Caroline Knapp

Caroline Knapp was an American writer and columnist whose candid best-selling memoir Drinking: A Love Story recounted her 20-year battle with alcoholism. She was the daughter of noted psychiatrist Peter H. Knapp, who did groundbreaking research into psychosomatic medicine.
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Fifteen million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of them are women. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as "liquid armor," a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it.

It was love at first sight. The beads of moisture on a chilled bottle. The way the glasses clinked and the conversation flowed. Then it became obsession. The way she hid her bottles behind her lover's refrigerator. The way she slipped from the dinner table to the bathroom, from work to the bar. And then, like so many love stories, it fell apart. Drinking is Caroline Kapp's harrowing chronicle of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol.

Caroline had her first drink at fourteen. She drank through her yeras at an Ivy League college, and through an award-winning career as an editor and columnist. Publicly she was a dutiful daughter, a sophisticated professional. Privately she was drinking herself into oblivion. This startlingly honest memoir lays bare the secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships that go hand in hand with drinking. And it is, above all, a love story for our times—full of passion and heartbreak, betrayal and desire—a triumph over the pain and deception that mark an alcoholic life. 

Praise for Drinking

“Quietly moving . . . Caroline Knapp dazzles us with her heady description of alcohol's allure and its devastating hold.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Filled with hard-won wisdom . . . [a] perceptive and revealing book.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Eloquent . . . a remarkable exercise in self-discovery.”—The New York Times

“Drinking not only describes triumph; it is one.”—Newsweek
At the age of 36, Caroline Knapp, author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of both her parents, given up a twenty-year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, "I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, in the face of such daunting vulnerability?"  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.  Eighteen months to the day after she quit drinking, Knapp stumbled upon an eight-week-old puppy at a local animal shelter, took her home, and named her Lucille.  Now two years old, Lucille has become a central force in Knapp's life: "In her," she writes,  "I have found solace, joy, a bridge to the world."

Caroline Knapp has been celebrated as much for her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues as she has been for her gifts as a writer.  In Pack of Two, she brings the same perception and talent to bear on the rich, complicated terrain of human-animal relationships.  In addition to mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a wide variety of dog people--from animal behaviorists and psychologists to other owners whose dogs have deeply affected their lives--about this emotionally complex, sometimes daunting, often profoundly healing alliance.  Throughout, she explores the shift in canine roles from working partners to intimate companions and looks, too, at how this new kinship, this wordless bond, becomes a template for what we most desire ourselves.
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