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Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood

Written by Koren Zailckas

Narrated by Ellen Archer


Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood

Written by Koren Zailckas

Narrated by Ellen Archer

ratings:
3.5/5 (32 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 1, 2005
ISBN:
9781400171545
Format:
Audiobook

Description

From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old Koren Zailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring how binge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." With the stylistic freshness of a poet and the dramatic gifts of a novelist, Zailckas describes her first sip at fourteen, alcohol poisoning at sixteen, a blacked-out sexual experience at nineteen, total disorientation after waking up in an unfamiliar New York City apartment at twenty-two, when she realized she had to stop, and all the depression, rage, troubled friendships, and sputtering romantic connections in between.




Zailckas's unflinching candor and exquisite analytical eye gets to the meaning beneath the seeming banality of girls' getting drunk. She persuades us that her story is the story of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics-yet-but who use booze as a short cut to courage, a stand-in for good judgment, and a bludgeon for shyness, each of them failing to see how their emotional distress, unarticulated hostility, and depression are entangled with their socially condoned binging.




Like the contemporary masterpieces The Liars' Club, Autobiography of a Face, and Jarhead, Smashed is destined to become a classic. A crucial book for any woman who has succumbed to oblivion through booze, or for anyone ready to face the more subtle repercussions of their own chronic over-drinking or of someone they love, Smashed is an eye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement.
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 1, 2005
ISBN:
9781400171545
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Koren Zailckas is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to the Guardian, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour, Jane and Seventeen magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskills mountains of New York.


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What people think about Smashed

3.3
32 ratings / 28 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (1/5)
    I actually only made it halfway through before I put the book down. I actually should have known from the tone of the Introduction that I might not like it but the opening few chapters were engaging so I read on. The statistical information (complete with footnotes) folded into the narrative was jarring. I could find little empathy for her character and in fact lost all connection when this self-described "loner and misfit" inexplicably becomes a cheerleader. I'm honestly glad that Koren has found her way to the other side of her "drunken girlhood" but I just didn't care enough to see her through her entire journey.
  • (3/5)
    Honest and eye-opening, not so much because of Zailckas's candid story about alcohol abuse and the related experiences, but because of how completely NORMAL this is. My friends and I have been in her shoes at some point in our lives. Overachievers in the classroom and perfectly behaved otherwise, many young girls choose to binge drink the weekend away for one reason or another. I like Zailckas's writing style - a worthwhile read.
  • (5/5)
    This memoir reveals the struggles of one young girl/woman struggling with alcohol. She is an introverted individual who finds that drinking frees her to feel more outgoing, interesting, confident, beautiful, etc. Though her amount of time spent drinking is someone curtailed in high school, during college she spirals further out of control. She finds herself blacking out, making destructive friends, losing friends, and feeling her life slipping away from her. She has encounters with men she feels no control over and cannot always remember, leaving her increasingly jaded about romance. However, her story is not only about drinking- it is also about men and women, masculinity and feminism, and how men who are drunk can act a certain way while women who are drunk are looked down on for exhibiting the same behavior. Quote: “I’m tired of the world that won’t rescue girls until we’re long past the point of savingâ€?I found this book really, really difficult to put down. The level of self-destructiveness portrayed by the author and the people she knows, specifically her assertion that these problems are much more common than people believe. I think some of the most interesting parts were the portions when she talks about the differences she’s noticed about men and women drinking. Specifically, that men when drunk often express their anger outward, breaking things, throwing things, getting in fistfights, while women when drunk often express their anger inwards, cutting themselves, developing eating disorders, becoming increasingly depressed and suicidal. I was not expected the book to have a feminist slant as it did, occasionally commenting on the portrayal of women in the media, specifically in alcohol commercials.
