The day Koren turned fourteen she tasted alcohol for the first time. At fifteen she was piecing together forgotten fragments of drink, men and misplaced clothes. At sixteen she was being carried through hospital doors unconscious. And so it began...
Brought up by loving parents in a stable middle-class home, Koren was a sweet and altogether normal child. Yet from her mid-teens until her early twenties, she thought nothing of regularly drinking herself into a state of amnesia. Alcohol became her safeguard and prop, providing her with a self-confidence she couldn't otherwise feel. And whilst drinking to excess was perfectly acceptable, even actively encouraged, amongst her friends, it quickly reached a destructive monotony that bordered on dependency. It took a number of terrifying incidents - from stumbling home alone covered in vomit to waking up naked in bed unsure of whether she had lost her virginity - before Koren could finally say to herself enough was enough and seek help for her problem.
Smashed is the shocking but all-too-recognisable story of a young woman coming of age within a society that finds it easier to turn a blind eye to binge-drinking than address the problem head on. Beautifully written and brutally honest, compelling without preaching, this is a book that demands to be read.
Beautifully written, oddly affecting...
One of the most original and brutally honest memoirs I've read in a long while. Koren is a writer's writer - and she wipes the floor with any of her contemporaries. Smashed is definitely my find of the year
It is a testament to Zailckas's hard, fast, clever writing that Smashed grips from beginning to end
An original and moving book that perhaps starts to explain why we seem to have a generation of bing-drinking teenage girls
Well and fiercely written