The Recovering by Leslie Jamison

The Recovering

By the New York Times bestselling author of THE EMPATHY EXAMS, an exploration of addiction, and the stories we tell about it, that reinvents the traditional recovery memoir.With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic 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 elec...

Details The Recovering

TitleThe Recovering
Release DateApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Recovering

  • Roxane
    This was an interesting book, and one I enjoyed. It is a memoir of the author’s addiction and coming to sobriety alongside a cultural history of writers and addiction. The breath of Jamison’s knowledge on this subject is impressive if, at times, overwhelming. She lovingly details several writers famous for their drinking, and the creative work that rose from that drinking or was stymied. She also looks at some of the sociopolitical implicatio...
  • Thomas
    3.5 starsLet me start by sharing that I consider Leslie Jamison a brilliant, brilliant writer. The Recovering is an intelligent, thorough book about addiction that includes cultural history, literary criticism, journalistic reportage, and memoir. Jamison asks thought-provoking questions and explores complex topics with a fresh, sharp eye for nuance, such as: whether our stories need to be unique for them to matter, the extent we all go to fill ou...
  • Canadian Reader
    When Leslie Jamison was nine and her father was forty-nine, she asked him why people drank. That day he told her that drinking was dangerous. It wasn’t dangerous for everyone, he said, “but it was dangerous for us.” Two close relatives were alcoholics—his father and his sister, Phyllis— and, as Jamison later points out, genetics do contribute to alcoholism. Her father was right to warn her. It’s too bad she didn’t heed his words.As ...
  • jeremy
    whatever beauty comes from pain can't usually be traded back for happiness. leslie jamison's new book, the recovering: intoxication and its aftermath, straddles several genres at once, coalescing to form a candid, incisive, empathetic, and magnificently composed work about addiction and recovery. with her own personal tale of alcoholism, relapse, and ultimate recovery as narrative anchor, jamison explores the lives of fellow writers for whom addi...
  • Lee
    I'm a recovering addict who was looking forward to this book, but found it infuriating, exploitative,narcissistic, and bougie. While Jamison's writing is lyrical, descriptive, and beautiful; her story lacks credibility. She insists that she wants to write a different kind of recovery story and has the audacity to compare her life to real addicts like Billie Holiday and Charles Jackson. Jamison amplifies normal college binge drinking experiences f...
  • lp
    Leslie Jamison is a master. Nobody thinks like her, nobody writes like her. I don't know how she manages to tell her story perfectly braided with the stories of others—regular others who have recovered from alcohol addiction and famous writers. This book is funny and a gut punch. Everyone can relate because it asks the question: why do we desire things that are so destructive?
  • Leo Robertson
    Jamison acknowledges that recovery stories are nothing new, really—but worth bearing witness to in their sameness. Certainly I always enjoy reading the myriad ways that people muck up their lives with substances or whatever it is they choose to abuse. (Because we all do it to some extent, right?)Maybe my voracity for this type of material, in fact, left not that much new about it. Odd that Jamison thought it necessary to repeat the narrative of...
  • Hannah Garden
    Mommas, don’t let your dissertations grow up to be memoirs._______I just spent most of the afternoon writing a review of this that Goodreads did not save, so please excuse me while I go rip up some trees by their roots.
  • Alaina
    This is one of the most beautiful and compelling and true books I can remember reading. So full of insights and glistening wisdom that I found myself underlining for the first time in years.Read this if you ever felt there was a “leak sprung inside [you].” Read this if you have struggled with addiction. Read this if you have struggled at all. Read this if you are human.
  • Lissa
    Leslie Jamison is the author of a popular collection of essays, The Empathy Exams. With this book she follows her own experiences with alcoholism and recovery interspersed with other writer’s struggles. She explores the connection between addiction and creativity and discusses whether it is a necessary connection. I found Jamison’s account to be an insightful look at the ways in which addiction occurs and the affect it has on relationships an...
  • Truman32
    Leslie Jamison’s captivating and exceptionally written book, The Recovering, is part addiction memoir and part rumination on the impact addiction plays on creating art. It’s a hybrid like a Cockapoo, or Taco Bell’s French Toast Chalupa. In between retellings of sneaking drinks and sad drunken debacles, Jamison worries that her recovery may signal the end of her creativity and artistic talent.I was struck by how much The Recovering was like ...
  • Riva Sciuto
    "When you're hungry for wisdom, it's everywhere."***As a big fan of 'The Empathy Exams,' I was eager to read Leslie Jamison's new memoir. Sadly, though, 'The Recovering' didn't resonate with me nearly as much as I had hoped. While she acknowledges the universality of her struggle with alcoholism -- and, in fact, says its "redundancy" is what makes it relatable -- she fails to differentiate her experience in a way meaningful enough to warrant an a...
  • Victoria
    I feel super conflicted about my reading experience with this one. I was so captivated by the first third--like with all of Empathy Exams, I just wanted to bury my face and soak in Jamison's ideas and connections. By the middle of the book, I'd lost the thread and had to force myself to press on. As I tried to pinpoint what was dragging the narrative down for me, I felt the author preemptively running circles around my latent arguments (e.g. "you...