  • (2/5)
    Two white, privileged fourteen year-olds raid a parent’s rum cabinet before a birthday party. Several high-schoolers get wasted one night at a bonfire on hard alcohol provided by an older sibling. A dorm of freshman girls run wild through the halls, nightly, swigging wine and stealing couches from the lounge. A sorority pledge event involves massive alcohol consumption and fraternity heckling with underage students. Manhattan interns are invited to lavish corporate parities where older executives are blasted off of their toes on $39 martinis. Young corporate fledglings begin to follow in the footsteps of older office-mates who come in red-eyed and disheveled after launch parties and “business dinners”.While all disturbing in their own way, these are hardly newsworthy headlines. We, as a drinking, partying culture, observe, dismiss and even celebrate alcoholic excesses as rites of passage, matters of fact and facts of life. This is Koren Zailckas’ thesis in Smashed. From parental negligence, or sometimes even encouragement, to Budweiser ’s sexualization of the drinking girl, to general pressures of society, we, especially as women, notes Zailckas, are born, literally, into a culture doused in ok’d abuses.Her own drinking life is chronicled from pre-highschool through recent post-grad. It is an interesting take on the way many many people go through their teen years, young adulthood and even sometimes into later adult life. In short, I enjoyed many parts of it.Now the big however.I finished this book almost a day ago and still can’t tell you how I feel about it. On some levels, I thought it was fantastic. On some levels I wanted to throw it across the room. Did I want to throw it across the room because some of it, substance related or simply reflections on society, hit a little bit close to home? Maybe. But still, there were some reflections masquerading as truths that I found to be wholly subjective, rather than objective.I agree, wholeheartedly, that the alcohol industry plays a role in how we view the act of drinking. Just like selling candy and junk food to kids who watch children’s programming may lead to obesity and the constantly shrinking runway model/hotel heiress may lead to disordered eating, the barrage of The Party Girl on MTV, in Vogue, on billboards, are only part of the problem.Certainly, there are double standards. If a drunk frat boy has relations with a drunk sorority girl, he’ll be labeled a stud and she’ll be labeled easy. It was her fault she got drunk. It wasn’t his fault because he was drunk. She wanted it. Alcohol is marked to men and women differently, playing on feminine “weakness” and male “vitality”. We’re all aware of these cliches.I don’t, though, think that any of these ideas or truths are legitimate cause or excuse for lack of responsibility. I found that a good deal of the book meandered along, waiting for a “reason to stop”, waiting for friends, sisters, magazine ads and coworkers to stop their silly games so she could stop hers.I also found it hard to watch Koren go through several near death experiences (some of theme as harsh as stomach pumping and nonconsensual sex, others as “mild” as daily vomiting up blood) and numerous failed attempts to drink moderately, to have her repeatedly cry out that she was not an “alcoholic”; she just abused alcohol, simply because she had no known family history of alcoholism. For me, this seems like a big fat slice of denial as most of her drinking seemed uncontrollable and emotionally fueled, but, that, I suppose, in itself, was not a deal breaker for me. I am not her sponsor. I am not her therapist. I am not her mother and I am not her.Criticism aside, I enjoyed the book. It did shed light on a large portion of culture that goes uncriticized as it simply allows “girls to be girls” or “boys to be boys”. The writing, itself, was great and I’d like to see Zailckas turn out fiction in the future. Over all a good start, albeit, a tad subjective. But hey, I dislike memoirs, as a general rule, so the fact that I read it and have positive things to say, means it was pretty good.
  • (4/5)
    At times I was totally captured by this book at at other times I was a little lost. The author seemed to ramble at times with philosophies that were lost on me. It never lasted long though, and thankfully, she would pull me back into her story. Having a daughter in college myself this story kind of suckered punched me, made me do some thinking. Not a five star book for me but definitely one I would recommend.
  • (3/5)
    My boyfriend absolutely loves this book, and considers it one of his favorites, but it falls a little short with me. I'm not the biggest fan of her writing, but I do think if talks about an important issue and she tells a good story. I enjoyed the first reading, but probably wouldn't re-visit it.
