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Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America

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A riveting memoir of what happens to a teenage girl whose life is awash in alcohol, drugs, and the trauma of rape. Jennifer Storm's Blackout Girl is a can't-tear-yourself-away look at teenage addiction and redemption. At age six, Jennifer Storm was stealing sips of her mother's cocktails. By age 13, she was binge drinking and well on her way to regular cocaine and LSD use. A riveting memoir of what happens to a teenage girl whose life is awash in alcohol, drugs, and the trauma of rape. Jennifer Storm's Blackout Girl is a can't-tear-yourself-away look at teenage addiction and redemption. At age six, Jennifer Storm was stealing sips of her mother's cocktails. By age 13, she was binge drinking and well on her way to regular cocaine and LSD use. Her young life was awash in alcohol, drugs, and the trauma of rape. She anesthetized herself to many of the harsh realities of her young life--including her own misunderstandings about her sexual orientation--, which made her even more vulnerable to victimization. Blackout Girl is Storm's tender and gritty memoir, revealing the depths of her addiction and her eventual path to a life of accomplishment and joy.


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A riveting memoir of what happens to a teenage girl whose life is awash in alcohol, drugs, and the trauma of rape. Jennifer Storm's Blackout Girl is a can't-tear-yourself-away look at teenage addiction and redemption. At age six, Jennifer Storm was stealing sips of her mother's cocktails. By age 13, she was binge drinking and well on her way to regular cocaine and LSD use. A riveting memoir of what happens to a teenage girl whose life is awash in alcohol, drugs, and the trauma of rape. Jennifer Storm's Blackout Girl is a can't-tear-yourself-away look at teenage addiction and redemption. At age six, Jennifer Storm was stealing sips of her mother's cocktails. By age 13, she was binge drinking and well on her way to regular cocaine and LSD use. Her young life was awash in alcohol, drugs, and the trauma of rape. She anesthetized herself to many of the harsh realities of her young life--including her own misunderstandings about her sexual orientation--, which made her even more vulnerable to victimization. Blackout Girl is Storm's tender and gritty memoir, revealing the depths of her addiction and her eventual path to a life of accomplishment and joy.

30 review for Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    Hazelden Press is the publisher of this book. For this reason, individuals looking for a more literary handling of sexuality and addiction issues will be disappointed. Unfortunately, though the author tells a compelling story, the text reads like a transcribed interview. It is also written at around a ninth grade level, which is no doubt deliberate, in that it gives the book a broader reader base. For a more sophisticated discussion of sexuality and addiction issues, readers will find Desire (Su Hazelden Press is the publisher of this book. For this reason, individuals looking for a more literary handling of sexuality and addiction issues will be disappointed. Unfortunately, though the author tells a compelling story, the text reads like a transcribed interview. It is also written at around a ninth grade level, which is no doubt deliberate, in that it gives the book a broader reader base. For a more sophisticated discussion of sexuality and addiction issues, readers will find Desire (Susan Cheever) or Love Junkie (Rachel Reznik)more compelling books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A common story. A rare twist. When the American dream becomes her secret nightmare, Jennifer Storm begins the dark descent into addiction. Then she discovers that the same events that destroy her also create her. Written in a humble, raw voice, Blackout Girl helps us remember where we came from--and why. --Melody Beattie,author of Codependent No More, The Grief Club, and other bestsellers. (Melody Beattie )

