cover image MORE, NOW, AGAIN: A Memoir of Addiction

MORE, NOW, AGAIN: A Memoir of Addiction

Elizabeth Wurtzel, . . Simon & Schuster, $25 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-2330-0

In her second book, Bitch, a discourse on self-destructive women, Wurtzel (Prozac Nation) admits to writing the manuscript while on drugs and then checking herself into rehab. In this memoir, she expands that admission to its extreme, minutely detailing life as a Ritalin addict and then as a rehab patient. But with its long stretches of descriptions about glass coffee-tables, tweezed leg hairs, missed phone calls and junkie buddies, this new book would have been more aptly titled "Prosaic Nation." Not only does Wurtzel tread on well-covered terrain about getting clean, she manages to add little or no insight either to her own habit or to the landscape of addiction in general. She's never figured out how to be a grown-up and do the little things like scrubbing a tub, she writes, "and remembering to eat and shampoo my hair. It's the basics: I can write a whole book, but I cannot handle the basics." Yet she fills this work with nothing but mere basics, like which cereals she eats, how she feels about television and how tough she finds life on a book tour. Even in rehab, that reliable bastion of craziness, the scenes are ordinary, washed out by Wurtzel's seeming lack of emotion. Indeed, throughout the book the author describes crying or worrying, but never seems to feel anything, so that when she has a surge of gung-ho self-esteem at the book's end, complete with a spiritual awakening, it rings false, a too hasty wrapup. Hardcore Wurtzel fans may find much to enjoy here, but the book's lack of depth and originality will check all but the most devoted. (Jan. 17)

Forecast:The toned-down and boring jacket (compared with those of Wurtzel's previous books) and her lackluster writing won't do much for sales. More, Now, Again has scant chances of reaching new readers—it just doesn't have the depth and insight of other works on addiction.