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Blackout: remembering the things I drank to forget

Blackout: remembering the things I drank to forget

Hepola, Sarah, author

For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was 'the gasoline of all adventure'. She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed 'till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened 21st-century woman. But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead

Paperback, Book. English.
Published London: Two Roads, 2016

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Statement of responsibility: Sarah Hepola
ISBN: 1473616107, 9781473616103
Note: Originally published: 2015.
Physical Description: 230 pages ; 20 cm
Subject: Health and Wellbeing.; Health and Fitness.; Recovering alcoholics United States.; Hepola, Sarah Health.; Hepola, Sarah.

Author note

Sarah Hepola has written many stories about drinking and eating too much. Her essays on culture have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, The New Republic, Glamour, the Guardian, Slate, the Morning News, and Salon, where she was a longtime editor.
Her past jobs include: Travel columnist, music editor, film critic, sex blogger, and for about 15 seconds in the late '90s, she taught high school English.
She lives in East Dallas, where she enjoys playing her guitar poorly and listening to the Xanadu soundtrack. Blackout is her first book.


American journalist Sarah Hepola's extraordinary book describes her years of drinking... Writing with warmth and wit she explores reasons for her alcoholism
Independent||Simply extraordinary. Ms. Hepola's electric prose marks her as a flamingo among this genre's geese... As a form, addiction memoirs are permanently interesting because they're an excuse to crack open a life. Ms. Hepola's book moves to a top shelf in this arena... I'm glad, for herself and for us, that Ms. Hepola found A.A. and other varieties of help. "I had wanted alcohol to make me fearless," she writes. "But by the time I'd reached my mid-30s, I was scared all the time." It's a win-win. She got a better life. We have this book
New York Times||To say Blackout is a brutally honest memoir would be a bit of an understatement... It's a poignant and revealing look into the mind of an alcoholic that lets the reader experience all of the raw emotions the author feels during her struggles. It's a tale of friendships and how they evolve over the years... Blackout is one of the best memoirs I've read. Like Kristen Johnston's GUTS: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, it treats a sensitive subject with unbridled honesty and humour. Yes, Blackout is a touching and, at times, heart-breaking story. It will likely make you cry. But it will also make you laugh out loud... a tour de force... Read this book. You won't be disappointed
Huffington Post||This blew me away... Hepola is astonishingly and moving clear-sighted and honest about her drinking. She's also funny, and dry, and ever so clever
Bookseller (January 2016 preview)||Here's What People In Media Are Excited About In 2015... Sarah Hepola's Blackout, a dark, funny, honest-to-the-bone account of getting sober.
Buzzfeed||a memoir of her alcoholism but also an empathetic dissection of addiction and American drinking culture, and the blurry lines between the two. Hepola conveys both the horror in the mysteries left after a night smudged dark by drinking, and the draw of overdrinking that kept her carving out her memory with alcohol.
Atlantic||A memoir that's good and true is a work of art that stands the literary test of time and also serves a purpose in the present. It mines intimate, personal experiences to raise bigger questions, tell a bigger story, help readers understand themselves, their circumstances, their world. Like the best sermon, the best memoir comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable. Blackout, the debut memoir by Salon editor Sarah Hepola, is one such memoir. It's as lyrically written as a literary novel, as tightly wound as a thriller, as well-researched as a work of investigative journalism, and as impossible to put down as, well, a cold beer on a hot day. This book is a must-read redemption for everyone who has ever "craved something good for me" - which is to say, everyone.
Chicago Tribune||What's important about this book is that it treats alcohol as a symptom of the bigger issues we women deal with... Sarah writes it all with - dare I say? - sassiness and spunk. She's got a strong sense of where she came from, what she came through and where she's going - now that alcohol isn't along for the ride. I admire Sarah's honesty, I admire her anything-but-stereotypical stories and I admire her inventive, funny writing. But mostly, I admire Sarah herself. What she has accomplished - at such a young age - in regard to stepping up on behalf of her own well being. And what she has accomplished with the publication of this book - which has the potential to save the lives of so many other talented, spirited young women. Listen to Sarah Hepola. She's living proof of how fascinating a sober life can be.
