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  • The Recovering

  • Written by: Leslie Jamison
  • Narrated by: Author
  • Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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The Recovering

Written by: Leslie Jamison
Narrated by: Author
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Publisher's Summary

"An honest and important book... Vivid writing and required reading." (Stephen King)

"A Tolstoyan study of the human condition." (Andrew Solomon)

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018: Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Elle, Newsday, The Millions, Huffington Post, Nylon, Bustle, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Bitch, The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, Boston Globe, The Week

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Empathy Exams, a 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.

©2018 Leslie Jamison (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Leslie Jamison writes about the highs of dependency and also about the highs of recovery. Her prose is so sharp and evocative that the reader feels the thrilling trickle of alcohol down the back of the throat, and breathes the struggle for health and freedom. Jamison demonstrates great wit, penetrating intellect, and an enormous heart. This strangely exhilarating book is about recovery, but it is more resonantly a book about desire, consciousness, kindness, self-control, and love - and hence a Tolstoyan study of the human condition." (Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon)

"Leslie Jamison has written a profound exploration into how empathy deepens us, yet how we unwittingly sabotage our own capacities for it. We care because we are porous, she says. Pain is at once actual and constructed, feelings are made based on how you speak them. This riveting book will make you a better writer, a better human." (Mary Karr, author of Lit and The Liars' Club)

"Jamison's questing immersion in intoxication and sobriety is exceptional in its vivid, courageous, hypnotic telling; brilliant in its subtlety of perception, interpretation, and compassion; and capacious in its scholarship, scale, concern, and mission." (Booklist)

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My Story

As a recovering alcoholic I have read the gambit: memoirs, science, psychology...you name it I’ve read it. This is the first book I have read that encompass all aspects with such clarity, empathy (surely due to the authors experience) and honesty that I find myself listening to it again and again. I feel like she is telling MY story. I can’t recommend it enough, to fellow alcoholics, to loved ones of alcoholics, to ANYONE who wants to learn more about addiction, it’s history, where we are now and where we are headed. #alcoholismforeveryone

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