The Recovering by Leslie Jamison
Intoxication and Its Aftermath

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Indeed, that's where "The Recovering" leaves us, with the sense of a writer intent on holding nothing back.
-LA Times

Synopsis

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"An astounding triumph . . . Profound . . . Achingly wise . . . A recovery memoir like no other." --Entertainment Weekly (A)
"Riveting . . . Beautifully told." --Boston Globe
"An honest and important book . . . Vivid writing and required reading." --Stephen King
"Perceptive and generous-hearted . . . Uncompromising . . . Jamison is a writer of exacting grace." --Washington Post
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams comes this transformative work showing that sometimes the recovery is more gripping than the addiction.
With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction--both her own and others'--and examines what we want these stories to do and what happens when they fail us. All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the complicated bearing that race and class have on our understanding of who is criminal and who is ill.
At the heart of the book is Jamison's ongoing conversation with literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Billie Holiday, Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson, and David Foster Wallace, as well as brilliant lesser-known figures such as George Cain, lost to obscurity but newly illuminated here. Through its unvarnished relation of Jamison's own ordeals, The Recovering also becomes a book about a different kind of dependency: the way our desires can make us all, as she puts it, "broken spigots of need." It's about the particular loneliness of the human experience-the craving for love that both devours us and shapes who we are.
For her striking language and piercing observations, Jamison has been compared to such iconic writers as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, yet her utterly singular voice also offers something new. With enormous empathy and wisdom, Jamison has given us nothing less than the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large, a definitive and revelatory account that will resonate for years to come.
 

About Leslie Jamison

See more books from this Author
Leslie Jamison has been published in BEST NEW AMERICAN VOICES 2008, A Public Space and Black Warrior Review Originally from Los Angeles, she went to Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently finishing a Ph.D. in English literature at Yale.  She is 25 years old.
 
Published April 3, 2018 by Little, Brown and Company. 545 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 22 2018
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Recovering
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 22 2018

The bracing, unflinching, and beautifully resonant history of a writer’s addiction and hard-won reclamation.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by SCOTT F. PARKER on Mar 30 2018

By turning her attention outward to the stories of others, Jamison understands her own experience in a context larger than the prism of self. “The Recovering” demonstrates what memoir has always assumed: that in the stories of others we find ourselves. It is a magnificent achievement.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Apr 02 2018

Inside every obese person, it is said, there’s a thin person dying to get out. Inside every piece of marble, there is a sculpture. Inside the 500-plus pages of “The Recovering” is a shorter, finer book and maybe even a screenplay awaiting someone.

Read Full Review of The Recovering: Intoxication ... | See more reviews from NY Times

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Mar 29 2018

Indeed, that's where "The Recovering" leaves us, with the sense of a writer intent on holding nothing back.

Read Full Review of The Recovering: Intoxication ... | See more reviews from LA Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Rick Whitaker on Apr 27 2018

The Recovering was written with honourable intentions, no doubt, but its author seems blind to a fundamentalism that reckons sobriety an absolute good and intoxication a sure sign of weakness. Jamison is increasingly pious, and pious against her own better judgment.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Annalisa Quinn on Apr 07 2018

But the promise of books is that we are bound up and implicated in other people's lives, even if they have nothing to do with us. Her story is ours now — what a gift.

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Reader Rating for The Recovering
57%

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