Dallas Morning News - Editorial Opinion Blog||a fucking stellar book... Here's what Blackout is about: body image, sexual consent while being an alcoholic, online dating as a late 30-something, dating while recently sober, the challenge of experiencing your first sober romantic kiss and sexual encounter as a 30-something, AA, feminism, friendship through alcohol and sobriety, the relationship between alcohol and writing, and more... The writing is incredibly smart and maintains a level of intensity you don't often find in long-form memoirs... Blackout is an enthralling interrogation of a life. Even the most banal moments are beautiful, elevated, and resonate across the human experience.
The Rumpus||Blackout is devoid of preachy admonitions. Instead, Hepola has woven together a compendium of hard facts (like that fragmentary blackouts start at a blood alcohol level of 0.2), personal reflections, and cultural implications; the result is a startlingly personal, in-depth exploration of a phenomenon that's still not completely understood, neither by the scientific world nor, certainly, by victims of recurrent alcohol-induced blackouts
Elle US||You don't need to be a reformed problem drinker to appreciate Hepola's gripping memoir about the years she lost yoo alcohol - and the self she rediscovered once she quit.
The Fix||The most anticipated pop cultural events of 2015... Hepola's dark, wise and often terrifically funny insights into her own toughest experiences are unfailingly riveting, and there's no doubt in our minds that her debut memoir, coming in June, will be a sensation
Salon||refreshingly honest, self-deprecating, and totally unselfish memoir... This is a must-read for recovering addicts; for women susceptible to the glamour of being modern and independent; for anyone who has had a difficult past, and who wants to heal, but who wants mostly to laugh at themselves. Basically, we should all be reading Blackout this summer (and wishing the incredibly smart and candid Hepola was our BFF)
Bustle (13 Of June 2015's Best Books That Are The Perfect Summer Escape)||Razor-sharp... modern, raw, and painfully real-and even hilarious... Hepola moves beyond the analysis of her addiction, making this the story of every woman's fight to be seen for who she really is.
Kirkus - Starred review||The best books we can't wait to read in 2015... Hepola has written some great essays about her drinking years. Now she's expanded them into a book
Chicago Reader||Sarah Hepola's Blackout is the best kind of memoir: fiercely funny, full of hard-won wisdom, marked by a writer with phenomenal gifts of observation and insight. The book engages universal questions -- Where do I belong? What fulfills me? -- that will engage any reader.
Emily Rapp, author of THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD||The story of a rising star's journey of self-destruction and realization, Blackout is gripping, alternately excruciating and funny, scary and hopeful, and beautifully written. I loved it.
Anne Lamott, author of SMALL VICTORIES||This is a book about welcoming yourself back from a long absence. It's a memoir, but its author is not its main character; she is a new person sprung from the ashes of another one whose alcoholic self-erasure she describes with painful honesty and charming humor. A book about freedom that will help set others free as well
Walter Kirn, author of UP IN THE AIR||Sarah Hepola is my favorite kind of memoirist. She is a reporter with a poet's instincts, an anthropologist of her own soul. Blackout is a book about drinking and eventual sobriety, but it's also an exploration of the fleeting nature of the comfort we all constantly seek - comfort with the self, with others, with the whole maddening, confusing, exhilarating world. What's more, Hepola's ability to bring such precise and evocative life to the blank spaces that were her drinking blackouts is downright stunning in places. I admire this book tremendously.
Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of BETTER THAN BEFORE||Hepola's account of her experience with alcohol gives a fresh edge to what is essentially a book on the influence booze has on the most precious moments of our lives. Never does she pretend her days of drinking were not as enjoyable as they were painful - both physically and mentally. There is a self-awareness to her writing that hits the right notes without feeling didactic. This is most poignant when Hepola describes how she dealt with the extreme feelings of vulnerability and exposure that came with finally giving up alcohol. Or the moments where she recounts the pressure her alcoholism put on her closest friends. Being an alcoholic, Hepola explains, is the easy part. Sobriety, that's where the challenge begins. Hepola makes for an endearing and entertaining authorand Blackout is an honest account of letting go of (and at times enjoying) alcohol. One that will surely endear and entertain the reader
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