Zero Proof Book Club Episode 2: The Recovering
We discuss The Recovering by Leslie Jamison. Jackie and Shelley also share more about their own varied approaches to recovery.
Read Shelley Mann Hite on HuffPost: I Drank Like They Did on Mad Men. It Nearly Destroyed Me
Go ogle Jackie Mantey’s embroidery art
And follow us on Instagram at @zeroproofbookclub!
About The Recovering By Leslie Jamison
What to expect: Poetic recovery memoir + critical literary tome
“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. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction—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 a criminal and who is ill.
At the heart of the book, 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 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.”