  • (2/5)
    This is not a book about alcoholism. This is a book about depression.Never have I come across a more self-loathing individual. I wish I knew what got her to such a low point. She’s a successful individual from a stable middle-class family and yet she abhors herself to no end. And it’s always the world’s fault. She can’t possibly be the one with the problem. Sobriety is a painful existence. No wonder she developed such a relationship with alcohol. How else could she mask the utter pain of a successful life of an attractive individual where people love her and others want to be her friend.This book doesn’t do much good for people with alcohol abuse problems, whom I figure make up a good portion of her audience. Her ability to describe the attractiveness of alcohol is down pat. She has listed every positive quality of the drug from it’s ability to improve social situations to the warm, fuzzy affect it has on your body (she literally got high from this drug—and yet she claims she wasn’t an alcoholic?). Lay this next to the bleak world of her sobriety and I’d be back to hitting the bottle myself. I wish I could sit down with this girl and try to make her open her ease and realize the beauty of being alive. There is no happy ending in this book. She is just as miserable as she was from page 1. I hope she grows up one day and realizes she needs help. I hate to see a person this miserable in this world.I do give her credit though for being able to show how pathetic alcohol abuse can be. There was nothing attractive about any of the characters in this memoir that exhibited this problem. Every second spent with a drink in hand (or with a hangover the next day) seemed like a precious moment wasted. It further helped my argument against drinking. I'll give her an extra star for that.
  • (5/5)
    "Smashed" is an incredibly honest and insightful look into one woman's experience with alcohol. Unabashedly, Zailckas escorts the reader through her most embarrassing incidents, while under the influence of this terribly abused product. Zailckas is dogged in her quest to enlighten young women as to the empty promises of alcohol products. Unveiling the results of abusive behaviours, Zailckas offers disturbing research which highlights the negative outcomes of this growing trend among young girls and women. I found this book a "must read" for any parent of pre-teen girls, college-bound eighteen-year olds and any young woman, struggling to find comfort from a bottle. Brilliant and honest work!
  • (3/5)
    This book was rather depressing. It also wasn't the tale against underaged drinking that I thought it'd be. Yes, Koren is honest about the various consequences of her behavior, and mixes her honesty with true facts about underaged and college drinking that she researched, but that's where it ends. You get a girl with low self-esteem telling you the story of how she got into using alcohol, and used it as a crutch for several years, relying on it to enable her to have the social and professional life she imagined she wanted. Meanwhile, she also tells you about her blackouts, getting sick in the toilet (or not in the toilet), hangovers, and other consequences (the boys especially). While reading this book may scare someone into questioning their behavior, there's also very much a theme throughout the book that almost makes this behavior seem normal. This is partially a consequence of wanting to give the reader honesty and facts. While this is a good thing, it partly backfires, since it certainly makes it seem like everybody her age was and is drinking like this, and consequently makes it hard to use as an argument against drinking, no matter how honestly the negatives are portrayed. Nobody likes being the odd man out.
  • (2/5)
    Reading this book was like watching a slasher movie: after the initial description of the author's alcohol abuse, I quickly grew tired of the endless cycle of drinking/throwing up/hangover/self-loathing. While she Zailckas suggests in the acknowledgement that she was inspired by Mary Karr, Smashed has none of the humor, grace or self-awareness of Lit. This book is more valuable as a frightening insight into the culture of binge drinking at many colleges and universities.
