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4.1 out of 5 stars29
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 15 September 2009
Tania seems to have her stuff together. An accomplished author and broadcaster, she is a lady many of us might envy, yet who would think that she used to be an insecure mess hooked on drink, drugs and casual sex with undeserving people?
This book is about much more than just giving up drinking. It is about discovering a whole new level of self-respect, learning your lessons and getting on in life.
I think most of us will be able to relate to the times she describes, being stuck in some dark hole without a hope of getting out - but amazingly, she does despite an usupportive, emotionally cold mother and a rather motley crew of superficial, unreliable friends and lovers. She holds a mirror up and examines herself honestly, warts and all - then turns that mirror back on the reader to encourage her to do the same. She is eloquent and touchingly vulnerable in her descriptions of excess, regret and ultimately discovering a well-deserved love for herself.
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on 25 July 2011
Harrowing reading at first, the girl obviously had no sense of worth but not for reasons you could easily put your finger on. I identified with her hatred of summer completely. In the recovery part, she is matter of fact, doesn't dress it up and rightly and proudly thanks no-one for it but herself. I loved this book as I identified strongly with the authors story I suppose. Definitely worth a read even if quitting is still just a far away notion in your head.
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on 20 February 2008
I've known Tania since her sober years and her story came as a revelation to me. It was hard to believe that the confident, amazing woman I know was once so emotionally distraught and unhappy. This isn't your usual misery memory but the story of a woman who fell into drinking as a child licking the liquor off her parent's glasses and then moved later on to vodka and Class A's. There's a bit of social commentary too but not so much as to be boring. Tania has a very conversational writing style and her voice really comes through. I read it over a couple of days and then went back and reread passages. And if anyone thinks the NHS is taking alcohol abuse seriously, Tania's book proves otherwise!
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on 30 May 2010
What a blast of fresh air this memoir is. Having read many on the subject of addiction, this strong memoir arrives after a flux of American authors extolling the virtues of 12 step programs and evangelical redemption. Her astute observations and intelligence are a welcome relief in this genre. Also highly witty and informative. I think anyone struggling with a drinking problem, especially women, will get some clarity from Ms.Glyde's story. Highly recommended.
Clea Myers, writer 'Tweaking the Dream: A Crystal Meth True Story'Tweaking the Dream: A Crystal Meth True Story
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on 10 March 2011
A shockingly honest account of a young womans battle with alcohol. By reading her experiences, her downfalls, this book warns you of the path your life might follow if you take her lead. A very rewarding end to her story shows her in a knew state of mind and having established long term sobriety. This is an excellent real life drama which can teach invaluable insight in to alcoholism and just how far someone can fall.
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on 31 August 2011
Having read many books on the subject of alcholism I have grown used to reading sanitised accounts of what it means to live as an alcholic, mainly outlining how much help there is out there for people wanting to give up and how wonderful life will be when it you do. Unless you are wealthy and can afford to go private there is absolutely no help for anyone wanting to give up and believe me it takes alot of soul searching, heartache, humiliation and false starts before you reach that place in your head. At the end of the day it is all down to the individual and Tania Glydes story illustrates this perfectly. I was quite shocked at times at how honest she was about some of her experiences but I am forever grateful she was because she helped me feel I was not alone and despite everything I have done whilst drunk I can move on because I am not my past. I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with an addiction and also anyone trying to cope with someone close who is suffering because Tania really does tell it like it is.
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on 17 March 2009
I dont understand all this negative feedback and/or comments! I really loved this book, I found it moving and touching, funny and interesting. Tania Glyde is a very under-rated writer and observer, and this very personal book is a great piece of work.
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on 9 February 2008
This book is brilliantly written by a superb writer. She has grasped the nettle of her addiction and laid it all out with often, scary honesty.
This is certainly not flim-flam or does it kow-tow to the highly dubious (if you examine it) self-help movement, it is a chronicle of someone who came through under her own steam. This is to be respected and indeed, admired. This book does not glorify addiction in any way, neither does it offer pat answers, it is both laugh-out-loud funny and awfully sad.
Well done!
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on 27 February 2008
I will be completely upfront in that I know the author personally, though I only appear in Cleaning Up: How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived fleetingly and only in a professional capacity. I suspect that some of the more vitriolic reviews here in Amazon are from people who feature in the book - infer what you will. I am stating my connection with the author because it is only fair, but if I did not believe this was a book worth 5* then I'd not have reviewed it, I would simply not have bothered.

I first became aware of Tania's work through her column in Time Out and quite honestly it was the first and only thing I read in that magazine. The same attitude and voice that attracted me to her work initially is here in this book, but it has a chance to grow and develop as it picks over one of the most difficult subjects someone can write about; themselves. I picked the book up on afternoon and by lunch time the next day I'd finished it, it is that compelling.

It is really difficult to categorise this book as it is not a self-help book. It is not a celebrity gossip tome either, nor is it a personal catalogue of misery and tear-wrenching abuse. However, it does cover a lot of bases, from Tania's childhood experiences, through her life to the point where the moment arrived; alcohol has been the one constant and it is time to break the relationship or face destruction. Tania pulls off a neat trick throughout Cleaning Up: How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived by never falling into self-pity, self-parody, self-mythologizing or becoming utterly self-obsessed and psedo-Californian.

The string that binds this book is the relationship that Tania had with booze; how it was formed, what fed and nurtured it, its nature and the aftermath it left in its wake. Yes: there are lists. We are a generation of lists (when will someone do a book of top 100 lists of all time, number one will be The Godfather). However, I found that it all worked really well having a chapter of the personal, then a chapter of contextualisation - the Brits and the demon drink. It can be frustrating getting a diatribe about the problems that we have with intoxication in the UK without having nicely packaged conclusion that offers to solve it all. But Tania is not canvassing votes or espousing a social policy and the simple fact is that there are no straight forward answers, they only exist in the Daily Mail.

So, who should read this book? Well, this book is not a tool, it is one person's story about giving up a magnificent drinking habit. It's scary in parts, touching at times, funny throughout and thoughtful from the first page to the last. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever woken up and said "never again!" even if they don't' mean it. It is a rare privilege to obtain access to the details of someone else's hard-learned lessons; what you chose to do with that - laugh, cry, self-asses, write to your MP - is up to you.
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on 9 January 2008
This is a gobsmacking roller coaster ride through the failures of post-post war British liberated society. Far more than an alcohol diary, it's a suicidally frank account of fear, horror and collapse. The fact that it has a relatively happy ending in this case doesn't mean that the players aren't still carrying on regardless. Sex, drugs, booze, casual cruelty, hatred and fear, described with harrowing realism, interspersed with cheerful practical advice, all well written. Never a dull moment. And the worst thing is that it's all plausible, all rings true. This book is a sharp pointer to the the disfunctional society that we have created.
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