Koren Zailckas
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Buy *Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood* by Koren Zailckas online

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
Koren Zailckas
368 pages
January 2006
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Steven Rosen's take on Smashed.

Smashed: Story Of A Drunken Girlhood is a well-written (at times), deeply moving, and chillingly scary memoir by Koren Zailckas on her use and abuse of alcohol from the age of fourteen to the tender age of twenty-three. Though Koren should be applauded for telling her story, her opening statement where she says she is not alcoholic just doesnít ring true for me:

ďI drank after college. I drank through my first real move, my first job as an executive assistant, my first insurance forms, my first tax filing, and my first apartment where the rent was due on the first of the month. I drank after the real world revealed itself to me like a magic trick, after I saw the method of adulthood, the morning commutes and mindless jobs, which shattered the illusions I had about it. And at age twenty-three, I gave up drinking altogether once I realized how much it cost me. Still, I am not an alcoholic.Ē
Not an alcoholic? This is a hard pill to swallow. Though Zeilckasí prose is often poetic, the book reads unevenly. It vacillates between tightly woven, emotionally jarring passages and clunky, often clumsy overuse of similes and sophomoric metaphors. But thatís not to say that it isnít a vividly told cautionary tale, because it is -- and a dark one. She describes having her stomach pumped after passing out at sixteen and waking up naked in a manís bed with the eerie feeling that she was the victim of date rape. These graphic depictions of her harrowing experiences had me feeling empathy, but other times I found it hard to summon much of anything. I also couldnít agree with such unfair generalizations as all girls drink because they are unhappy and insecure. I donít think you can make such blanket statements. Certainly some females do Ė but not all. Some people can be social drinkers. Some people use it as a crutch. Itís really an individual, case-by-case scenario.

With that said, itís a really good book for females of similar age and background. For some, though, it may not be all that shocking but still a worthwhile read. Overall, Iíd say that Koren Zailckas could have benefited from more clearheaded parents (similar to Jeannette Wallís The Glass Castle) and a little more perspective as I feel that she hasnít fought her last battle with the demon alcohol just yet.

© 2005 by Bobby Blades for

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