Book Review: “Wishful Drinking”

May “The Force” be with you while reading this review!

Title and why I chose this book:

It’s April, and there’s a day this month that breaks my heart when I think of Jake. I am not a “Star Wars” fan, but I chose “Wishful Drinking” because he and his brothers grew up watching the movies. Carrie also had bipolar disorder, as Jake did, so this was another reason for the pick.

Who do I think this book is intended for?

If you are a fan of Carrie’s work, then this is a good read. Again, I am not a “Star Wars” fan- I’ve never watched a minute of any of the movies. I was a bit lost on some of the references, but I read the memoir with full knowledge that it would be mentioned. If you like memoirs, like I do, this can be an interesting read.

What did I like about the book?

I liked that Carrie wrote this in a conversational tone and in a way that most people can understand. It is very lighthearted and funny. I wasn’t expecting such a tone. I did like that she listed others who shared her struggles with various substances and bipolar disorder, and even those who had ECT as treatment. That’s pretty cool- readers can see that and know they are not alone. Some of those people listed are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lindsey Lohan, Mark Twain, and Britney Spears.

Carrie told her story honestly and in her own way. That’s the way memoirs should be written.

What I didn’t like:

I was hoping the memoir would be a little longer, but then, I didn’t write it.

Plot:

The book actually starts right when Carrie finishes ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy, which is commonly used for severe depression when other treatments aren’t effective.) and she basically jokes on herself about her faulty short-term memory.

If you want to learn more about this treatment, please read A Brief Look at ECT

I do the same. Short-term memory loss is not fun, no matter how you end up with it.

Carrie starts her story at the very beginning of her life- her parents were Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, two very popular actors at the time. She grew up with her brother in California. As she got older, she struggled with hyperactivity, or so that is what her first psychiatrist thought she had. Her second one, years later, finally diagnosed her with bipolar disorder. Carrie was 24 at the time.

She became angry with this one and stopped seeing him because he wanted her to try medication along with therapy- she got married a month later. Two years later, she overdosed. After this, she got sober, had a few relapses, and finally got serious about her life and mental illness with her third psychiatrist.

I won’t ruin the ending for you, but as we all know, Carrie died in 2016 at the age of 60. Her mother died the next day.

Quotes that I loved:

“If you have a need to be comfortable all the time- well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic”

Carrie was not far off with this thought. Life isn’t always comfortable and happy- at least mine isn’t. Is yours? If so, please send an email and let me know your secret! Feelings are meant to be faced, even though they can be excruciating. When you’re using drugs and/or drinking, those feelings are numbed, but only for so long.

I numbed a lot of pain for about 4 years until I got sober. I had to re-learn in therapy to face difficult feelings again. I had to finish grieving without drinking and that was not an easy task. When we feel like things are too hard, of course, we want to escape it. There are better ways of doing so without using drugs and/or drinking.

Happy reading and come back for next month’s pick!

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