Three years after giving up drinking, Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale. It was a special occasion: a party celebrating the birth of her first child. It also marked Bydlowska’s immediate, full-blown return to crippling alcoholism.
In the gritty and sometimes grimly comic tradition of the bestselling memoirs Lit by Mary Karr and Smashed by Koren Zailckas, Drunk Mom is Bydlowska’s account of the ways substance abuse took control of her life- the binges and blackouts, the humiliations, the extraordinary risk-taking- as well as her fight toward recovery as a young mother. This courageous memoir brilliantly shines a light on the twisted logic of an addicted mind and the powerful, transformative love of one’s child. Ultimately it gives hope, especially to those struggling in the same way.
“It is a memoir that pushes at boundaries – what is private, what should perhaps be kept private, what we need to know, what we don’t, what is insightful or just exhibitionism. [O]ne of the most talked about books of the season… “ —The Globe and Mail
“Drunk Mom is a rarity in this age of constant overshares—a work that had me questioning, “Does she want us to know this? Should I know this?” as I read it. …At times, it’s also a shockingly amusing read, sprinkled with wry, dark humour. I couldn’t put it down.” – Vice
“[M]aternal tippling is a trendy topic on ‘mom’ blogs… But these chirpy, jokey accounts don’t touch the dark spiral of addiction Toronto writer Jowita Bydlowska relives in this riveting account… Bydlowska is an evocative, talented and gutsy writer who appears willing to confess all… Bydlowska writes of watching other upscale stroller-pushing moms and wondering: do they hide mickeys in their diaper bags too? With this bracing book, others will now be asking that question as well.” —Maclean’s
“To understand this story in the guise of an addiction memoir is to misunderstand its worth…. Instead, this book is fresh within the context of a parenting memoir, one of a particular kind: A counterculture parenting memoir. [It] stands as an uncommonly perceptive chronicle of what it means to be an intelligent, urban parent trying to hold on to the rest of her life. As a writer she’s got some chops.” —National Post
“A compelling, raw look at her struggle with alcoholism, the addiction that swallowed [Bydlowska] after the birth of her son.” —Elle (Canada)
“Drunk Mom is a stunning, harrowing read. Why harrowing? Not just because of the dramatic story, of a new mother at the edge of her tether. And not only because of Jowita Bydlowska’s skill as a writer, and the crisp, original way she tells it. What’s most harrowing about Drunk Mom is that you can’t stop reading it—this, the dark, now-told tale that lurks in the shadow of every seemingly normal family.” —Ian Brown, author of The Boy in the Moon
“A brave, brilliant and scathing self-portrait. Full of energy and insight. If Frida Kahlo had been a writer, she might have been compared to Jowita Bydlowska.” —Patricia Pearson, author of A Brief History of Anxiety – Yours and Mine.
“Fearless and troubling, and so very humane, Bydlowska explodes the cutesy momoir genre. You’ll read it in one sitting.” —Katrina Onstad, author of Everybody Has Everything.
“This is quite simply not just another addiction memoir. It’s something truly special. I felt this book. It carries the reader. It whispers. It really is can’t-put-it-down great!”
—Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of I’m Kind of a Big Deal: And Other Delusions of Adequacy.
“Jowita is matter-of-fact, funny, fearless, and irreverent as she lifts the veil to chronicle what it means to be a young mother when both baby and mother have their own bottles — the shame and the inner voices, as well as the joy and relief. This book is for anyone who has ever struggled to make it through a day.”
—Laura Albert, a.k.a. JT LeRoy, author of Sarah, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and Harold’s End
“Jowita Bydlowska, to steal a phrase from Hemingway, writes hard and clear about what hurts. And man oh man can she write! …In my decades as a lover of books I’ve written only two fan mails. One of them went to Jowita Bydlowska. Thank you, Jowita, for Drunk Mom – for its rawness, for its clarity, for its bravery.” —Angie Abdou, Fernie Fix
“It takes guts to write a book called Drunk Mom. You couldn’t pay me a million bucks to slap my name under a title like that. In fact, I suspect very few people in the world who share a story like this would. But I’m glad Jowita did because you know where I am right now? I’m about to enter one of those Amazing Awesome meetings. I hadn’t been going regularly; I was taking a break. Drunk Mom brought me back. ” – She Does the City
‘[A] gifted writer, and a courageous one… Without glibness, without self-pity, knowing that she risks being judged, Bydlowska tells her story…. Luckily for those reading her story, she possesses a wickedly dark sense of humour.” —The Gazette, Montreal
“[She] eschews the touchy-feely language of recovery … The cool yet raw efficiency of Bydlowska’s prose, a testament to her successful journalistic career, repudiates indulgence of any kind. This detachment is what makes Drunk Mom both a painful yet paradoxically effortless read.” — Literary Review of Canada