  • (2/5)
    Two white, privileged fourteen year-olds raid a parent’s rum cabinet before a birthday party. Several high-schoolers get wasted one night at a bonfire on hard alcohol provided by an older sibling. A dorm of freshman girls run wild through the halls, nightly, swigging wine and stealing couches from the lounge. A sorority pledge event involves massive alcohol consumption and fraternity heckling with underage students. Manhattan interns are invited to lavish corporate parities where older executives are blasted off of their toes on $39 martinis. Young corporate fledglings begin to follow in the footsteps of older office-mates who come in red-eyed and disheveled after launch parties and “business dinners”.While all disturbing in their own way, these are hardly newsworthy headlines. We, as a drinking, partying culture, observe, dismiss and even celebrate alcoholic excesses as rites of passage, matters of fact and facts of life. This is Koren Zailckas’ thesis in Smashed. From parental negligence, or sometimes even encouragement, to Budweiser ’s sexualization of the drinking girl, to general pressures of society, we, especially as women, notes Zailckas, are born, literally, into a culture doused in ok’d abuses.Her own drinking life is chronicled from pre-highschool through recent post-grad. It is an interesting take on the way many many people go through their teen years, young adulthood and even sometimes into later adult life. In short, I enjoyed many parts of it.Now the big however.I finished this book almost a day ago and still can’t tell you how I feel about it. On some levels, I thought it was fantastic. On some levels I wanted to throw it across the room. Did I want to throw it across the room because some of it, substance related or simply reflections on society, hit a little bit close to home? Maybe. But still, there were some reflections masquerading as truths that I found to be wholly subjective, rather than objective.I agree, wholeheartedly, that the alcohol industry plays a role in how we view the act of drinking. Just like selling candy and junk food to kids who watch children’s programming may lead to obesity and the constantly shrinking runway model/hotel heiress may lead to disordered eating, the barrage of The Party Girl on MTV, in Vogue, on billboards, are only part of the problem.Certainly, there are double standards. If a drunk frat boy has relations with a drunk sorority girl, he’ll be labeled a stud and she’ll be labeled easy. It was her fault she got drunk. It wasn’t his fault because he was drunk. She wanted it. Alcohol is marked to men and women differently, playing on feminine “weakness” and male “vitality”. We’re all aware of these cliches.I don’t, though, think that any of these ideas or truths are legitimate cause or excuse for lack of responsibility. I found that a good deal of the book meandered along, waiting for a “reason to stop”, waiting for friends, sisters, magazine ads and coworkers to stop their silly games so she could stop hers.I also found it hard to watch Koren go through several near death experiences (some of theme as harsh as stomach pumping and nonconsensual sex, others as “mild” as daily vomiting up blood) and numerous failed attempts to drink moderately, to have her repeatedly cry out that she was not an “alcoholic”; she just abused alcohol, simply because she had no known family history of alcoholism. For me, this seems like a big fat slice of denial as most of her drinking seemed uncontrollable and emotionally fueled, but, that, I suppose, in itself, was not a deal breaker for me. I am not her sponsor. I am not her therapist. I am not her mother and I am not her.Criticism aside, I enjoyed the book. It did shed light on a large portion of culture that goes uncriticized as it simply allows “girls to be girls” or “boys to be boys”. The writing, itself, was great and I’d like to see Zailckas turn out fiction in the future. Over all a good start, albeit, a tad subjective. But hey, I dislike memoirs, as a general rule, so the fact that I read it and have positive things to say, means it was pretty good.
  • (3/5)
    Three things strike me continually while reading this book. First, the author and I are exactly the same age and have very similar backgrounds and I understand where she's coming from perfectly. Secondly, is she using people's real names? And if so, how angry are they with her? Thirdly, I'm thirsty. I am of two minds while reading this book, as well. I want to identify with Koren as the sister she could have been. I see the girls who surrounded me in college much more clearly after being privy to her experiences. Her perspective is obviously valuable. On the other hand, from the perspective of the Chemical Dependency Social Worker I am now, I want to keep this book away from every young, female client I have. The text, while beautifully descriptive and genuinely evocative, is 330 pages of "war stories" followed by 8 pages of "...and then I stopped drinking and now I'm angry at boys, the government, and alcohol peddlers of all varieties for making me -- no, all of us Gen X women-- abuse alcohol. We women should support each other." Koren was ridiculously lucky that nothing worse happened to her than what did, that she graduated on time and was able to get a job. I'm afraid other young drinkers would read her story and decide they could make out just as well. Also, it seems as if she stopped drinking about 10 minutes before the book was published, she didn't have to work that hard to achieve sobriety, and I would be very surprised to learn she is still "sober."I guess the people I would recommend this book to are the people who are most likely to NOT relate to Koren: parents of teenagers, addiction counselors (who sometimes get so jaded by meth addicts that a college girl who drinks is the least of our worries), and especially boys. (Although I doubt boys would have the patience or desire to read this, they would really benefit from Koren's perspective and possibly be less likely to victimize drunk girls they come into contact with...)Update: Upon visiting the author's official website, it appears she is still making appearances at college campuses to promote this book so she's probably still "sober."
