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Friday, September 06, 2013

Book Review: Drunk by Ann Dowsett Johnston

There's something cliche, but something that is just kind of perfect, about the cover for Ann Dowsett Johnston's new book, Drink. The rings left from the wine glass on the napkin or the bedside table or the kitchen island. Because it's about what women are left with after the glass is empty.

If you are a girl/woman/female person and

a. a casual drinker or
b. a binge drinker or
c. a regular drinker or
d. an excessive drinker or
e. a non-drinker

... you need to read Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.

Beyond being a story of Ann's personal struggle with alcoholism, Drink takes a close look at how the alcohol industry is targeting women with their products and advertising. While I was reading it, I definitely started to notice all of the "girl" drinks I hadn't really separated in my mind before. I also took a step back and realized just how prominent the presence of alcohol is in our daily lives. Drink discusses how to increase in alcohol abuse among women affects our private and public lives, and the overall impact of increase on society as a whole.

I could spend days telling you about what I learned in Drink, but I'd really rather you read it yourself, and then we can talk about it. There's definitely a discussion that needs to be happening.

But I will share a few things that really stood out to me:

  • When discussing minimum pricing on alcohol in other countries, Ann says the United States isn't expected to follow suit. Throughout most of the country, "beer is often the cheapest liquid available—cheaper than water, orange juice or milk." Sad but true!
  • The alcohol industry seems to be following the same patterns as the tobacco industry, which means that right now, alcohol is being marketed to younger crowds than before. And especially young women. After reading Bitter Brew, and thinking about the ads I see, I can definitely agree with this. 
  • Drunk driving is really, really moronic. I know this should be common sense. It's something we all say we'd never do, but it happens far too often. 
I really could go on forever, but like I said, this is a must-read. It didn't make me quit drinking, in fact, I'm having that totally relatable glass of wine after work that Ann talks about so much in the book as I type this. But, it has definitely made me examine my own habits and the habits of my peers, as well as the role all of this has in greater society. 

And wonderful work by Leah Carlson-Stanisic on the design. Thank you for not putting some terrible stock photo depicting some sort of Sex and the City-esque scene on this cover. 

+ my review of Bitter Brew
+ another alcohol-related book I'd really like to read


CS said...


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