Campus News

A sobering look at binge drinking

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
By Koren Zailckas
Viking Penguin

In Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, first-time author Koren Zailckas recounts her love affair with booze, from her first taste of alcohol at 13 through high school and college, where alcohol was used as a mechanism for bonding with other girls, a rallying cry and an escape from ­shyness.

Alcohol is there when she and her best friend sneak out to go drink on the beach and meet college guys. . . . Its scent seeps from the walls and carpets of the sorority house she lives in during college, and alcohol is there when she “misplaces” her virginity one night at a frat party. . . . But she’s not an alcoholic. This is, Zailckas says, just what young girls in America do.

A student at Syracuse ­University, which was the subject of a Time magazine article about young women and binge drinking, Zailckas examines the culture of drinking that dominated her adolescence and that of so many girls just like her.

Smashed identifies one of the most perilous trends among young females: from age 13 to their 20s, most girls are on a slippery slope to becoming binge drinkers.

As the topic of binge drinking continues to make headlines, Smashed is a valuable resource for parents, teachers and mentors of teens as well as anyone interested in how drinking has defined modern America’s coming-of-age story.