Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood

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Garnering a vast amount of attention from young people and parents, and from book buyers across the country, Smashed became a media sensation and a New York Times bestseller. Eye-opening and utterly gripping, Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment.

With one stiff sip of Southern Comfort at the age of fourteen, Zailckas is initiated into the world of drinking. From then on, she will drink faithfully, fanatically. In high school, her experimentation will lead to a stomach pumping. In college, her excess will give way to a pattern of self-poisoning that will grow more destructive each year. At age twenty-two, Zailckas will wake up in an unfamiliar apartment in New York City, elbow her friend who is passed out next to her, and ask, "Where are we?" Smashed is a sober look at how she got there and, after years of blackouts and smashups, what it took for her to realize she had to stop drinking. Smashed is an astonishing literary debut destined to become a classic.

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About the author

Koren Zailckas is the author of the memoir Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, which appeared on ten national bestseller lists and spent twenty weeks on the The New York Times bestseller list. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and daughter.

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3.4
40 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jan 31, 2006
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781101191392
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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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Koren Zailckas
By the New York Times bestselling author of Mother, Mother and Smashed, a propulsive new thriller featuring a devious and unreliable narrator who will do anything to give her family a better life

Gracie Mueller is a proud mother of two and devoted wife, living with her husband Randy in upstate New York, her life complicated by the usual stressors and tedium—young children, marriage, money—and she’s settled down comfortably enough. But Gracie, underneath all that’s marked her life as average, has a lot to hide about where she’s from, who she is, and who she’s been. And when Randy’s failing career as a real estate agent makes finances tight, their home goes into foreclosure, and Gracie feels she has no choice but to return to the creatively illegal and high-stakes lifestyle of her past in order to keep all that she’s worked so hard to have.
 
Gracie learned from her manipulatively charming father how to steal identities in order to survive, and she eases back into her routine of lying and cheating with a wicked skillset and gritty resolve. Things begin to slip out of her control, though, when her web of deceit lands her a job as a private school drama teacher--a role that demands emotional honesty--and soon more questions about the truth of her past are raised, including all the ones she never meant to, or even knew to, ask.
 
Written with the style, energy, and penetrating insight that made her memoir Smashed a bestselling phenomenon, Koren Zailckas's next novel confirms her growing reputation as a psychological novelist that can stand up to the best of them.
Cupcake Brown
Eleven-year-old Cupcake Brown woke up on the bicentennial and found her mother still in bed. She struggled to wake her up, pushing and pulling until she managed to tug her mother's lifeless corpse onto her own small body, crushing her beneath its dead weight. After squeezing out from under her mother, Cupcake calmly walked over to the phone and called her aunt Lori. "Lori, my momma's dead."

Here is the threshold of a hell for young Cupcake. Rather than being allowed to live with the man she believed to be her father--who turns out to have been her stepfather--she is forced into a foster home where the kids were terrorized, the refrigerator padlocked, and Cupcake sexually abused. She eventually fled the house, only to find herself wandering from misadventure to misadventure in the "system," while also developing a massive appetite for drugs and alcohol, an appetite she paid for by turning tricks. She settled down in Los Angeles and found a home in the Crips, where she was taken in and befriended by gangsters like the legendary "Monster" Kody Scott. For the first time she found a family, but when Cupcake was blasted in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun, she was once more taken in by the system.

At 16, her stepfather reeneters her life and engineers an "emancipation," in which the courts declare her an adult and free her, finally, from the child welfare system. Cup takes advantage of her new freedom to start a drug-dealing operation with her stepfather, who also manages a stable of colorful prostitutes. Soon she meets a man, falls in love, and gets married. He convinces her to get a real job and learn to speak proper English--but he also abuses her and introduces her to crack cocaine. Cupcake flits from job to job, miraculously, given that she never fails to show up without some cocktail of narcotics floating in her system.

She hits rock bottom when, in desperation, she steals crack from her drug dealer. He beats her nearly to death, rapes her, and then leaves her body behind a dumpster. Cupcake wakes up days later, not sure of how she ended up in this state and from that moment begins to turn her life around. She was adopted by a lawyer who ran the law firm where she "worked," and slowly he assisted her in kicking the habit--with the help of an eccentric group of fellow addicts who became, at last, a family to her--and catching up on her education. With the support of her new family, she eventurally goes all the way to law school (although not without a few additional misadventures along the way) and joins one of the top law firms in the country.

Cupcake's story is an inspiring, at times hilarious, often distrubing, and deeply moving account of a singular woman who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with wit and a ferocious will. It updates classic memoirs like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Makes Me Wanna Holler, and gives a bold and gritty spin to contemporary memoirs like Finding Fish. At the center of it, Cupcake is a charming and inspiring narrator through the inferno of her life.


From the Compact Disc edition.
Koren Zailckas
By the New York Times bestselling author of Mother, Mother and Smashed, a propulsive new thriller featuring a devious and unreliable narrator who will do anything to give her family a better life

Gracie Mueller is a proud mother of two and devoted wife, living with her husband Randy in upstate New York, her life complicated by the usual stressors and tedium—young children, marriage, money—and she’s settled down comfortably enough. But Gracie, underneath all that’s marked her life as average, has a lot to hide about where she’s from, who she is, and who she’s been. And when Randy’s failing career as a real estate agent makes finances tight, their home goes into foreclosure, and Gracie feels she has no choice but to return to the creatively illegal and high-stakes lifestyle of her past in order to keep all that she’s worked so hard to have.
 
Gracie learned from her manipulatively charming father how to steal identities in order to survive, and she eases back into her routine of lying and cheating with a wicked skillset and gritty resolve. Things begin to slip out of her control, though, when her web of deceit lands her a job as a private school drama teacher--a role that demands emotional honesty--and soon more questions about the truth of her past are raised, including all the ones she never meant to, or even knew to, ask.
 
Written with the style, energy, and penetrating insight that made her memoir Smashed a bestselling phenomenon, Koren Zailckas's next novel confirms her growing reputation as a psychological novelist that can stand up to the best of them.
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