Drunk Mom: A Memoir

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An intense, complex and disturbing story, bravely and beautifully told. I read Drunk Mom with my jaw on the floor, which doesn’t happen to me that often.” —Lena Dunham

Three years after giving up drinking, Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale. It was a special occasion: a party celebrating the birth of her first child. It also marked Bydlowska’s immediate, full-blown return to crippling alcoholism.

In the gritty and sometimes grimly comic tradition of the bestselling memoirs Lit by Mary Karr and Smashed by Koren Zailckas, Drunk Mom is Bydlowska’s account of the ways substance abuse took control of her life—the binges and blackouts, the humiliations, the extraordinary risk-taking—as well as her fight toward recovery as a young mother. This courageous memoir brilliantly shines a light on the twisted logic of an addicted mind and the powerful, transformative love of one’s child. Ultimately it gives hope, especially to those struggling in the same way.
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About the author

Jowita Bydlowska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Canada as a teenager. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Salon and the Huffington Post. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her son and his father.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
May 27, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780698156395
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Psychology / Psychopathology / Addiction
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this powerful memoir, philosopher Karyn L. Freedman travels back to a Paris night in 1990 when she was twenty-two and, in one violent hour, her life was changed forever by a brutal rape. One Hour in Paris takes the reader on a harrowing yet inspirational journey through suffering and recovery both personal and global. We follow Freedman from an apartment in Paris to a French courtroom, then from a trauma center in Toronto to a rape clinic in Africa. At a time when as many as one in three women in the world have been victims of sexual assault and when many women are still ashamed to come forward, Freedman’s book is a moving and essential look at how survivors cope and persevere.

At once deeply intimate and terrifyingly universal, One Hour in Paris weaves together Freedman’s personal experience with the latest philosophical, neuroscientific, and psychological insights on what it means to live in a body that has been traumatized. Using her background as a philosopher, she looks at the history of psychological trauma and draws on recent theories of posttraumatic stress disorder and neuroplasticity to show how recovery from horrific experiences is possible. Through frank discussions of sex and intimacy, she explores the consequences of sexual violence for love and relationships, and she illustrates the steep personal cost of sexual violence and the obstacles faced by individual survivors in its aftermath. Freedman’s book is an urgent call to face this fundamental social problem head-on, arguing that we cannot continue to ignore the fact that sexual violence against women is rooted in gender inequalities that exist worldwide—and must be addressed.

One Hour in Paris is essential reading for survivors of sexual violence as well as an invaluable resource for therapists, mental health professionals, and family members and friends of victims.
“Some books celebrate the human condition; others commiserate with us. This memoir does both.” —Helen Oyeyemi, NPR

This spellbinding memoir by the National Book Award–nominated author of The Bird Artist begins with a portrait, both harrowing and hilarious, of a midwestern boy’s summer working in a bookmobile, under the shadow of his grifter father and the erotic tutelage of his brother’s girlfriend. Howard Norman’s life story continues in places as far-flung as the Arctic, where he spends part of a decade as a translator of Inuit tales—including the story of a soapstone carver turned into a goose whose migration-time lament is “I hate to leave this beautiful place”—and in his beloved Point Reyes, California, as a student of birds.
 
Years later, Norman and his wife lend their Washington, DC, home to a poet and her young son, and a subsequent murder-suicide in the house has a profound effect on them. In this “unexpectedly arresting” memoir, life’s unpredictable strangeness is fashioned into a creative and redemptive story (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“Norman uses the tight focus of geography to describe five unsettling periods of his life, each separated by time and subtle shifts in his narrative voice. . . . The originality of his telling here is as surprising as ever.” —The Washington Post
 
“These stories almost seem like tall tales themselves, but Norman renders them with a journalistic attention to detail. Amidst these bizarre experiences, he finds solace through the places he’s lived and their quirky inhabitants, human and avian.” —The New Yorker
"A blisteringly funny, wrenching account of wrestling way too close to—and later loose from—booze, sex and drugs and his adorable, infuriating mother. Bravo!" —Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author of The Liars' Club
"Whoever said you can't get sober for someone else never met my mother, Mama Jean. When I came to in a Manhattan emergency room after an overdose to the news that she was on her way from Texas, I panicked. She was the last person I wanted to see on that dark September morning, but the person I needed the most."

So begins this astonishing memoir—by turns both darkly comic and deeply poignant—about this native Texan's long struggle with alcohol, his complicated relationship with Mama Jean, and his sexuality. From the age of five all Brickhouse wanted was to be at a party with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other and all Mama Jean wanted was to keep him at that age, her Jamie doll forever. A Texan Elizabeth Taylor with the split personality of Auntie Mame and Mama Rose, always camera-ready and flamboyantly outspoken, Mama Jean haunted him his whole life, no matter how far away he went or how deep in booze he swam.
Brickhouse's journey takes him from Texas to a high-profile career in book publishing amid New York's glamorous drinking life to his near-fatal descent into alcoholism. After Mama Jean ushers him into rehab and he ultimately begins to dig out of the hole he'd found himself in, he almost misses his chance to prove that he loves her as much as she loves him. Bitingly funny, raw, and insightful, Dangerous When Wet is the unforgettable story of a unique relationship between a son and his mother.

In this powerful memoir of addiction, prison, and recovery, a reporter and a photographer tell their gripping story of falling in love, the heroin habit that drove them apart, and the unlikely way a criminal conviction brought them back together.

Books for a Better Life Award Finalist • LitHub Best Book of the Month

When Susan Stellin asked Graham MacIndoe to shoot her author photo for an upcoming travel book, she barely knew him except for a few weekends with mutual friends at a summer house in Montauk. He was a gregarious, divorced Scotsman who had recently gotten sober; she was an independent New Yorker who decided to take a chance on a rough-around-the-edges guy. But their relationship was soon tested when Susan discovered that Graham still had a drug habit he was hiding.

From their harrowing portrayal of the ravages of addiction to the stunning chain of events that led to Graham’s arrest and imprisonment at Rikers Island, Chancers unfolds in alternating chapters that offer two perspectives on a relationship that ultimately endures against long odds. Susan follows Graham down the rabbit hole of the American criminal justice system, determined to keep him from becoming another casualty of the war on drugs. Graham gives a stark, riveting description of his slide from brownstone Brooklyn to a prison cell, his gut-wrenching efforts to get clean, and his fight to avoid getting exiled far away from his son and the life he built over twenty years.

Beautifully written, brutally honest, yet filled with suspense and hope, Chancers will resonate with anyone who has been touched by the heartache of addiction, the nightmare of incarceration, or the tough choice of leaving or staying with someone who is struggling on the road to recovery. By sharing their story, Susan and Graham show the value of talking about topics many of us are too scared to address.

Praise for Chancers

“Stellin and MacIndoe, in entries sometimes akin to fighters in the ring, tell the story of their lives as MacIndoe rides a roller-coaster life of drug addiction and prison. . . . [Chancers] grabs in a voyeuristic way and propels page-turning to find out what happens next in a saga no soap opera could create.”—The Buffalo News

“Emotionally resonant and evenly structured, their tandem chronicle resists overly romanticizing their bittersweet interactions to focus on the dedication and devotion necessary to make their already-complicated relationship survive the fallout of critical hardships. An emotionally complex and intensely personal binary memoir of addiction and sustainable love.”—Kirkus Reviews
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