Drinking, A Love Story

Nov 4, 2015

This memoir was recommended to me almost ten years ago in a creative writing class at Iowa State University. From the title, I assumed the plot would involve a saturated love affair committed in lapsed judgment between two people. I quickly discovered that the passion in this love story is for the bottle.

Caroline Knapp writes about alcohol with the kind of reverence and sensory description that made me, well, thirsty. The beads of moisture on a chilled wine bottle. The sound of ice cubes clattering in a tumbler. The warming, melting feeling of your first drink after a long day. The book has one of the best first chapters I’ve ever encountered, where the reader effortlessly slips into the skin of the writer, and stays there for better or worse.

​“A love story. Yes: This is a love story,” she writes. “It’s about passion, sensual pleasure, lust, years, yearning hungers. It’s about needs so strong they’re crippling. It’s about saying goodbye to something you can’t fathom living without.”

​Knapp, who was born into upper-middle class society and drank her way through an Ivy League education, writes in an eloquent and literary tone without an ounce of self-pity. She details the delights and degradations of her addiction, taking responsibility for her actions along the way. She also incorporates a great deal of her journalistic style and research into her writing, so this account reads larger than one person’s struggle. 

Drinking: A Love Story goes so much deeper than the gritty addiction memoirs that have become popular in the last decade. Knapp offers important incites about alcoholism and overcoming dependency issues. Check out this tale of triumph and many more at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.