Tuesday, September 15, 2015


There are so many books about famous authors who drank to excess. Ernest Hemingway got into bar fights, Dylan Thomas died of alcoholism, poet and Angeleno Charles Bukowski called drinking a form of suicide and Dorothy Parker fueled her acid wit with liquor.

Memoirs about people who are alcoholics may not be first on our list of books to read, but there are three autobiographical works that are not to be missed. They are not alcoholism 101 works about the mechanics of overindulgence and destruction, but they are sensitive, compelling and beautifully written. Readers have commented on how each provided inspiration for their own quest to be sober. All three memoirs are by women writers and all can be found at the Monrovia Public Library. 

Currently on the bestseller list is Blackout by Sarah Hepola who went from secretly sipping her parents’ beer to being a blackout drinker who could not remember where she was or what she did. Her struggle, and eventual success, was to find a way of living without alcohol. This slight book can be read in one or two sittings. 

The people in the life of the accomplished Sarah Knapp did not know that she was a secret drinker. Drinking: A Love Story is her extraordinary history of her own denial of problems with alcohol.  Straightforward and free of excuses or self-pity, Knapp describes her drinking and path to sobriety. The book is not a movie-of-the-week tear jerker, but is incredibly powerful and compassionate.

The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and the actress who played Princess Leia in Star Wars, Carrie Fisher takes on her Hollywood lineage, mental illness and substance abuse in the wildly biting and hilarious Wishful Drinking.  Based on her one woman play, this is a collection of anecdotes that pull back the curtain on one writer’s struggle.

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