Ironically enough, I’m finishing up a glass of red zinfindel as I write a review of this book, Blackout: The Things I Drank to Forget, which is about the author Sarah Hepola’s her alcoholism and her road to recovery.
Generally, I don’t veer towards memoirs, but the title of this book really caught my eye, and when there was a Kindle eBook sale on this book, I thought “why not?” and decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did, because it was a great read, and a book I would recommend to all of my friends.
The book is a pretty easy read. If you wanted to, you could probably read it in one sitting. It helps that the author’s writing is very entertaining. She imbues humor, openness, and honesty into her anecdotes and thoughts, and most importantly, I felt a sense of camaraderie while I read through her life story and her struggles.
Throughout the novel, Hepola mentions a few times that one reason she loved alcohol was the courage it gave her – the courage to be who she wanted to be, a person without inhibitions, who said and did whatever she wanted. As someone who was shy and socially awkward growing up, I related so much to her. In college, there were definitely times when I would drink to become a more outgoing person that would be able to befriend people more easily. She reminisces about how she would try to match her male friends drink for drink, as if that would win over their hearts and make her seem like the Ultimate Cool Girl in their eyes. College me, and I’m sure many other girls, have had that mentality at some point in their lives.
Hepola also brings up a few ideas throughout her novel of why she, and other women like her, drink so much nowadays, and they reminded me of a couple of articles I read a few months ago, one from Quartz and one from Vice. In both her novel and these two articles, it’s highlighted that women are drinking more nowadays due to the stress of unrealistic expectations – we’re expected to be both an amazing mother and a kickass professional, both pretty and intelligent, always happy, always down for anything. So, while Hepola’s story of alcoholism is her own, it’s also a window into the life and struggles of the twenty-first century woman.
There’s so much more I could say about why this book is so great, but I think you guys should pick up this book and experience it for yourselves 🙂 I wouldn’t say it’s life changing, but it’s definitely a fun, poignant read and great look into the life of the author.
If you’ve read this book before, let me know what you thought in the comments below!