Drinking: A Love Story Summary & Study Guide

Caroline Knapp
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Drinking.
This section contains 503 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Drinking: A Love Story Summary & Study Guide Description

Drinking: A Love Story Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp.

Drinking: A Love Story, is the powerful, truthful memoir of Caroline Knapp. In the novel, Knapp details her long, involved, and tortured love affair with alcohol. She describes the effect of alcohol on her relationships, emotions, and thoughts. The addictiveness of drink impaired her ability to grow emotionally and personally. Professionally, Knapp was smart, productive, and always willing to work. Personally, she was spiraling out of control from her drinking.

The entire novel is told through the point of view of Caroline Knapp, a successful writer who was also a raging alcoholic. In the memoir, Knapp explains her descent into alcoholism as well as her struggle to get better. Knapp explains that she was first introduced to alcohol by her father. Every night he would come home and drink to relax. At the time Knapp did not know that he father was leading a double life—he was trying to maintain the appearance of a normal happy family and professional life while also having an adulterous affair. Knapp explains that she always felt drawn to her father. There was some unspeakable strong bond between the two of them. Knapp felt that she could never connect to her father because he was always probing into her thoughts. The only way she could be around him comfortably would be to drink.

Knapp explains alcohol's addictive nature. In her twenties, Knapp was an anorexic. She denied herself the right to food so that she could control something in her life. After she got help with her eating disorder, Knapp increased her drinking to cope her feelings and allow herself to express her true emotions. Drinking made things easier because Knapp did not actually have to live through her problems or challenges. Always seeking acceptance and love, Knapp enters into a long, unhealthy relationship with a man named Julian. While she thought he would improve her life, he criticized her and desired for her to change. Right after breaking up with Julian, Knapp meets Michael, a caring, sweet man. Michael showers Knapp with tenderness and love she has never known. She is torn between the need to be accepted by Julian and the love that is given freely to her by Michael.

Knapp continues this double life for some time. Fueled by alcohol, she cannot let go of Julian or Michael. As the book progresses, Knapp explains that she thought that alcohol was the only way to cope with those two relationships as well as the deaths of her mother and father. By the time her mother has died, Knapp gets black-out drunk every night. She only seriously considers to give up drinking when she drops and almost severely hurts her best friend's daughters. Knapp then describes the hard, long road to sobriety. She goes to rehab and then begins attending AA meetings every night. Knapp says that she can only think of sobriety one day at a time. Every day is a struggle, but she can now live her life fully.

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This section contains 503 words
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