  • (3/5)
    I'm disappointed that despite chronicling years of horrific alcohol abuse, Zalckais denies suffering from alcoholism. She insists that she's an abuser, not an addict. What's the difference? If you can't control your drinking, it doesn't matter if you drink every day or once a year. It is what it is.
  • (1/5)
    I didn't finish this. I felt I've lived it, so I don't need to read it.
  • (3/5)
    This book was at its best and most powerful when Zailckas straight up told about her experiences with alcohol as a teen and young adult, which in itself was a testament to the seduction and danger of binge drinking. Luckily, the majority of this book is that kind of narrative. However, where the book failed to appeal for me was in the introduction, when Zailckas tried to link her story to problems with American society as a whole. It was weakly done, and the conclusion of the book was somewhat better, but not much so. I think this is where the other reviewers came off with that "unlikable" or "whiny" narrator sentiment. I would recommend this book to young adult readers, as it may have more of an impact on them than it did on me. I'm the same age as Zailckas, and sadly, this book doesn't review many new insights to me. Maybe that in itself speaks to the prevalence of the problem of binge drinking among young women today.
  • (3/5)
    This book is a memoir broken up into four ‘chapters’ wittily entitled “Initiation”, “the Usual”, “Excess”, and “Abuse”.In “Initiation”, Zailckas enlightens the reader as to what lead to the beginnings of her alcoholism. Her first drinks hidden away at a social event are well documented, and many readers may be able to relate to her experience. She leads the reader into the tale of the first time she was officially “drunk” with a friend who disappears with a boy and comes back haunted from god only knows what. She vows to her parents at this time to watch out for her friends, and never to drink… which it is apparent was a total lie.In “the Usual”, Zailckas moves on to tell about the ways in which drinking became natural and acceptable to her. In her daily life, there was no real repercussion for her drinking, and it was just settled in to by her and her friends. “Excess” shows Zailckas in her college years, becoming increasingly aware of how dangerously close to true alcoholism she is, and “Abuse” leads to the final acknowledgement of needing help for a socially and mentally destructive addiction.The heights and depths of her experiences are almost nonexistent. Even though Zailckas never reports a real positive thing coming of drinking, she is constantly shocked by just how low and miserable her excessiveness can make her and her life. This memoir seemed quite naïve, even taking in to account how wise and eloquent the words could be.Favorite Passages/Quotes"But don't tell that to my brain because when I'm drunk, it purrs with the ecstasy of being thoroughly high … Amstel Light is my upper and my downer, it is my euphoric bump, my sweet nod into vagueness, the hallucinogenic that contorts my world into one that's worth living in.”"[The party girl] will never stop making headlines in the New York Post for gargling champagne and lifting up her skirt…The party gal is a sad and beautiful ingénue, who appears in photographs with tousled hair, smudged eyeliner, and a visible thong. And as long as she exists in real life, we will never cease to be interested in her.”"Every so often, you feel so lost in the hollow of your own need that you decide to try to hoist yourself out of it.”Opinion It’s hard to critique something plot-wise when it is a memoir. All I can say, really, is that this book progressed the way it should, but seemed to linger in repetition. In the immortal words of Pat McCurdy, “get up, go to work, get drunk, go to sleep”. Every (mis)adventure of Zailckas somehow ended up with her getting drunk to either ease the pain, or to celebrate along side her sorority sisters. I felt that there wasn’t really a lot of