Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood is Koren Zailckas' account of life as an alcoholic. It traces her life from her first drink, when she was fourteen, to her last, at twenty-two; Smashed chronicles Zailckas' struggle with alcohol abuse, in an effort to explain the binge drinking phenomenon that plagues America's youth.
When Koren was fourteen her friend Natalie found a bottle of Whiskey at Natalie's parents' cabin. This would be her first experience, of many, with alcohol. Later that day she and Natalie went to a birthday party; they took plastic apple juice bottles and filled them with Southern Comfort whiskey for the party. They ended up sharing it with most of the people there. This exposed that she was drinking to all of her friends.
The next year in High School she did not have many friends. One of the few people who appreciated her company was a girl named Billie. It was with Billie that she got drunk for the first time. It was on Halloween.
She later wrote to her pen pal, including this experience in her letter. Her pen pal did not appreciate the fact that Koren had been drinking. She wrote back,
I got your letter. By smashed' I can only assume you meant you were drunk, which is not only not cool, it is disgusting, as is the fact that you thought I'd be interested in hearing about it. Do you have any idea how many people die each year from drunk driving? It's 18,000. I know because I'm in Students Against Drunk Driving (S.A.D.D.) here at Montgomery High School. There was a senior here who died drunk driving. Did you know that by the time you graduate from high school at least two people in your class will be dead? Do you really want to take the risk that you will be one of them? I'm crying as I write this because I can't believe that someone with all your gifts could be so selfish and susceptible to peer pressure. I think you should really think about what you are doing. In the meantime, I don't know if I want to keep exchanging letters because I just don't want to hear about it. Maybe one day I will trust you again.
P.S. Enclosed is a poem I think you should read."
Koren was upset the most by the fact that her fondness of drinking, somehow, caused her to lose the trust of her distant friend. She replied to her pen pal with a poem by E.E. Cummings,
"Since feeling is first
Who pays attention
To the syntax of things
Will never wholly kiss you:
Wholly to be a fool
While Spring is in the world."
This showed that Koren did not care about other people's opinions about her problems. She thought that nothing bad would ever come out of drinking. She was wrong. That summer, for the first time, her parents caught her drinking.
She was on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland with her family and her friend Natalie. They went for two reasons. They went because her father had received a raise from the technological corporation he works at, and she had torn a ligament in her...