Member Name: HelenW
Smashed: Growing Up a Drunk Girl - Koren Zailckas
Smashed: Growing up a drunk girl - Koren Zailckas
This novel is an autobiographical account of the authors experiences with growing up and alcohol. I borrowed it off my sister although I wasn't convinced by her raving about how good it was as I'm not really into the hard luck novels that seem to have taken off. But since I had nothing else to read, I started it one day and got hooked on it from then.
It follows Koren from a 14 year old being convinced by her friend to taste alcohol for the first time to the time when she graduates from college. She tries to keep her friend Natalie happy by drinking and seems to idolise her, however fragile Natalie is. Although she didn't like it to begin with, alcohol becomes a major part of her life. She begins to see the consequences when at 15, she goes on holiday with her parents and Natalie. A drunken evening with Natalie means that she is piecing together events, what happened, what might've happened and how her parents saw it.
This book kept me hooked on it throughout. It is very poignantly written and the way that Koren describes feeling is very lonely and that really comes across throughout the book. The preface in particular was very moving because Koren talks about how girls are binge drinking as an expression of unhappiness, and how those that binge drink aren't "masculine, sloppy or sexually available". I particularly liked how she narrates the story from two perspectives: what she thought about something at the time and what she thinks now, with a more mature head on her shoulders. For example, with the episode on holiday when she was 15, she thought the reason why her parents let Natalie tell her parents herself was to show their maturity. However with hindsight she realises her parents were embarrassed.
"It is a testament to Zailckas's hard, fast, clever writing that Smashed grips from beginning to end" - The Guardian.