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Like a high-speed train racing uncontrollably down its track, first-time author Jennifer Storm takes her readers on a fast-paced journey through the dark and tremulous world of drug and alcohol addiction. Witty, moving, sometimes terrifying, and always poignant, Ms. Storm's memoir is told in glinting chapters that eerily reflect the blackouts that so frequented her adolescence. Written in strong, unembellished prose, Blackout Girl is skillfully gripping and ironically addicting; readers won't be Like a high-speed train racing uncontrollably down its track, first-time author Jennifer Storm takes her readers on a fast-paced journey through the dark and tremulous world of drug and alcohol addiction. Witty, moving, sometimes terrifying, and always poignant, Ms. Storm's memoir is told in glinting chapters that eerily reflect the blackouts that so frequented her adolescence. Written in strong, unembellished prose, Blackout Girl is skillfully gripping and ironically addicting; readers won't be able to tear themselves away from Ms. Storm's journey from a 12 year old rape victim, to a burned out junkie living from friend's couch to friend's couch, to her compelling and tearful recovery at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Storm's insight into the drug culture of America as well as her talent for exploring her flaws and imperfections make Blackout Girl an encouraging yet haunting experience for readers from all walks of life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    Reviewed by Dianna Geers for TeensReadToo.com Based on her real-life experiences, Jennifer Storm shares her difficult but triumphant story. Drinking, blackouts, drugs, addiction, and suicide attempts were all parts of her life in her teens and early twenties. As you read about Jennifer's experiences, you will be amazed --- because the entire time you are reading her story, you know that she is writing her story, so she has to get better, right? And there are things so out-there that one would eit Reviewed by Dianna Geers for TeensReadToo.com Based on her real-life experiences, Jennifer Storm shares her difficult but triumphant story. Drinking, blackouts, drugs, addiction, and suicide attempts were all parts of her life in her teens and early twenties. As you read about Jennifer's experiences, you will be amazed --- because the entire time you are reading her story, you know that she is writing her story, so she has to get better, right? And there are things so out-there that one would either think that there is no way this person would ever have a normal life or that the story must be fiction. But both of those thoughts would be incorrect. What I loved about this book was that Jennifer was not afraid to share the ugly side of her addiction and substance abuse--it took her to some very daunting places that many would be too ashamed to share. I also was happy that hers was such a success story. When Jennifer decided that she was finished with that lifestyle, she was truly finished. (Of course, she received help to do so.) Often times, our strengths are also our weaknesses....the fact that once she decides to quit using, she is able to do it will offer hope to many, because it can happen. However, for those who have tried to stop but have relapsed, I hope it doesn't send them the message that a relapse means they won't be able to get better the next time. Or the next. Or the next. Regardless, Jennifer's story is one worth reading. My best wishes to her and her continued success.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Constance

    When I saw this book, the title captivated me. I knew this was going to be the new memoir to rival Augusten Burroughs or Bill Clegg. What was I thinking? Ms. Storm does not come close. This poorly written book could been diluted to 50 pages and that would have told her entire story. She is only 37 and how wonderful to have gotten clean and sober at an early age. But please write your own words, and not every slogan from AA. It was a very"canned" predictable story, and I felt she was looking for When I saw this book, the title captivated me. I knew this was going to be the new memoir to rival Augusten Burroughs or Bill Clegg. What was I thinking? Ms. Storm does not come close. This poorly written book could been diluted to 50 pages and that would have told her entire story. She is only 37 and how wonderful to have gotten clean and sober at an early age. But please write your own words, and not every slogan from AA. It was a very"canned" predictable story, and I felt she was looking for sympathy. There have been millions of us who have gone through the rough roads of sobriety, and most not as fortunate as Storm to have had a shot at rehab, then taking time off, and "finding herself" while living in a half way house. Most people white knuckle it through their early sober days, still maintaining a job and taking care of a family. Her repetitive use of genre lingo was enough to make me stop the book. We get tired of the over used words, such as Amazing, Perfect, Tons of, Way Big, Totally. And her reference to both of her parents handwriting, that she loved the way they wrote. Who cares and what does it have to do with sobriety? The final straw was when she wrote of all the new words she learned in rehab and shared that with us. Did you know that 'tech' is short for technician? Really? Read the book, don't read the book. Form your own opinion and thanks for reading mine.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary-Jo Mullen

