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Eye-opening and utterly gripping, Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls Smashed is a sober look at how she got there and, after years of blackouts . Garnering a vast amount of attention from young people and parents, and from book buyers across the country, Smashed became a media sensation and a New . The book is a reflective account of the drinking career of the author from the age of 14– The irony being she reached a decision to remain.

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Garnering a vast amount of attention from young people and parents, and from book buyers across the country, Smashed became smashd media sensation and a New York Times bestseller.

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood

With one stiff sip of Southern Comfort at the age of fourteen, Zailckas is initiated into the world of drinking. From then on, she will drink faithfully, fanatically. In high school, her experimentation will lead to a stomach pumping.

In college, her excess will give way to a pattern of self-poisoning that will grow more destructive each year. At age twenty-two, Zailckas will wake up in zailcks unfamiliar apartment in New York City, elbow zailcoas friend who is passed out next to her, and ask, “Where are we? Smashed is an astonishing literary debut destined to become a classic. Smashed goes down smashev a slow, genteel burn. Henceforth, my mother will refer to it as the time I almost died.

We’ll be sitting in the kitchen, both four and seven years from now. My dad will extend the leaves of the kitchen table to accommodate whatever college boyfriend I’ve brought home for the weekend. And my mom, while spooning out three-bean salad, will turn and ask him, “Has Koren told you about the time she almost died?

Sure enough, it feels like death. On November 9,I wake up between the Tide-stiff sheets of my childhood Banister Bed and one thought occurs to me: I’m not wearing any underwear. This is all the information I need to know that something horrendous has happened. At sixteen, I am never naked, save for ten minutes a day under the stream of a morning shower, and even then, I korrn away from the bathroom mirror before I drop my towel to step in.

Even alone, I am ashamed of the arcs of my own pale skin, particularly in the whitest part that spans between my hips. Given my tendency to thrash in my sleep and kick down sheets, I would never sleep without underwear. Smashe bed looks like it’s been made with me in it. There’s not a wrinkle in the comforter; its patched pastel pattern is pulled smooth and tight, clear up to my neck. When I start to unroll my arms and legs from the folds of the sheets, I feel a sharp pain in my elbow, like I’ve been sleeping on it, and I stop for a moment, trying to decide if that position is physically possible.

I decide to fold back the comforter from one corner, the way someone might diagonally halve a dinner napkin. I do it slowly. It’s like opening a hand-addressed letter with no return address; I have a feeling I could find just about anything inside. What I find under the covers looks like someone else’s nightgown. It is a thin, white, cotton smock, stippled with green, and it cuts off at my knees.

I can’t imagine who I borrowed it from, since my friends and I all sleep in nylon shorts and our dads’ XL T-shirts. When I feel around to the breach of cloth above my own pink ass, it dawns on me: I’m wearing a hospital gown. I’m immobile in the face of my panic. I’m stunned to the point that I don’t dare breathe or kick my feet in a way that would make even the faintest sliding sound on the starched sheets. I don’t know how many minutes I lay like this, motionless in the small sag that my body makes in the mattress, barely breathing.


I can’t get out of bed until I’ve figured out what emergency landed me in this green and white gown. My room is directly above the dining room, and the littlest thump on the carpet can shake the chandelier; I don’t want anyone downstairs to see it swinging and know I’m awake.

I feel like I’m arriving at the scene of an accident, like my physical self has been creamed in a hit-and-run and my mental self is the first one to find it.

All I can do is run through the basic first-aid checkpoints, the first of which is: I pull my knees into my chest and wrap both arms around them with no problem, aside from the throbbing deep in my elbow. The back of my head is tender against the pillow, and my neck moves in a succession of arthritic-like cracks. But my joints move. There are no clues in the form of a cast or a bandage or stitches. Lying down, I can’t even make out any discernible bruises.

Later, I’ll be able to make out the purple impressions of fingers around my biceps, plus a golf ball-sized bruise on one ass cheek, a sort of yellowed half-moon around a raised, blue bump. But for now, the only visible signs that I’m injured are the hospital gown and a pink, plastic wristband that reads zailckas, koren.

The house is filled with the sounds of Saturday morning in motion. Bear is barking to be let in through the side door. There is the sound of coffee mugs clinking on countertops, and I detect the faint smell of bagels burning in the oven. I might even hear the far-off sound of my mother’s whirring laughter. My room appears equal in its sameness. There are dirty socks on the floor and stacks of Seventeen on my desk.

On my bureau, there are notebooks on top of snapshots, necklaces on top of notebooks, and dust over just about everything, ever since I barred my mom from my room.

