. I think it was a simply a case of mis-marketing. At any rate, as it stands, it is probably a much mor ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
I picked this one up randomly at the local 2nd hand shop - as they say, "the more you know...". I'd read about it when it first came out and knew it was mildly controversial. Well, having read the whole thing in a relatively short burst of time, I can say that any controversy around it is superficial because this is a poorly written book. Authoritative or deserved of debate it is not.

Mainly a memoir masquerading as investigative journalism, Johnston spends a great deal of the book telling her st
Ashley Lehman
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This may not have been the best book I've ever read as far as writing and the story go. However, the message really impacted me and has changed the way I look at alcohol. I have always loved having a drink but never really considered why that was so. Was it purely for fun? To relieve stress or social anxiety? As a crutch to mask something deeper? Or because advertising told me I should? It also made me particularly aware of how my behavior may influence my daughter down the road and what message ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Meh. Lots to talk about and think about. Sort of like an extended magazine article.
Julie Ehlers
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was interesting and contained a lot of important information. However, the way it kind of meandered between addressing actual addiction and addressing alcohol "dependency" (for stress reduction and the like) made it feel unfocused. I do believe there are people out there who use alcohol unwisely but are not addicted, but I think their stories should have been better separated from the stories of addiction. Mostly, though, I was just depressed to hear there are women who binge drink because ...more
Michelle Beginandendwithbooks
Drink was floating around on FB on a list of books for women to read. Although the relationship between women and alcohol is not something I've thought much about specifically, I decided to see if I could borrow the book from the library--I'm glad I did. Written by a female journalist recovering alcoholic, it is a mix of memoir, interviews, and research-based statistics. Reading the book has enlightened me about the increase of alcohol use in young women, the marketing of alcohol in our country, ...more
This is hardly the book it purports to be; this is not a researched study into the causes and implications of drinking among women but instead a weepy memoir of a woman who would still be drinking unless her boyfriend hadn't left her. I almost think this was a public plea to whomever poor "Jake" was to come back to her - "I've changed!"

Johnston threw statistics in toward the end but never really explored them to my satisfaction. Instead, she rehashed a lot of what Caroline Knapp did in her book,
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is the sort of book that you REALLY, REALLY want to give to the women in your life, whether it be SOs or friends or family members, but you dont because of the fear of offending them. ALL women should be reading this book, regardless of whatever their relationship with alcohol may be.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A sometimes frightening look at women and alcohol, particularly scary for me as the mother of two girls who will one day attend college (they’d better anyway!) Apparently getting your stomach pumped and blacking out are both “badges of honor” in college now…what…the…f? Terrifying.

A very interesting point is made. Generally speaking, men drink to party, women to numb. Surprising, yet logical, and also sad, particularly when you consider that binge drinking can lead to evermore issues (sexual assa
Washington Post
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ann Dowsett Johnston, a recovering alcoholic, veers between reporting and memoir as she untangles the messy realities behind women’s rising rate of alcohol abuse and why it is so much more dangerous for them than for men. A past editor of Maclean’s magazine in Canada and former vice principal at McGill University, Johnston alarms us, one searing fact at a time. There are moments in “Drink” when the parade of alcoholic women seems endless. So many sad stories. So many alcohol-fueled ways to ruin ...more
Caroline Barron
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm interested in the current zeitgeist of self-restriction - be it from technology or drinking, people all over the globe are turning off their phones and putting the cork back in the bottle. Some forever, but most for a chosen period of time. I'm also interested in the neurology and culture behind drinking, and this book was a fantastic resource, particularly regarding the massive increase in women drinking over past decades, and the glamorisation of alcohol. Whilst I wasn't hunting for it, th ...more
I really enjoyed how this book hovered between frank memoir and an examination of the role of contemporary female drinkers. A great deal to think about and an area of examination that would be wise for most people but will make some too uncomfortable to continue.
Kris Patrick
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting how many people hate this book. I think it’s phenomenal.

Drinking is a women’s issue and a public health issue. We’re fooling ourselves if we don’t think that corporate interests are to thank for creating a society that glorifies alcohol consumption and that stigmatizes addiction.

Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
The reason I borrowed this book was fairly simple. It was a Friday night and I was stuck at work with no hope of leaving soon. To take a quick break I checked out my library’s “new to the library” ebook section and when I saw the title Drink while wishing I could leave my office and have one, it seemed serendipitous. However, after realising the subtitle was “The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol”, I wished my motivation had been a bit more intellectual and a bit less about wine…

Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read my full review:

My opinion: I thoroughly enjoyed this book on female addictions and feel it is an incredibly important topic. I would disagree with the author's premise that female addiction is on the rise. Although, I do feel that abusive drinking, such as binge drinking, particularly among young women, are definitely on the rise. I think the social acceptance of addressing one's addiction has become more socially acceptable. Female addicts have always been present, b
Sean Goh
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
More memoir than I was expecting. While I applaud Johnston for her courageous sharing of her struggles with the demon in a bottle, I would have liked to hear less about her growing up on safari, those first couple chapters felt out of place. The anecdotal interviews were a good glimpse into the fallout that occurs around alcoholics. Peer pressure is a big factor in causing people (especially girls) to start drinking young. There's a part for everyone to play to fight the new tobacco. Moderation. ...more
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a difficult book to read. I had not realized just how much the culture had shifted toward drinking to excess among women, but this book makes it very clear. In a perversion of feminism, alcohol companies have marketed strong alcoholic beverages to young women, and even young mothers based on a message that drinking a lot is simply a part of being a modern woman. As a consequence, alcoholism rates among women, especially educated women have been increasing, with all the attendant problem ...more
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As many women strive to be equal to men in every way, they have also embraced alcohol and often try to drink the same way men do. Ann Johnston shows in Drink though, that where alcohol is concerned, men and women were not created equally. Our bodies and brains do not process alcohol in the same way. We do not drink the same way and we certainly do not drink for the same reasons. Johnston also discusses the unique social pressures that are leading women to drink more today than ever before as wel ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A glass of red wine at dinner is my panecea; the knots unfold and the odds even out. Dang Johnston for making me think twice about it.

Aside from that, Johnston combines research about alcoholism with her own personal journey with drink. She finds at the core of women's alcoholism is the need to be perfect. How well this resonates.

I found her description of female university student drinking very disturbing. The peer pressure to deliberately drink themselves blotto even before the evening start
Ellie Midwood
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Drink” is an incredibly honest memoir/study that deals specifically with a problem of women’s alcoholism. I agree with the author one hundred percent when she says that we’re in a middle of a crisis where more and more women turn to alcohol in order to relax after juggling work and household/parenting duties and end up growing dependent on alcohol to such an extent that it starts to affect their professional and personal lives. There are chapters dealing with reasons, social influence, rehabili ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Read for bookclub. This made for a really great discussion and I'm glad I read it, although some things didn't work for me. The book is about 2/3 addiction memoir, 1/3 broader analysis, although the title implies it's mostly the latter. The chapters focusing on the author's story were compelling, as were the stories of many of her interviewees. It would be easy to end up with the impression that AA is the only approach to dealing with alcohol addiction, though (a bit dismissive of harm reduction ...more
Emma Grace
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a 20 year old with little to no experience with alcohol, you can take my review with a grain of salt, but I found this book to be incredible. Stories of countless women overcoming addiction woven in with data and cultural commentary, this book gave a wide overview of what it means to be a woman in North America in a culture that continually pushes alcohol as the solution to life’s problems.
Samantha Nowatzke
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 - Appreciated the candor surrounding the author's path to sobriety. She used her own story, stories of other women, and general facts surrounding the world's views and happenings around women's drinking. ...more
Lisa Lewis
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was both a vulnerable memoir of a person I found admirable, and a sobering (no pun intended) explanation of the science behind addiction, particularly alcohol addiction, and women. I wish that the information shared in this book could be given to all young women.
Rachel Cline
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed. Lots of essays so read very gradually over time. Older book now and would like an updated version with newer statistics. But very interesting. Not stopped me drinking but definitely more reflective
Kirstie Henderson
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Must read. And then read again.
A very good analysis, and very concerning as well, of how much advertising has impacted the drinking habits of young women and girls in this country.
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written and engaging book. Thoroughly researched and thought inspiring. It was a beautiful mix of the author’s personal journey through her lifetime of being both a victim of addiction and an alcoholic herself, along with research about the alcohol industry, our culture, and it’s impact on women. A must read for anyone who wants something more than a memoir.
Amanda Rahimian
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listened to the audiobook. There were some good things in this book; interesting facts, some heart wrenching stories. But this book just dragged on and on and got a bit tedious. I kept expecting it to end just to find I still had a lot of listening left to do. Would still recommend to any readers curious about the relationship between alcohol and the modern day woman, but brace yourself for a few boring parts.
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