  • Daniel Dao
    So. Good. This book has caused me to reconsider everything I’ve read and go on some rampant review path.
  • Sarah
    Excellent writing about a difficult subject to make interesting: an upper middle class white girl with no real problems discovers that heavy boozing is fun, addictive, and potentially makes her more interesting as a person and as a writer. Her story was fascinating and well-told. I'll admit I glazed over for some of the stories about famous drunk writers because I found hers just much more intriguing. I read it in 3 days.
  • Kat Saunders
    Sprawling, ambitious, intimate & universal. I enjoyed Leslie Jamison's collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, but my biggest complaint about that book was that I felt like Jamison's narrative persona was withholding personal information to the point of distraction. Here, Jamison is no longer evasive. She confesses it all--with clarity and precise language. Beyond the personal, she situates her own story of addiction and recovery within a much l...
  • Sarah
    This book is VERY overdue at the library. I thought I would never finish it. I read this because the author is an incandescent writer who enraged me to no end in her first book of essays, The Empathy Exams. There were a lot of shady reviews of this book but I have to say I’m happy for the author as she seems to have made some serious progress with her recovery. It’s affected her entire life. She’s an incredible writer and I’m glad for her...
  • Gabriella
    Unlike many of y’all, I have made it this far in my life without ever reading The Empathy Exams: Essays, so this is my first encounter with Leslie Jamison’s work. The Recovering is a meandering co-exploration of Jamison’s struggles with alcohol addiction and the struggles of other famous and infamous artists, as well as everyday people she encounters in the news and AA. Throughout this (EXTREMELY LONG) memoir, Jamison keeps a surprisingly g...
  • Ann
    I've been wanting to read Leslie Jamison's THE RECOVERING: INTOXICATION AND ITS AFTERMATH ever since I've heard about its release. I requested the ARC through Netgalley and was thrilled that I was approved to read the advanced review copy. But, life happened and I wasn't able to read it right away. Finally, Finally, I have been able to dive into this account of Jamison's story. But is it Jamison's story? Yes, of course it is. It also the story of...
  • Jamie
    Brilliant. A tour-de-force from one of my favorite living writers.
  • Casey
    Super heavy and a pretty long read, but I appreciate Leslie Jamison and this book so much. I ended up skimming toward the middle and just read her personal bits of getting sober. There was only so much drunk writer stuff I could take (I realize what a flippant comment that is, btw). I commend this audacious book regardless and I think it's important reading.
  • Jeimy
    A personal look at one woman’s relationship with controlled substances. It explores the allure and mystique of alcohol not only through her story, but that of famous authors and her fellow AA members.
  • Geoffrey McPhail
    If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction of any kind (but especially if it's alcohol), then this book should be essential reading. I legitimately don't think I've ever identified with any book more than this one. The binge drinking. The secret drinking. The justification that quitting drinking will be an adherence to your art. The constant lying about your drinking both to yourself and to others. The strain drinking can ca...
  • Adam Lowy
    It’s wonderful that self-identifying as an addict has helped Ms. Jamison, by allowing her to write this popular memoir and possibly by organizing her life. I am a community psychiatrist who has treated for over the past twenty years , many who have suffered tremendous losses from their addiction. They are bright, wonderful people, at one point full of hopes and dreams, who due to addiction ( as well as other factors: severe mental illness, pove...
  • Monika
    This was a bit of a mess. A beautifully written and insightful mess, but a mess nonetheless.
  • Jennifer Spiegel
    I loved this book. Five stars. It'll be among my favorites for this year, I'm sure.It’s very long, so that might stop some readers--though it warrants its length. Part literary criticism (really loved), part addiction “theory” or journalism, and part personal story, the reader learns a lot. I feel like we covered a lot of terrain, from Billie Holliday to Amy Winehouse; from the War on Drugs (her take is a companion piece to that great docum...
  • Jennifer
    Compelling narrative about sobriety and its influence on creativity. The author weaves her own story about alcoholism with literary criticism, sociological studies, and anecdotes from AA. Leslie Jamison read the audiobook, and she was a really good speaker. I thought that it was a bit overly long — I could have done without the last chapter — but THE RECOVERING still merited 4 stars, for sure.
  • Katie
    Facts:-I think I would like Leslie Jamison very, very much if we met. -Her books are not for me.-I am so glad she exists and is writing. I love what she writes about, and think she is laser-sharp. Her particular authorial voice is not to my taste.
  • Cynthia
    Not sure why I read this book, except that there is press for it everywhere. It swings between Jamison's memoir of her alcoholism and her recovery and stories of (male, except for Jean Rhys) writers who were also drunks. She is trying, I believe, to tease out the connection between those two, and asking why recovered alchoholics seem so dull, and when they were drinking seemed so full of creativity. Part of it was her dissertation. But I kept rea...