Book Review| Blackout by Sarah Hepola


One single quote from this book by the author describes it's journey in total summary: "People on the winning team rarely notice the game is rigged."


BLACKOUT by Sarah Hepola is a memoir chronicling how Sarah's perfectly good middle class life led to a series of alcoholic blackouts. The book opens with Sarah coming out of a blackout spell, in Paris, France, naked lying next to an unknown man, not knowing who the hotel room belonged or what happened in the moments prior. Subsequently, the reader is taken on a journey of sneaked sips, sloppy stair falls, drunken dinner dates, intoxicated trysts, inebriated conversations, tipsy decisions and befuddled friendships.


Heploa found a successful career in writing creative non-fiction well before the memoir BLACKOUT took flight. The author lists a resume of editor, music critic, travel writer, film reviewer, sex blogger, beauty columnist and high school English teacher. All gained and maintained with a bottle hidden in her workbag.


The second part of the book is dedicated to the sober journey which Heploa admits is usually the boring part of most non-fiction books about addiction. However, redemption is the most important part. These pages describe Hepola's revelation of privileged existence encumbered by a handicap: Addiction.



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"People sometimes ask me how someone can drink so much and still keep her job. But drinkers find the right job." ~Sarah Hepola


Chapter Synopsis:

(Chapter Title/ROTR digest)


(Prelude) The City of Light/ Blackout drunk sex in Paris

Women Who Drink/ American cultural expectations of booze and the female gender


Part One:

1. The Beer Thief/ It always starts by sneaking sips of beer from the refrigerator

2. Starved/ Drinking (and starving) for attention

3. Dressing In Men's Clothes/ Hiding the pain and physical flaws

4. Drink More At Work/ A little sauce to get ahead

5. The Stranger/ A lead up to the Paris incident

6. The Life You've Always Wanted/ "A writer in New York: the phrase that compensated for nearly anything."

(Interlude) Beginning/ Getting sober in the hallway closet



"AA was a humble program. A program of suggestions, never rules. It was a place of storytelling, which operated on the same principle as great literature: Through your story,I hear my own." ~Sarah Hepola


Chapter Synopsis:

(Chapter Title/ROTR digest)


Part Two:

7. Isn't There Another Way?/ Looking for a boyfriend at Alcoholics Anonymous

8. Extremely Uncomfortable For The Group/ Repairing drunken destruction

9. Binge/ Burgers over booze

10. Sex/ Sober sex

11. Power Ballad/ Recognizing sober potential

12. This Is The Place/ "Every sobriety tale is a cliffhanger."



Sarah Hepola's experience as a high school English teacher is noticeable. The writing style is liken to Young Adult literature though very adult topics are sprinkled throughout the read: orgasms, vibrators and a whole chapter dedicated to sober sex, for sure a slight nod to her experience as a sex blogger. I would recommend this book for those interested in a light hearted read about a very serious topic.


(Click Here to Purchase this Book on Amazon)


Books that inspired Sarah Hepola while writing her very own memoir:

Dinking: A love Story by Caroline Knapp

Different Seasons by Stephen King

Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

The Big book by Bill Wilson



Happy Reading Friends!

Xoxoxoxoxo,

ROTR