    No one's life is more of an "open book" than Jen Storm's. Jen, who is also a colleague of mine, recounts her experience as a drug addict, alcoholic, and rape victim. Well written and a fast read, any young person even thinking of experimenting with drugs needs to check this out. The rest of this will read this and count our blessings... No one's life is more of an "open book" than Jen Storm's. Jen, who is also a colleague of mine, recounts her experience as a drug addict, alcoholic, and rape victim. Well written and a fast read, any young person even thinking of experimenting with drugs needs to check this out. The rest of this will read this and count our blessings...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Parents: Pay Attention! This story is not unique. And that's unfortunate. It doesn't mean, however, that this isn't a valuable book and another reminder of the dangers American children face, particularly when they're left unsupervised. Alcohol and drug addiction, an equal-opportunity disease, remains a menace in this society, and I think the true purpose of this book is to alert parents of adolescents and teens to what's beyond their suburban fences and to PAY ATTENTION. When an addict lives to Parents: Pay Attention! This story is not unique. And that's unfortunate. It doesn't mean, however, that this isn't a valuable book and another reminder of the dangers American children face, particularly when they're left unsupervised. Alcohol and drug addiction, an equal-opportunity disease, remains a menace in this society, and I think the true purpose of this book is to alert parents of adolescents and teens to what's beyond their suburban fences and to PAY ATTENTION. When an addict lives to tell the tale, it's always cause for celebration. Jennifer Storm writes with a simple, disarming style, wears it all on her sleeve, and bares little if any residual shame--just the ugly truth of her life as an addict. She illustrates the three distinct paths ahead for anyone drinking and drugging to that degree: jail, death, or recovery. And in spite of spending a good portion of her teen years experiencing blackout, she remembers and relates quite a bit about being raped (more than once) and her foray into intoxication to escape "the pain," from simply stealing sips of her mother's green liquor to becoming a suicidal crack addict. There's room for these stories outside of AA meetings and in commercial fiction, with the hope that anyone who stumbles upon this book will find information, solace, and perhaps, steps toward recovery for themselves or someone they love. Storm also touches on why recovering addicts feel the need to share, when she relates a scene during the ride to rehab in "a druggie delivery car with a stoned crackhead" to her right, who acknowledges her in a way that shows he understands. It puts her at ease. I recommend this book for parents of at risk children. If you know someone who fits this description, hand him or her a copy of Blackout Girl and suggest they read it cover to cover. Given the generally selfish and disengaged nature of these types of parents, you might have to read it out loud.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    "Physical wounds heal and we can deal with them. They are easily treatable with medication and bandages, and we know that with treatment they will heal beneath the bandages. But emotional scars are much more complex; they enter a being in ways I can barely articulate and come out in all kinds of destructive ways that are not easily definable. They stay with us for life no matter how much we journal, see counselors, cry and scream. They are always there, somewhere beneath the smile as a reminder "Physical wounds heal and we can deal with them. They are easily treatable with medication and bandages, and we know that with treatment they will heal beneath the bandages. But emotional scars are much more complex; they enter a being in ways I can barely articulate and come out in all kinds of destructive ways that are not easily definable. They stay with us for life no matter how much we journal, see counselors, cry and scream. They are always there, somewhere beneath the smile as a reminder of the past." p.49 "I am no stranger to loss. I know what it feels like to have your heart burst out of your chest into tiny pieces, scattered and shattered. I know the strength it takes to muster a simple 'Hello' and half-smile when you feel like you're dying inside. I also know how vital it is to take care of yourself and to allow yourself to grieve. I know how important it is to simply suit up and show up for life each day...No matter how bad things get or how sad, mad, frustrated, scared or angry I feel today, I have one certainty: Life will get better; I will not feel like this forever." -p.245-6

