Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading, 18 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Sober is the New Black: A Then and Now Account of Life Beyond Booze (Kindle Edition)
I only give five star reviews to books which are life-changing. I also think that too many five star reviews on a book looks suspiciously like croneyism. But I did feel that this was a very good book, and should be read by anyone worried that alcohol might be taking centre stage in their lives.

This book shows very effectively how alcohol can insidiously, destructively and completely take over a life. Throughout it powerfully juxtaposes events in the author's life--business conferences, family holidays, book club meetings--when she was drinking, and after she stopped. There's always a risk with this sort of personal memoir that it can become egocentric and dull, but this one avoids that on two counts. First, because Rachel will resonate with so many readers as a typical working mother, someone they can relate to. Second, because it doesn't go too deeply into aspects of her life (we never learn the names of her children or her Other Half, or what job she does) and stays firmly focussed on the subject of alcohol.

I particularly liked the metaphor where the author compares lifelong abstinence with her mortgage. Both are burdens which look huge and terrifying when viewed as a whole, but are manageable and life-affirming on a day-to-day basis.

The book well written, interesting and not overlong, but for me its best feature is the overriding optimism and delight on every page. If it has one message, it's that the sober life is wonderful (I fully endorse that). Rachel was evidently taken by surprise to find how much better everything, from social events to Christmas, is when you're not focussing solely on wine and how to drink as much of it as possible without anyone noticing. That brightness and assurance shines throughout the book and lifts it above other "sobriety memoirs". In fact, I would say that it should be required reading for anyone starting their journey to an alcohol-free life, because it will reassure them that not only is it something they have to do, but the rewards are considerable, and almost immediate.
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