cover image Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Sarah Hepola, read by the author. Hachette Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 7.5 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-1-4789-0476-2

Salon editor Hepola delivers an engaging performance of her memoir chronicling a long struggle toward sobriety, from the angst of her teens through her hipster young adulthood and into the false starts and desperate cries for help of her 30s. Hepola’s material—as she confesses—could easily give way to coming-of-age addiction clichés, but the gritty no-nonsense tone of her delivery conveys a complete rejection of self-pity or victimhood. The audio edition includes a shockingly raw tape recording of Hepola at age 13 discussing a sexual experience with an 18-year-old. Hepola uses her natural poise to effectively re-create the smug stance of self-denial from her youth, as she displayed recurring anxiety about drinking but somehow managed to deflect tough questions. Such monologues provide valuable, nuanced insights about the nature of addiction, challenging assumptions about substance abusers being inherently weak and fragile. A Grand Central hardcover. (July)