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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Hepola Narrator: Sarah Hepola Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“It’s such a savage thing to lose your memory, but the crazy thing is, it doesn’t hurt one bit. A blackout doesn’t sting, or stab, or leave a scar when it robs you. Close your eyes and open them again. That’s what a blackout feels like.”

For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was “the gasoline of all adventure.” She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.

But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn’t remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.

A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure—the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It’s about giving up the thing you cherish most—but getting yourself back in return.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The story of a rising star’s journey of self-destruction and realization, Blackout is gripping, alternately excruciating…and beautifully written.”

    Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Wry, spirited…Hepola avoids the tropes of the ‘getting sober’ confessional and takes us into unexplored territory, revealing what it’s like to begin again—and actually like the person you see in the mirror.”

    More magazine

  • “Alcohol was the fuel of choice during Hepola’s early years as a writer, but after too many nights spent falling down staircases, sleeping with men she didn’t remember the next day, and narrowly surviving countless other near disasters, she fought her way clear of addiction and dared to face life without a drink in hand.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Hepola is an enchanting storyteller who writes in a chummy voice…Blackout is not preachy or predictable: It’s an insightful, subtly inspiring reflection by a woman who came undone and learned the very hard way how to put herself back together.”

    Washington Post

  • “A razor-sharp memoir that reveals the woman behind the wine glass…Hepola moves beyond the analysis of her addiction, making this the story of every woman’s fight to be seen for who she really is…Her honesty, and her ultimate success, will inspire anyone who knows a change is needed but thinks it may be impossible. A treasure trove of hard truths mined from a life soaked in booze.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Hepola…recounts her years of blackout drinking and its attendant misadventures with shocking candor, poignant detail, and disarming humor…Her charm and clear-eyed self-appraisal never waver as she climbs out of the black hole of alcoholism and begins to turn her life around.”


  • “This is a book about welcoming yourself back from a long absence. It’s a memoir, but its author is not its main character; she is a new person sprung from the ashes of another one whose alcoholic self-erasure she describes with painful honesty and charming humor. A book about freedom that will help set others free as well.”

    Walter Kirn, author of Blood Will Out

  • Blackout is a book about drinking and eventual sobriety, but it’s also an exploration of the fleeting nature of the comfort we all constantly seek—comfort with the self, with others, with the whole maddening, confusing, exhilarating world. What’s more, Hepola’s ability to bring such precise and evocative life to the blank spaces that were her drinking blackouts is downright stunning in places. I admire this book tremendously.”

    Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable

  • Blackout is the best kind of memoir: fiercely funny, full of hard-won wisdom, [and] marked by a writer with phenomenal gifts of observation and insight. The book engages universal questions—Where do I belong? What fulfills me?—that will engage any reader.”

    Emily Rapp, author of The Still Point of the Turning World

  • A BookPage Top Pick for July in Memoirs
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for June 2015
  • A People Magazine Best Book of Summer Reads
  • On Oprah’s Summer Reading List for Memoirs
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick for 11 Memoirs That Read Better Than a Novel
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for Biographies & Memoirs
  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 for Nonfiction
  • A NPR’s Great Reads Selection of 2015
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About the Author

Sarah Hepola is the personal essays editor at Salon.com. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Glamour, Slate, and the Guardian. She has worked as a music critic, travel writer, film reviewer, sex blogger, beauty columnist, and, ever so briefly, as a high school English teacher. She lives in Dallas, Texas.