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Growing up with an alcoholic parent, this book was sobering (no pun intended) for me to read, because Jennifer Storm's story could very well have been my own. It was a very bleak, real look at addiction and recovery. Growing up with an alcoholic parent, this book was sobering (no pun intended) for me to read, because Jennifer Storm's story could very well have been my own. It was a very bleak, real look at addiction and recovery.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was originally drawn to this book in result of hearing Jennifer being interviewed on NPR. As I read the book, I was captivated with the fact that Jennifer made many mistakes throughout her teenage/early adult life that could have made her just another statistic, but in the end she has drawn on these terrible circumstances and reconstructed a prosperous life out of it. I felt her pain as she relived details of the sexual assault and many blackouts due to drugs and alcohol. I cheered her on as s I was originally drawn to this book in result of hearing Jennifer being interviewed on NPR. As I read the book, I was captivated with the fact that Jennifer made many mistakes throughout her teenage/early adult life that could have made her just another statistic, but in the end she has drawn on these terrible circumstances and reconstructed a prosperous life out of it. I felt her pain as she relived details of the sexual assault and many blackouts due to drugs and alcohol. I cheered her on as she attempted to get on the right track. I celebrated when she finally made the realization that she had a choice and decided to pursue a life in sobriety. I commend her with sharing her life with me. The way Jennifer structured the book was amazing. She begins with the end in a sense, "en medias res", showing how her current life connects with her past. I also find it humbling that she admits several times throughout the book that she knew her path was wrong at the time, but wasn't sure how to fix it. She write with an authentic prose that's very vivid--painting a picture of her life revisited. I was also very fascinated when she wrote about her mother's death. I am amazed at how sometimes tragedy can become a blessing. I think in some ways her mother's death pulled her family closer and was a way for her to start toward realizing the severe addictions she faced. I also relate with many of the struggles she has had with connected with her mother. I also found her quest to define her sexual identity amazing. I know that not everyone's time to figure these things out is the same, and I am amazed at her particular journey. Her entire book seems to balance her goal of telling her story to others in hopes of preventing their pains by learning from her mistakes while using the book as a final therapy to work through her mistakes through pen. I liked the book so much that she's going to come to give a talk at Gettysburg College this March to kick of Domestic Violence Awareness Month! Read this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily Crow

    I was in the middle of a long, engaging review with humorous personal anecdotes and zippy dialogue, when I accidentally hit the wrong key and lost my progress. Grrrr. Well, it's getting late so I am not going to write it all over again. Suffice to say it was a really good review, instead of this lackluster one I'm doing now. Anyway, I love addiction/recovery memoirs. I've read tons of them, and I don't even know why I'm so fond of this genre, as I don't have a problem with alcohol or drugs. I gu I was in the middle of a long, engaging review with humorous personal anecdotes and zippy dialogue, when I accidentally hit the wrong key and lost my progress. Grrrr. Well, it's getting late so I am not going to write it all over again. Suffice to say it was a really good review, instead of this lackluster one I'm doing now. Anyway, I love addiction/recovery memoirs. I've read tons of them, and I don't even know why I'm so fond of this genre, as I don't have a problem with alcohol or drugs. I guess it's because I have such an extreme personality; I can still recognize myself in most of these accounts. Even so, I was disappointed by Blackout Girl. It is a heartfelt and earnest account of the author's problems with booze and crack (among other things), beginning with the very first time she got drunk--and her first blackout--when she was twelve. She came to just as an adult man was trying to rape her. This set off a good decade's worth of drug and alcohol problems, accompanied by several other sexual assaults. I definitely felt that she wanted to share her story, and that she hoped it would help others. Unfortunately, that's not enough to make for a good book, and I found her writing style plodding and the book itself rather dull. There's lots of telling, and not enough showing. Maybe someone who is actually in recovery would get more out of it than I did. It simply did not compare with some of my favorites in this genre, such as Dry by Augusten Burroughs or More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    I bought this book because the author sent me a recomendation through Goodreads, and I thoguht it sounded like something I might be interested in. I have been reading this book on and off for about a year and 1/2 because it seemed some other book I had borrowed from the library always took precedence. In my life that is what happens with books I buy versus the books I borrow. Anyways, this book was a really great read for me. I was able to see bits of my past in her story and the trauma she suff I bought this book because the author sent me a recomendation through Goodreads, and I thoguht it sounded like something I might be interested in. I have been reading this book on and off for about a year and 1/2 because it seemed some other book I had borrowed from the library always took precedence. In my life that is what happens with books I buy versus the books I borrow. Anyways, this book was a really great read for me. I was able to see bits of my past in her story and the trauma she suffered to put her into this downward spiral that overtook her life for so many years is not the same trauma I experienced, but I do believe that my own trauma is what made my life spin out of control for several years. I would highly recommend this book to others and I plan on passing this on to a young woman I know that seems to be following the same patterns that the author did in her story. I also bought the second book called Leave the Light On, and am hoping to get to the book soon. Thanks to Jennifer Storm for writing about her troubles and pain and maybe this will help others, and thanks to her for the book recommendation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cally

