I spent a lazy Sunday cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping and finishing Drinking: A Love Story. I felt a little weird about it, having spent the night before splitting a bottle of wine with Andrew over dinner and the night before that drinking margaritas with friends. But after reading Caroline Knapp’s honest memoir, you definitely get the idea that there is drinking, there’s drinking too much and then there’s alcoholism.
As the title suggests, Knapp likens her relationship to alcohol to an actual relationship. She describes the way alcohol, like a lover, can make you feel warm and fuzzy, make you obsess over it, and make you know you should stay away when you can’t. I liked this metaphor as an interesting way to talk about the disease.
What I decided I don’t really like is addiction memoirs. I started to feel this way after reading Beautiful Boy and the feeling has only strengthened. I find these types of books to be repetitive and a bit slow. Mostly because that’s how addictions are. There are bursts of excitement, usually in the form of embarrassment and pain and problems, followed by long stretches of nothing. Things get better and then they get bad again. And mixed in there is much self reflection. Often it inches a little too close to self-help for my personal reading tastes. None of this is the fault of Caroline Knapp or Drinking: A Love Story. It seems to be just the nature of the genre.
What I do appreciate about the genre in general and Knapp specifically is the ability to be so honest. Failures aren’t sugarcoated. And what can I say, I’m a voyeur. I love glimpses into other people’s lives.