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Parched

4.0 15
by Heather King
 

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One woman’s journey to the bottom of the bottle—and back.
 
In this tragicomic memoir about alcoholism as spiritual thirst, Heather King—writer, lawyer, and National Public Radio commentator—describes her descent into the depths of addiction. Spanning a decades-long downward spiral, King’s harrowing story takes us from

Overview

One woman’s journey to the bottom of the bottle—and back.
 
In this tragicomic memoir about alcoholism as spiritual thirst, Heather King—writer, lawyer, and National Public Radio commentator—describes her descent into the depths of addiction. Spanning a decades-long downward spiral, King’s harrowing story takes us from a small-town New England childhood to hitchhiking across the country to a cockroach-ridden “artist’s” loft in Boston. Waitressing at ever-shabbier restaurants, deriving what sustenance she could from books, she became a morning regular at a wet-brain-drunks’ bar—and that was after graduating from law school.
 
Saved by her family from the abyss, King finally realized that uniquely poetic, sensitive, and profound though she may have been, she was also a big-time mess. Casting her lot with the rest of humanity at last, she learned that suffering leads to redemption, that personal pain leads to compassion for others in pain, and, above all, that a sense of humor really, really helps.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following a series of memoirs detailing struggles with alcoholism (Smashed; Dry), NPR commentator King chronicles her 20 years as an alcoholic before her family's intervention led to sobriety. Written with a New Englander's wry sense of humor, King recounts her childhood in a small New Hampshire town with her six siblings and her parents' struggle to support the family. Entering her teenage years during the '60s, King experimented with drugs and alcohol, slowly coming to crave "that warm, comforting glow." After seven years in college, King moved to Boston, where her alcoholism gained momentum in the city's many bars, and despite her dream to write she moved from one waitressing job to another, surprisingly getting her law degree while in a state of perpetual inebriation. King's tales from her Boston rooming house detail such wonders as the communal bathroom ("walls were splotched with blood") and the residents ("drunks, drug addicts, paranoid schizophrenics... [they] were a colorful lot"). The Bible verses that begin each chapter give an uneasy sense of impending proselytism, but not until the epilogue do readers discover King's Catholic faith. While entertaining and witty, this memoir offers no new revelations about an alcoholic's life and will mainly interest those sharing King's Northeast roots. Agent, Laurie Liss. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101157442
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/05/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
170,629
File size:
458 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Heather King is a writer and a lawyer. Her essays have been widely published and she received a "Notable Essay" citation in Best American Essays 2000, 2001, and 2002.

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Parched 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book based on the great reviews, and it left me disappointed. I felt that King kept repeating the same lines over and over again. The book never picked up , it seemed to drag. While her experiences may no doubt be memorable, her writing is not. Don't waste your time reading this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only does this bring to light the gnawing subtleties of addiction, but it's a literary accomplishment. This is a memoir that offers a true portrayal of an alcoholic's life, but there's hope at the other end. Hope comes with a price and that means getting honest with oneself ... which is exactly what this author does!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written! Heather King's memoir is a gift.
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silverrosewench More than 1 year ago
I don't normally read non fiction but this book was well worth it. The writing style flowed well. The subject matter though serious reflects in a non-preachy way and makes you think about choices you may have made. I will be looking for other titles by this author.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tough to sympathize with a woman who seemingly wanted for nothing: a nice childhood, intelligence, supportive family, great education, multiple trips abroad (Paris, etc.), right down to her family-financed rehab stint. Better title? "Spoiled: The Tale of An Alcoholic who Drank for No Real Good Reason"