    the book was an auto biography so it was told completely by the author. it was a really graphic book In the way that the author described her life, she told the crucial events that lead up to her being raped, her drug use, her mother dying and everything thing else that happened from age 12-21. the story grabs your attention and makes you realize how rough a persons life can possibly be. You don't realize how other people lives are sometimes so reading it from another persons point of view is re the book was an auto biography so it was told completely by the author. it was a really graphic book In the way that the author described her life, she told the crucial events that lead up to her being raped, her drug use, her mother dying and everything thing else that happened from age 12-21. the story grabs your attention and makes you realize how rough a persons life can possibly be. You don't realize how other people lives are sometimes so reading it from another persons point of view is really interesting. what I liked about the book was that it kept my attention the entire time, I learned a lot about warning signs of people with addiction, about threatening to kill themselves. more than I knew before. what I disliked about it is that it dragged on a bit and it was predictable you kinda of knew what was happening next. overall I did enjoy it I just didn't think it was a good book to read for pig.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    A poignant look into the life of an alcoholic and addict who had the courage to share her story, from her descent into addiction, through her struggle during it, and finally her recovery. Her voice is clear, honest, and strong through-out the book. Written in a tone of sharing, rather than lecturing, it does not feel like someone trying to teach you that "drugs are bad? mmmkay", rather it feels like a hidden glimpse at what is going on behind the addiction, and in that still manages the warning A poignant look into the life of an alcoholic and addict who had the courage to share her story, from her descent into addiction, through her struggle during it, and finally her recovery. Her voice is clear, honest, and strong through-out the book. Written in a tone of sharing, rather than lecturing, it does not feel like someone trying to teach you that "drugs are bad? mmmkay", rather it feels like a hidden glimpse at what is going on behind the addiction, and in that still manages the warning without the undertone of "learning a lesson". Even during the darkest moments, there is a hint of light and hope that flows through each page. It was hard to put down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    AnnieM

    It is so hard to explain this book. It is a horrible tale. Awful things happen to this girl. It is like a textbook of the worst things that can happen to a child, then a teen, then a young person. But is becomes the most positive story ever. I wish every story could end so well. It is well written, engaging and real. Parents read this, please. If you work with children or young people, read this please. I wish I could recommend this book to everyone. I wish everyone could read this book. I'd we It is so hard to explain this book. It is a horrible tale. Awful things happen to this girl. It is like a textbook of the worst things that can happen to a child, then a teen, then a young person. But is becomes the most positive story ever. I wish every story could end so well. It is well written, engaging and real. Parents read this, please. If you work with children or young people, read this please. I wish I could recommend this book to everyone. I wish everyone could read this book. I'd we could just have more kindness and compassion we can change lives n

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Leddy

    Sometimes painful, sometimes childish, but always honest and frank. This auto-biography of the progression if addiction and abuse can be helpful in recovery programs and outside of them. The no-holds-barred descriptions of one woman's path into and out of addiction speak to the vulnerable parts of the reader, letting them know that they are not alone in their experiences or in their shame. An excellent read, and a powerful story. Sometimes painful, sometimes childish, but always honest and frank. This auto-biography of the progression if addiction and abuse can be helpful in recovery programs and outside of them. The no-holds-barred descriptions of one woman's path into and out of addiction speak to the vulnerable parts of the reader, letting them know that they are not alone in their experiences or in their shame. An excellent read, and a powerful story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pat Moore

