A journalist looks back on an alcohol addiction that nearly killed her while she was working in the alternative-news industry for papers such as the Austin Chronicle, and farther back to her traumatic Southern childhood, where the roots of her addiction unfurled.
With snide asides reminiscent of those spouted by the main character in Fleabag, Barnett mocks the hipsters she worked with in Austin ... Her prose zings as she describes drinking to fit in with her alternative-news tribe ... Her turnaround is illuminating and occasionally hilarious, as when her A.A. sponsor suggests she add the F-word while praying for an old boss she can’t find it in her amends-making arsenal to forgive. Though Barnett’s prose style is brassy and cleareyed, with echoes of Anne Lamott, the drinking stories become oppressively repetitive ... Braiding in the science, history and an analysis of America’s byzantine treatment system would have helped. But that context doesn’t surface until the last chapter, in a conclusion that feels tacked on, as if ordered up by an editor after the third draft. Still, Barnett’s pluck will appeal to avid memoir readers, who will cheer her hard-won recovery, especially the steadfastness of her best friend, Josh. For those new to recovery and the people who love them, Barnett’s story could be a balm.
... an intense account ... Barnett’s snappy prose carries the reader through several rounds of rehab before the final one sticks, pulling no punches as she goes. Barnett doesn’t skimp on her life’s lows ... Emotionally devastating and self-aware, this cautionary tale about substance abuse is a worthy heir to Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life.
Barnett rises to the challenge with a witty, self-deprecating, sometimes snide voice ... The author engagingly chronicles her Southern roots and her school years ... Barnett's journey involved an almost unbearable number of relapses, and readers may begin to feel the way her family and friends did: out of patience and sympathy. Nonetheless, this is the truth, and she tells it openly ... If you’re in the mood for a well-written, relatable, rock-bottom recovery memoir, this will hit the spot.