Sara Watson's Reviews > The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath

The Recovering by Leslie Jamison
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really liked it

I eagerly picked this up because I was so profoundly moved by The Empathy Exams. Jamison excels in her exploration of Jean Rhys and female writers for the contrast in ways they are not valorized and romanticized they way the surly male great American novelist has been. Having read Trip to Echo Spring (which Jamison cites), much of this novelty here is in hearing Jamison’s experience and voice. But that’s precisely what she resists in exploring the premise that an alcoholics’ experience is universal, banal, and deals in oversimplifications, mantras, and cliches. You can feel the strain as Jamison tries to weave her dissertation research with a more personal, colloquial narrative. It’s hard to follow the thematic titles with the contents of each chapter. The narrative skips over important steps; where are we when she is sifting through these archives? When does the work happen? All of that is erased when she’s drinking alone in her study in Iowa and New Haven. Still, she writes many true, insightful, beautiful sentences. The insights of this work are sufficiently distilled in an essayistic format, as excerpted in The New York Times Magazine.

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Reading Progress

May 29, 2018 – Started Reading
May 29, 2018 – Shelved
June 2, 2018 – Finished Reading

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