Memoirs were once written late in life, by people who had led remarkable lives or witnessed remarkable events. I am not the first to point out that this isn’t true anymore, but I feel compelled to point it out again after seeing Koren Zailckas, the 24 year old authoress of the book Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood being interviewed on one of the cable news channels. What is it that the young Miss Zailckas has done, you ask, that is worthy of a memoir? Is she a significant historical figure? Did she spend World War II hiding from the Nazis? Did she help conquer New Spain? No, her book is, as this article describes, “a compilation of her memoirs chronicling her experience as a young binge drinker”. Because, after all, what is more fascinating than the fuzzy accounts of a young girl’s drunkenness? The article describes Miss Zailckas's motivation:

“She also said the book is intended to be a cautionary tale for high school girls who might not drink as heavily as she did.”

What sort of cautionary tale ends with a lucrative book contract?

Some of her previously unknown insights into drinking include:

“it's hard to admit that you're a woman who has had problems with alcohol”

Not hard enough, apparently.

“In college, excessive drinking is more widely accepted and actually becomes expected in social situations, unlike in high school, she said. The environment fosters and encourages drinking.”


“Alcohol comes with a separate set of dangers for women”

The ‘separate set of dangers’ can often be observed wearing a baseball cap and yelling ‘Dude!’.

“To me, drinking...was a way to go from ugly duckling to swan and to make myself the person that I wanted to be."

She seems to have the bizarre idea that it’s the alcohol she ingests, not the alcohol they ingest, that gives men beer goggles.

Worst of all, she does not even to appear to have been that big of a drunk:

“She had her first drink at the age of 14. Then came the trip to the hospital at 16, a sexual experience that happened while she was blacked out at 19 and a confused morning in a strange New York City apartment after her college graduation… The defining moment for Zailckas followed a drunken senior year of college. Soon after graduation, she woke up, after a long night of partying with a friend, in a strange New York City apartment.

"We could have been on the moon," she said. "I had no idea who we were with, couldn't remember their names, had no idea where we were - and that really scared me.”

That’s it? She does each of those things once on separate occasions and it’s enough to scare her sober and enough material for her to write an entire memoir? Having blackout sex and waking up in a strange apartment with no memory of how I got there are things I do most weekends – on purpose.

Since the drunk (I hesitate to even call her that, she hasn't earned it) Miss Zailckas is having so much success with her tedious book I have decided to write my own memoir about underage drinking: Blotto: Tales of a Tipsy Tot. I will be excerpting passages from it in the coming days.


  1. Another minor landmark on the road to total civilizational collapse. Twenty years ago such a tale about a 24 year old writing memoirs of her college drinking career would be a National Lampoon parody. Is satire still possible?

  2. If she recognizes underage binge drinking is bad, does she have any suggestions for reducing it? Other than reading her book and being scared away, I mean.

  3. Alex: To be fair to the silly girl I haven't actually read her book, so I don't know what she says there. On the interview I saw it didn't seem like she had given the question much thought, and was vague about what should be done.

    Anon: Just barely.

  4. Sounds like she is just publishing her blog....


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