BOOKS: AN ASSAULT ON RECOVERY

LEAVING LAS VEGAS AUTHOR JOHN O'BRIEN LEFT BEHIND ANOTHER DARK TALE OF THE DRINKING LIFE

In her much hyped new memoir, Drinking: A Love Story, 37-year-old journalist Caroline Knapp unravels her tumultuous past life as a "high-functioning" alcoholic. The term is one she borrows from A.A. parlance, and it refers to the sort of boozer who lives well above the gutter, getting good grades at fine colleges, meeting deadlines, summering on Martha's Vineyard. Like most writers and filmmakers who have chronicled the middle-class drinking life, Knapp writes from the prevailing modern perspective that alcoholism is another challenge to be surmounted, a demon to be confronted, a battle to be won.

John O'Brien, the tormented author of...

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