emphasis put on how wrong he choice of life was, even though she readily writes about how miserable she was and how she wished things had been different. Her own mother ignores her alcoholism like it is nothing, and there is a certain nonchalance she portrays about waking up one morning, unsure of whether or not she was still a virgin.The flow of this book is quite unique. I really liked the movement between paragraphs. Zailckas gave a feeling of letting the reader simply reside in her mind and become privy to her stream-of-conscience thoughts. This was beautiful in the majority of the book, but there were plenty of places I felt the wording got too poetic to be able misery and the lust for alcohol. Parts of this book felt like a romance novel, reminiscing on the ‘good ol days’, but the majority stayed in the misery, self-loathing, and addiction realm. It was in no way an uplifting book, which isn’t bad. It was honest. There was a particularly interesting bit about a sorority sister who attempted suicide over something she believed Zailckas did which I found well-written.Something I took a little conflict with was that this book had no real climax. The intention of writing is was apparent – to voice concern over alcoholism in young girls and the nonchalance it receives – but there was no real consequence for her. My meaning being this: most books that seek to educate by example have some major event that really forced the author to turn around their ways “or else”. Zailckas just realized all by herself through trial and error that this life was no good for her, so it is hard to see where the young girl who might be in Zailckas’ shoes will really feel a push to change, rather than seeking solace in another’s life knowing they aren’t alone in their alcohol abuse. It felt more like ‘misery loves company’ than ‘you need help, you’re an alcoholic’.Rating: On a scale of 1-5 stars, this book is a 3.5. The flow of this book is enticing, but I felt it fell short in its message. I like a book to have some meaning in the end, and while it wraps up well, there was no climax to really necessitate that resolution. A book without a clear purpose, especially a memoir, is just a bunch of words that could go anywhere. For her first novel, Koren Zailckas has done an excellent job portraying a human side to the addict, even though parts will lead the reader skimming ahead instead of clinging to each word.
  • (2/5)
    Other librarians and teens liked it more than I did. It was the story of a teens descent into alcoholism. There were no real-world consequences of her constant drunkenness. She finished high school and was never hurt despite constantly being in a state of full inebriation. It seemed very long.
  • (4/5)
    I prepared myself to loathe Koren Zailckas. I expected her to be a spoiled sorority girl whose binge drinking experiences were no different than mine or any other reasonably socially active teenager's. This was not the case. Unlike Elizabeth Wurtzel, who has a tendency to fluctuate between being endearing and annoying, Koren manages to tell her story in a manner that neither exploits nor glosses over the gory details. Smashed is very readable, though I found nothing particularly profound about it. I do recommend parents of teenagers read this book sometime. Koren's story is unusual only in that she's willing to share it and that she actually has writing ability. I can't say that any of my friends had vastly different experiences.
  • (4/5)
    In Smashed, Zailckas is brutally honest despite the embarrassment this might cause her and blows the lid off of teenage drinking and its repercussions for young women. Her tale is more than just a indictment of drugs and alcohol though, it is a social commentary on the often negative interactions between collage-age guys and girls (with the girls usually coming out much worse for the wear). Smashed is insightful and dead-on. This is a must-read for every girl between the ages of 14 and 25 as well as for their parents.