Fall light filters through the window blinds and casts sunny stripes across the carpet. I can see my back-to-school sweaters brushing elbows in the closet; the price tags are still stapled to some of them, and I can make out the orange half-off stickers from Filene’s juniors’ department. As far as Friday nights go, it was typical. I spent it with my new friend, Kat Caldwell. She is a girl I made friends with a few months ago for no real reason other than we both drink and we’re both sensitive.

The first night I’d slept over at Kat’s house, I saw smashrd her sheets were streaked with mascara, and her Laura Ashley pillowcases retained the outline of her whole face: She’d opened the drawers of korren bureau to show me the old liquor bottles she hid under her childhood ballet costumes, and I’d laughed at dozens of tiny Lycra bodices, net tutus, and loose sequins that smelled of Tanqueray. Kat came with a silver cord to more friends, like Abby and Allen, and I’d gone with all of them, smashee my childhood friend Claire, to a Friday-night get-together near the lake in the next town over.

A girl whose parents were away in Vermont for a wine-tasting weekend threw the party. Her parents must have warned her not to have friends over while they were gone because she wouldn’t let any of us inside her house to mix drinks properly, in cups. At one point, when I asked the girl if I could go inside to use her bathroom, she suggested that I drop my pants behind the hedges across the street.

The whole ordeal hadn’t been the least bit thrilling. I’d sat beside Kat on a splintering dock.

Our bare feet dangled over the edge of the black, rippling water, where we could occasionally hear fish jump, making plopping sounds like tossed xailckas. The wind propelled dead leaves across the lake’s surface. The clouds swirled themselves around the moon. I started by taking small sips from the communal bottles. I knocked back a few sips of generic rum, which tasted strong and acidic, and bit my throat.


I also drank from a thermos filled with vodka that Claire had filched from a bottle in her parents’ liquor cabinet. It was the same gallon-wide jug of Absolut that we always stole from, and then added water korren, in an effort to recover the stolen inches. After months of adding and subtracting, the vodka had reached a diluted state that rendered it tasteless. It was as cold and wet as springwater, and we drank it fast.

The last thing I remember is telling Claire about the poet Frank O’Hara, the way he’d said that after the first glass of vodka you can accept anything about life, even your own mysteriousness. After that, my own mystery opens up. There are only so many calamities that could have warranted this hospital gown. My first thought is that I lost my footing on the path leading up from the dock and cracked my knee in the place where it still wasn’t fully healed from the surgery.

One would think I’d remember that kind of fall, but perhaps the pain of it blacked me out. For one horrible moment, it also occurs to me that Allen, who had driven, might have had too many sips of straight rum and veered the car off the road on the way home.

It was only a month ago that a boy in our class got drunk and drove his car into a lake, where it sunk like an old tire, and he had to unroll the window to swim out. For a moment, I think whiplash could be smashee for my lumped head and stiff neck, not to mention the amnesia.

But then I decide I’d surely remember something from the moments before we crashed: I should call one of the girls who’d been with me, to see if they can fill in the gaps. But when I look for the portable phone, someone has removed it from its cradle on my bureau, as if to prevent that from happening. I step softly to my full-length mirror, using the ballet-walk where you stand only on the balls zailcksa your feet.

The image reflected back at me makes me cup my korwn with both hands: I look like a woman in a zombie film from the s. My hair looks like it’s been replaced with a Halloween wig; it is teased into a high pile of knots and dusted with zaklckas and leaves, and something sticky has lacquered the ends together. From this position, I can make out a whole range of fingerprints that wrap around my forearms in shades of brownish-blue and yellow. A cat-scratch is carved into the corner of my eye; aside from that, my face looks slack and pasty, but unmarked.

I can see now that I’m wearing hospital booties with my gown. They are blue ankle-socks with plastic beads on the soles, presumably so you won’t slip on the linoleum floors while you’re fleeing the ward. My alarm clock says it’s That tells me that whatever happened must be serious because no one has bothered to wake me for my poetry workshop.

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas

I was scheduled to spend the weekend at a conference for Worcester County’s most promising young zailkcas, and it started more than two hours ago. Just two months ago, she forced me to spend a week at diplomacy camp at Washington, D.

I would stay in my room all day, trying to figure out what happened, if I didn’t desperately need a glass of water. My throat is so parched it feels raw, and each swallow is arduous. I keep the hospital booties on because the morning has the cold nip of fall, but I trade the gown for a sweatshirt and a pair of flannel pants.