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

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,620 ratings  ·  282 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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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
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 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
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Meh. Lots to talk about and think about. Sort of like an extended magazine article.
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,
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 Cynthia
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Rachel Grant
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I commend the author for her ability to write about this difficult topic and show her own vulnerability. I learned through her stories about the havoc that alcohol abuse can have on families, children, and women especially. Her writing shows how women have a unique dependence to this drug. In many ways, I think it has to do with our lack of control in other areas of our lives. It tends to temporarily numb and ease anxiety and their is not much societal stigma around alcohol, so it's easily acces ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
it's the kind of book plenty of people would benefit from reading, but it was heavy in personal memoir and interviews and very light on specific facts, trends, or even advice. it was also told in a fairly haphazard episodic way. it feels like a first draft that needs reorganized and more data driven research included.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs, 2013
I heard an interview with the author on NPR, and bought the book immediately. Even though it arrived immediately, it has sat on my bookcase for a month or so, with various other untouched books. Once I picked it up, I read it in a single sitting.

It's a beautiful book, all in all. Ann balanced her own story, the stories of others, the science, and questions of our culture; engaging and educational all at once. It was interesting reading this book directly after Lean In, and I purchased Can't Buy
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-studies
Chasing wine with vodka. Keeping up with the guys. Making bad sexual decisions. Waking up with a pounding headache. The modern woman.

Ann Dowsett Johnston - sometime editor at Maclean's and vice-president of McGill - has opened up about her own alcoholism to tell an important story about the bad ways in which women are gaining equality. And while in popular imagination the drunken woman is enjoying a two-four outside a mobile home, the reality is that high-powered women executives are quaffing th
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, 2014
An excellent journalistic and personal look at the relationship between women and alcohol and the rise of drinking among women. Explores the marketing and cultural forces that are making women more prone to drinking.

The author, a recovering alcoholic, also delves into her personal history and interviews dozens of women about their drinking. This is a very candid and important book filled with interesting and frightening stats. One of the things that I found notable was the discussion of FASD an
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“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you,
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep. —RUMI”
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you, Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep. —RUMI” 0 likes
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