  • (4/5)
    Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood is a work of nonfiction by Koren Zailckas, chronicling her love affair with alcohol. The book’s organizational structure is telling itself, split into four sections: “Initiation,” “The Usual,” “Excess,” and “Abuse.” It begins with Koren’s first taste, swigging sips of Southern Comfort on the sly, peer-pressured into it by her friend Natalie at age 14. Koren then moves through high school and college and has what almost anyone would consider a normal relationship with drinking throughout her education, although peppered with occasional moments of blackouts and vomiting. Within months of graduating college, she stops drinking altogether. While her experiences with alcohol aren’t unusual, I think her underlying motivations are.Koren wants the reader to understand that she considers her drinking history overindulgent. She makes this clear on the cover, a seemingly real-life snapshot of the author slumped over in a chair, her hair gratefully covering her shameful face. She also punctuates the text with footnotes and statistics that tear the reader from the narrative, serving as a reminder that this book has an agenda. Heavy-handed tactics like these are informational and clearly prove that the problem is bigger than Koren herself, but give away the author’s secret: she didn’t think telling her story flat out would work as an allegory to apply to America at large. This detracted from all the wonderful attributes of the book, like Koren’s snarky sense of humor, her spot-on characterizations, and completely realistic retelling of the transition from childhood to adulthood, from innocence to wisdom, through the holding tank of extended adolescence called college. What’s unfortunate is that these wonderful facets of Koren’s writing could have easily made the story a very successful cautionary fable, rendering those distracting statistics unnecessary.If this were a different story, with a different subject matter, I’m sure I’d love it. I love the author’s writing style, and she weaves a wonderful story. Smashed comes off as didactic though, narrating the various shames Koren experiences after drinking too much, the kind of things that are nationally publicized when they happen to today’s young starlets. This “Don’t turn into Paris Hilton” adage is clear from the beginning, and quickly becomes overkill.The real problem, rather than Koren’s drinking, is her inability to stand on her own. She drinks because she surrounds herself with stronger personalities who drink, and follows their lead. She goes from person to person, admitting that she patterns all of her relationships, both platonic and romantic, after the one with Natalie, who “will be the blueprint for the kamikaze girlfriends… the suicidal personalities who seize the day by letting go of any expectations for a tomorrow.” If Koren chose better people with whom to surround herself, or if she blazed her own path rather than always passively going along with what was socially accepted, her life story would read very differently. She even uses alcohol as something to hide behind, something to rely upon to relate to people and use as her mouthpiece. It’s not her relating to others- it’s the booze. It wasn’t dependency on alcohol that thwarted her growth, but rather her dependency on others for identity and self-worth.All that said, Smashed is still an entertaining, thoughtful, honest coming-of-age story. Koren Zailckas is a talented writer who I look forward to reading again, hoping her careful eye will be trained on personal strength rather than personal weakness.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting memoir, especially for those who are her age and can relate to her college experiences.
  • (4/5)
    This book follows the drinking life of a young girl. From age 14 through her early 20's and how it affected everything in her life.
  • (4/5)
    By a binge drinker who started when she was 13 or 14, spent most college nights drunk, and gave it up about a year after graduating. She says she's not an alcoholic, but I wonder if she'll stay sober believing that. Very sad and depressing; fairly well-written.
  • (5/5)
    Sadness, unhappiness, young women. So many of us seem to have the need to find that inner happiness in destructive ways and it still eludes us. Young women fill the gap with different crutches and Ms. Zailckas' just happened to be alcohol. Her gripping descriptions and excellent writing tells it like it is. It is exactly this way. From experience, this is a true representation of what our young people go through everyday in middle America.
  • (4/5)
    I understand people this this life is so terrible and scary. I think the reality is that this is pretty much most college-girls' life. Leaving out a few scenarios, most ppl could write stories of themselves in this manner. I did really like the book alot but I just didn't see it as so moany others did.
  • (4/5)
    I wish Ms. Zailckas had included more detail about other parts of her life, because the stories of drinking did get a little repetitious. It’s a terrifying story though—this young woman put herself in terrible danger. Where the hell were her parents?
  • (4/5)
    A good, but not great, autobio by a young woman who drank and drank and drank, usually with others, to escape the insecurity of teendom. Well written and snarky, but not the best of the "look what I went through" bunch (of which there are many).
  • (2/5)
    I was disappointed in this book...I think the author was still too young to really grasp her actions or lack thereof, thus it comes off like more of a frat/sorority story than I true embracing of a real problem.