LIGHTING UP: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex

Susan Shapiro, Author . Delacorte $22 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-33833-2

As a follow-up to her memoir Five Men Who Broke My Heart , Shapiro turns from romantic train wrecks to nicotine addiction. Her struggle to end a two-pack-a-day problem will be familiar to anyone who's tried to kick the habit; her version of suffering includes eating too many lollipops, yelling at her husband and encountering writer's block. To make quitting easier, Shapiro visits a psychologist who specializes in addictions and finds herself both repulsed and drawn to his aggressive style, which involves following his advice without question for a year. And what do you know: after several months, Shapiro's cigarette cravings diminish—but she finds she's addicted to her therapy sessions and looks forward to them in the same way that a smoker thinks of her next drag. More seriously, the removal of Shapiro's literal smoke screen reveals aspects of her life—family and relationship issues—that she's neglected for decades. Writing this memoir was obviously cathartic for Shapiro, although reading it can be trying at times (e.g., her discourses on her other vices, like pot and caffeine, are quite long-winded). But Shapiro's wit and honesty elevate the work, and her sessions with her cool, intelligent psychologist capture all that's both absurd and mundane about such encounters. Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan. (Jan. 4)

Reviewed on: 12/13/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-385-33834-9
Open Ebook - 220 pages - 978-0-440-33523-8
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