Drinking: A Love Story

Drinking: A Love Story - Caroline Knapp Over the last month, I've gleaned a lot of odd looks from friends and coworkers when I tell them I've given up alcohol for Lent. Part of this is because they know me to be without religion. I blame my decision on Alain de Botton and his TED lecture "Atheism 2.0", in which he talks about the good parts of religion, about ritual and community. A few days after I saw the lecture, several of my Facebook friends (both Catholic and not) were discussing what to give up for Lent. I thought, "What a great way to learn to appreciate your luxuries. I think I'll do that." I picked alcohol because it would be something that would be moderately difficult, but not impossible. I'm quite the fan of a good scotch whisky. I do tend to stop by the pub round the corner from my house for a pint when I've had a harsh day at work. When I'm struggling with writing a new draft I sometimes find a small glass of wine will loosen my inhibitions enough to get the main ideas down (a large glass, on the other hand, wreaks havoc with my concentration). Experimenting with different behavoral patterns has been interesting to say the least. All this makes it interesting that in looking for a related memoir, I stumbled on Caroline Knapp's. A female writer of about my age who also had a strained relationship with her father. Knapp's memoir tackles alcoholism from an unusual point of view, that of a relationship. It's an interesting take on the subject, one that personalizes alcoholism in a different way. It happened this way: I fell in love and then, because the love was ruining everything I cared about, I had to fall out again. In a way, Caroline Knapp fell in love, not with drink, but with the person she felt she was when she was drinking. Someone more confident and outgoing, someone who worried less. In searching for that person, she fell down the proverbial rabbit hole and for the longest time, couldn't climb back out. I was interested to find that the copyright page of this memoir contains a disclaimer that it is a "work of fiction". I first I thought this was a result of the hooplah over James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, but in checking the dates, it's not clear. This particular edition was printed before the scandal broke, but that doesn't mean it wasn't added in supsequent printings. Whatever the reason, it does not cause me to doubt the veracity of the memoir, rather I see it as Knapp's awareness that memories of the years covered in this retrospection are patchy at best.