I'm the binge-drinking health reporter. During the week, I write about Australia's booze-soaked culture. At the weekends, I write myself off.
Born and raised in Scotland, the home of whisky, Jill Stark had booze in the blood. Alcohol had dominated her social life ever since she had her first sip of lager, at 13. She thought nothing could curb her love of big nights. Then came the hangover that changed everything.
In the shadow of her 35th year, Jill made a decision: she would give up alcohol. But what would it mean to stop drinking in a world awash with booze?
This lively memoir charts Jill's tumultuous year on the wagon, as she copes with the stress of the newsroom sober, tackles the dating scene on soda water, learns to watch football minus beer, and deals with censure from friends and colleagues, who tell her that a year without booze is a year without mates.
In re-examining her habits, Jill also explores the global love affair with alcohol, meeting alcopop-swigging teens who drink to fit in, beer-swilling blokes in a sporting culture backed by booze, and marketing bigwigs blamed for turning binge drinking into a way of life.
And she retraces her drinking steps to Scotland, where getting p***d is seen as a birthright. Will Jill make it through the year without booze? And if she does, will she go back to old habits, or has she called last drinks? This is a funny, moving, and insightful exploration of why we drink, how we got here, and what happens when we turn off the tap.
©2013 Jill Stark (P)2014 Audible Ltd
I was interested in the experience of the writer giving alcohol up for a year. As I journeyed with her I found rather than hearing how dull her life was without drink, her experience opened her eyes to what is important in life. Drink can control our beliefs, and the thought of not being one of the gang is almost unthinkable but Jill shows life is different, in many ways better with a clear head and days not wasted recovering from a hangover. It offered choices not demands to change, very thought provoking, especially the medical side of drinking on not only the body but the mind. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.
"Great Book, for the right audience"
I REALLY enjoyed this book. I want to say first off though that anyone with no binge drinking experience just won't get it so they might as well skip it. The perfect audience is what I was, someone who has recently had a bad hangover that led them to wonder - am I just that person who should never drink? And, is that even possible? We follow our formerly binge drinking health reporter through totally relatable, and often funny, sometimes sad, situations. I should mention that I normally hate when narrators have strong accents. I have a horrible time understanding them and find it unnecessary. In this case, while heavily accented the reader is clear and the accent and local slang are more atmospheric than annoying. The book at times can get a little statistics heavy, and I didn't necessarily agree with everything (for example, I never saw an issue with alcohol ads during sporting events) but overall I found the book very interesting. One thing that stuck with me was the comment that not drinking at all was what people did when they found moderate drinking to be too hard. There is also the drama of what our heroine will do when her time is up. Kept me interested all the way through.
"My life story?"
I identified with almost every aspect of her life. I'm a 30 something professional with a group of 30-something professional friends. We're all upstanding citizens, but we are all hard partiers (on weekends). No one at work would ever suspect this about me. I feel like I live some kind of double life.I didn't start drinking in my teens, like the writer did; nonetheless, the party lifestyle is growing tiresome and I want to take a break. I cringed at all of the reactions she received from her friends, because they're pretty much what I'm expecting to hear from mine. Ugh.The ending of the book got a bit off in the weeds, but it did illustrate how she worked through a very sad time without using alcohol as a crutch. Her reporter side definitely shows, and there are a lot of studies cited with regard to the negative affects of alcohol on the body and brain. The immortal child in me likes to ignore these kinds of reports, and I appreciate being made aware of them while I am a captive audience.A good reminder that we're not getting any younger. I think it this book will be a great source of moral support during my own "time off".
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