The book under discussion is Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas which dwells upon the place of a person in the society hiding this idea behind alcoholism. At the same time, these two notions are connected in the book, as being a teenager, Koren Zailckas tries to find her place in the world. It should be noted that this is one of the most difficult periods in human life. The first drink of alcohol was the beginning. The main topic of the book is adolescence and the mistakes teenagers make trying to find their place in the modern society. The author tries to tell her story to the whole world with the purpose to show that the social problem is rather urgent and something should be done until it is not too late. The book under discussion tells a real story of the author and a long period of life when she was an alcoholic refusing from this. The preface of the book starts with the words, “this is a kind of night that leaves a mark” (Zailckas, 2006, p.
xi). The day when the author had the first drink is remembered. The topic of drinking is central in the book. At the same time, the social problems are raised. The author writes on the first pages of the book that “the mean age of the first drink for girls is less than thirteen years old” (p. 4). It is possible to state that the alcoholism discussed in the book along with the age considered there makes the book focused on the sociological and psychological problem.
Considering the situation in the book and referencing it to the tendencies and changes in the modern world related to social and psychological problems adolescents have, it may be stated that if the government and society in general do nothing the book will be actual in 5, 10 and even 15 years from now. The book is written for the adolescents and for their parents. It is really important for the book to be read not only by adolescents, but also by their parents this may help the latest to understand what is happening with their children and to provide help when it is not too late. Moreover, being the social problem, adolescent alcoholism should be treated accordingly, abuse and prohibition of something are not the best variants for help.
Parents should understand this. Psychologists may find this book the most useful as it covers personal experience which is extremely important. There are a lot of books which consider the same problem but most of them are written as the guides or theoretical issues. This book, vice versa, is more like a fiction literature which depicts serious problems.
It seems that the author does not state any argument. The book is more like a dairy where the author provides the reader with the consequent succession and smooth flow of situations, events, thoughts, etc. As it was mentioned above, the main theoretical problem of the book is the psychological reason for adolescents’ alcoholism and why it is higher between girls than between boys. The book states that girls have more problems when being teenagers as they have to correspond to the surrounding prejudices.
The world of teenagers is rather cruel and girls are more subjected to depressions than boys are. The general problem which stands before the reader is the lack of attention to the social problems adolescents have to face. The book depicts the problem of girl-boy sexual relations on the background of drinking and the problem of personal perception. Dwelling upon personal life, the author states that she was not an alcoholic. The refusal to accept the problem is the core challenge many adolescents face. Moreover, the book depicts the problem of unstable psych of teenagers that adds to the number of social problems raised in the book. It is important to state that these problems are considered to be typical in the whole world. It should be noted that the author uses a very effective method for demonstrating the main purpose of the book.
So many words have been said about the social problem of teenagers that the phrases that alcohol is harmful and that adolescence is the most difficult period in human life are not heard anymore. The author uses the best way to make people hear. The description of the theoretical framework is always boring what cannot be said about absorbing description of personal problems. The genuine language of the book adds to the expected effect. According to personal awareness of the problem, it may be said that the information in the book is readable and perfectly illustrates the “illness” of the society. The book under discussion perfectly fits the problems discussed in the 13th chapter of the textbook Adolescence by Laurence Steinberg.
The ideas discussed in the chapter “Psychological development during adolescence” can be easily related to the main topic of the book which is in the focus. Sometimes people believe that “the problems of adolescence seem to fade away with time” (Steinberg, 2010, p. 403), but this opinion is wrong as the problems which appear while the adolescence are not caused by adolescence. The problem lies much deeper and it becomes psychological.
The abuse of alcohol is provoked by depressions and anxiety which are the consequences of too high standards which exist in the society. Behavior and adolescents’ psychological and social problems are the main common ideas considered in the text. It may be said that the professional comments in the final chapter of the book are missing but they could be really important for parents who understand that they have the same problem described in the book and do not know what to do.
Steinberg, L. (2010). Adolescence. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies,Inc.
Zailckas, K. (2006). Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood. New York: Penguin Group USA.