"Bookstores are flooded with boozy bios by former girls gone wild." This one rises to the top. -People
"Poised and elegiac... Smashed goes down with a slow, genteel burn." -The New York Times Book Review
"A mortifyingly credible story." -The New York Times
"Brilliant and horrifying." -The Baltimore Sun
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Perhaps the most cautionary aspect of Zailckas' eye-opening account of girlhood alcohol abuse is the fact that her story is surprisingly common. Like many girls, she took her first tentative sips at the age of 14. Two years later, she would remember few details of the night she landed -- bruised, filthy, and completely spent -- in the local emergency room, a couple of drinks away from death by alcohol poisoning.
Zailckas uses lyrical and often poetic language to narrate her ugly downward spiral. From thrill-seeking teenager to blacked-out sorority girl, she refuses to flinch at the disclosure of the humiliating details of her past. She wants to tell her story, and she wants to tell it honestly, as a warning to those girls who would potentially follow in her footsteps.
This terrible societal trend needs courageous women like Zailckas to sound the horn. Today, young girls drink in greater numbers than ever before, and they often binge-drink. Alcohol does for them what it has long done for others: gives false courage, numbs emotional pain, and provides a few hours in which, against all evidence, life seems to be okay. Fans of Goat and A Million Little Pieces will appreciate the sincerity of this memoir; admirers of Odd Girl Out and Reviving Ophelia would do well to read it, too. (Spring 2005 Selection)
… Ms. Zailckas somehow stayed sharp enough to remember the most humiliating things that happened to her. At the same time, she got drunk with a frequency and variety that translate into a whole book's worth of 100-proof cautionary tales. Her memoir offers a mortifyingly credible story of smart young women doing stuporous things.
The New York Times
Zailckas, 24, charts her relationship with alcohol from first taste at 14 to eventual abstinence at 23. Her cast of supporting drinkers reveals that her alcohol abuse-"highlights" of which include alcohol poisoning at 16 and a blackout with possible loss of virginity in college-is not uncommon. These women drink as a method of socializing and as a seeming means to deal with rage, self-doubt, and depression. Alcohol was the author's preferred conduit of bonding with other women, yet it prevented her from forming meaningful relationships. While Zailckas's writing lacks the humor of Augusten Burroughs's Dry, her rather poetic prose works to reveal a problem that goes beyond the personal. However, her own story remains the strongest and most moving aspect of the book, despite tiresome rants against the alcohol industry's glamorization of drinking and the government's and colleges' lame campaigns against problem drinking. Overall, a powerful memoir; recommended for large collections and especially high school and college libraries.-Amanda Glasbrenner, New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
An astonishingly revealing debut chronicles nine years of binge drinking in high school, college, and beyond. Now 23 and sober, the author begins her story of alcohol abuse with her first drink, taken in the summer of 1994 when she was14. It's an event she remembers vividly, as she does the first time her parents caught her drinking a year later and the first time she blacked out, another year after that. With alcohol, Zalickas discovers a way to end her feelings of shame, lack of self-confidence, even self-loathing. Since her drunken self becomes confident and brave, she drinks expressly for the purpose of getting drunk. Throughout high school, she has to hide her drinking, but at college-Syracuse University-she finds that it's more than accepted; it's expected. This is certainly true at the sorority she joins, nicknamed the Zeta Alcoholics and reputedly filled with fast-living and fun-loving girls. Zailckas confesses to spending more time in the bars around campus than at the gym, the library, or the dining hall. Out of college and working in Manhattan, she continues for a time to binge drink to quell her social anxieties, but after a blackout that ends with her waking up not knowing where she is or with whom, she is scared enough, or perhaps grown-up enough, to quit. While her account of college years rarely mentions the academic side, she clearly must have spent some fruitful time in class. Certainly the influence of her writing teacher, Mary Karr, author of The Liar's Club, is evident here. Unlike Karr, however, Zailckas repeatedly inserts into her disturbing memoir facts about teenage drinking to demonstrate that her experience with booze is not unique ("the mean age of the firstdrink for girls is less than thirteen years old," or "nearly three-fourths of sorority-house residents are binge drinkers"). Riveting, with a powerful message for parents of teenaged girls. Agent: Erin Hosier/The Gernet Company