Coulter’s essays are short, smart, and with the heart that the (mostly male) addiction stories seem to miss. You know, the sad, serious boys, the John Barleycorn dreamers, or those lost souls who tell of rock bottom and redemption ... Coulter uses formal experimentation to write about recovery standards that could become cliché in a lesser writer — running after quitting, a riff on a Mary Oliver poem, an account of her favorite booze over the years. Even the tale of Coulter’s journey to the first AA meeting is full of surprises ... Unlike recovery stories that require epiphanies, and come equipped with insider language and bravado, Coulter shows the slow, painful walk out of addiction and into recovery ... Coulter proves that our stories can be as complicated and powerful as we are.
Coulter...had a great but high-pressure job and a wonderful marriage—a generally enviable life. She had also been working her way up to a bottle of wine a night ... Once she quits, her abstention leaves an emotional void that she continually tries to fill, and also a social one ... The essays in this collection, her first book, are about finding her way in a life that once revolved around drinking. They simultaneously address love, sex, vulnerability, and being a woman in the world, in general. At turns heartrending and hilarious, Coulter is wonderfully conversational and never preachy as she tells her story of sobriety.
...[an] extraoardinary new collection ... rich and satisfying from beginning to end. Full of humor, heart, and intelligence, the collection intersperses longer, fully realized and multi-strand essays with short, creatively formatted pieces: lists, diary entries, quizzes, letters, and bits of advice ... Coulter is an acrobatic writer, deftly juggling mood and verbiage ... The particular flavor of this book is not drinking while being a member of the upper-middle-class ... Although sober life is the spine of this collection, there is so much more to it than commentary on sobriety. Unlike other essay collections unified by a single topic, a full and colorful illustration emerges of the personality behind this book ... it specializes in hitting both the sternum and the funny bone at once.