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Book reviews for "Jersild,_Devon" sorted by average review score:

Happy Hours: Alcohol in a Woman's Life
Published in Paperback by Perennial (02 April, 2002)
Author: Devon Jersild
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an outsider attempts to look in
I appreciate the effort here by the sister of an alcoholic,
a concerned family member who is bewildered and cannot understand the illness.

However, I read the entire book, and I felt this author really
did not uncover anything useful for those who suffer from
addictive, compulsive behavior, or for those who are trying
to help people that do.

Addiction is extremely complex, and the stories in this book just
did not give me any enlightment at all into the behaviour. It seemed straight reporting by an outsider who really does not
understand. To put it bluntly, it was very clinical, and had
very little soul. I know this writer loves her sister, and means well, but this book shows little insight into the very difficult
process of unraveling the myriad reasons for destructive addictive behavior, and truly difficult work it takes to reverse
years and even decades of this behavior in many women who were
denied any sympathy in our society, or any support, since it
was considered so shameful, and such a sign of weakness.

The most valuable part of the book points out the years of hiding
that women suffer from alcoholism in numbers almost as great as
men, and that this was kept a secret. Also that women process
alcohol differently, and suffer harm from it more quickly than
men, but I don't think this is rocket science.

I also thought it was quite interesting that the author points out that AA was founded by well-to-do white males with big egos,
and that it is possible many women have problems with the basic suppositions of the 12 steps. Their big deal is that by relinquishing your personal power, you are admitting you can't control everything. Most women never grow up with these thoughts in their heads to begin with, since most women are taught from day one that they have no power.

I am sorry to disagree with the other reviews, but I gave this
book away.

An Intimate, Heartfelt Book
I read HAPPY HOURS with a growing sense of relief. At last somebody has looked at a serious issue for women with a strong inside view, and with understanding. Jersild's sister was an alcoholic, and she came to this subject from the experience of despair so familiar to member's of an alcoholic's family. Her slow discovery of the complexity of the issue is part of the book's narrative, which looks at this issue from many angles and incorporates myriad voices. This is a thorough study of a horrible problem, and readers who suffer from alcohol abuse or who have members of their families who do will find enlightenment in these pages.

An important study of a major problem
HAPPY HOURS is an important study of a major problem that reads itself like a novel or book of stories. Jersild is a beautiful writer, and she shapes the individual stories of these distressed women with consummate care and a poet's eye for details. The information presented is succinct and useful. This book should be standard reading on the subject for years to come.

The Unfeigned Word: Fifteen Years of New England Review
Published in Paperback by Middlebury College (1993)
Authors: Devon Jersild and T. R. Hummer
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