What's the first thing many women do when they go home? Make a dash for the white wine in the refrigerator.
In Her Best-Kept Secret, journalist Gabrielle Glaser uncovers this hidden-in-plain-sight drinking epidemic - but doesn't cause you to recoil in alarm. She is the first to document that American women are drinking more often than ever and in ever-larger quantities. And she is the first to show that contrary to the impression fostered by reality shows and Gossip Girl,young women alone are not driving these statistics - their moms and grandmothers are, too. But Glaser doesn't wag a finger. Instead, in a funny and tender voice, Glaser looks at the roots of the problem, explores the strange history of women and alcohol in America, drills into the emerging and counterintuitive science about that relationship, and asks: Are women really getting the help they need? Is it possible to come back from beyond the sipping point and develop a healthy relationship with the bottle?
Glaser reveals that, for many women, joining Alcoholics Anonymous is not the answer - it is part of the problem. She shows that as scientists and health professionals learn more about women's particular reactions to alcohol, they are coming up with new and more effective approaches to excessive drinking. In that sense, Glaser offers modern solutions to a very modern problem.
©2013 Gabrielle Glaser (P)2013 Blackstone Audiobooks
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which included a thorough history of alcohol in America, focusing particularly on the private and public relationship between women and alcohol. The author does an excellent job of mixing historical and scientific facts with personal stories. The author also delves thoroughly into the AA movement and its successes and failures for women; because 12 step programs are heralded as the only "real" answer to addictive behaviors and are so thoroughly embedded in our cultural narrative and judicial system, it makes sense that the author spends a lot of time confronting AA mythologies with both statistical evidence and personal stories. Other reviewers have pointed out that there is only a small portion of the book dedicated to the "and how they can regain control;" the author offers a few pharmacological and behavioral strategies for dealing with women's problem drinking, but this part of the book is not as well developed as the earlier sections. Overall, a very interesting read.
I enjoyed most of the first three chapters of this book but once we hit chapter four and the extreme criticism of Alcoholics Anonymous, this book left a very sour taste in my mouth. What the author failed to mention is that many AA's have tried countless times to control their drinking and have tried many of the methods she claims work better for women who are trying to do something about their drinking. I should know because after trying everything to control my drinking, the only thing that worked for me was AA. I have never encountered creepy "old timers" and usually most of the men at meetings try to not speak to women especially new comers. If AA doesn't work for you, then perhaps the medications listed may be a viable option. I know that AA isn't for everyone but there are many people that it has helped. It has changed my life and AA along with Al-Anon saved my marriage. It's good to be informed but the author of this book is not as informed as she makes herself out to be.
This is a diatribe on her dislike of AA. She does not have the experience to make such judgements.
Don't bother with this book.
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