    This book had me from the beginning. It is so much more than just a girl partying and drinking her life away. There is a reason as with most behaviour like this. I loved this book and certainly related to the character. As with all mental or addiction behaviour what you see is far from what is going on. Excellent read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    This was such a good book and I really enjoyed seeing how far Jennifer progressed and was rooting for her along the way. Her honesty and sense of humor was refreshing and she seems like such an amazing person!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Violet

    I liked this book for the author's honesty and it was an interesting story. I think it will help people in her situation gain hope that they too can recover from their addictions. I found ms. Storm likable and identified with her abuse as a child. Very recommendable book. I liked this book for the author's honesty and it was an interesting story. I think it will help people in her situation gain hope that they too can recover from their addictions. I found ms. Storm likable and identified with her abuse as a child. Very recommendable book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very sad account, but also realistic in what teens go through now.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    i absolutely loved this book. i had 2 do a project in english where we read a book 2 inspire. i chose this one and i could not put it down. it was very inspiring and very well written.!!!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Librarymary

    Simply written and painfully true.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brittany B.

    I read this so many years ago that I don't remember much about it. But I remember thinking it was very good. Maybe I'll reread... Recommended for YA audience. I read this so many years ago that I don't remember much about it. But I remember thinking it was very good. Maybe I'll reread... Recommended for YA audience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Monica Hodnett

    I'm not sure what to say. There are definatly lessons to be learned from it. I'm glad she wrote this. It helped me out in more ways than one. I'm not sure what to say. There are definatly lessons to be learned from it. I'm glad she wrote this. It helped me out in more ways than one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tonya 'moe' estabrook

    Loved it. There was so much I could relate to and the end chapters were very empowering to me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex Rohrer

    The honesty and openness in this book creates a connection to her experiences and insight that cannot be understated and is so valuable.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tara Dactle

    I read this book right after A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown so I felt like I was comparing it too much to that book. A Piece of Cake blew me away. I felt like Jennifer Storm could have gone into more detail about the relationships she had with people that ended up dying instead of writing a paragraph about someone then saying yea then they died a few months later. I would have liked her to elaborate on certain jobs and experiences more in depth. I did enjoy the book and read it quickly! It was I read this book right after A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown so I felt like I was comparing it too much to that book. A Piece of Cake blew me away. I felt like Jennifer Storm could have gone into more detail about the relationships she had with people that ended up dying instead of writing a paragraph about someone then saying yea then they died a few months later. I would have liked her to elaborate on certain jobs and experiences more in depth. I did enjoy the book and read it quickly! It was cool because I grew up 10 minutes from Easton where she grew up. Also I went to Penn State (I don’t know how she stayed sober there of all places).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Jennifer Storm is a "Survivor. Author. Advocate. Victim’s Rights Expert." This is a heavy read -roughly from ages 11-25 the author shares her traumatic experiences, suffering in silence, and struggles with sexuality and addictions. As I read, I wondered - who was taking care of this kid? Seemed like no one. I kept hoping for things to get brighter and better in her life, but it took many pages to get there. It's painful, (had to put it down for a week or so) but the ending is positive. She is in Jennifer Storm is a "Survivor. Author. Advocate. Victim’s Rights Expert." This is a heavy read -roughly from ages 11-25 the author shares her traumatic experiences, suffering in silence, and struggles with sexuality and addictions. As I read, I wondered - who was taking care of this kid? Seemed like no one. I kept hoping for things to get brighter and better in her life, but it took many pages to get there. It's painful, (had to put it down for a week or so) but the ending is positive. She is inspiring. Looking forward to reading the companion book, 'Leave the Light On.'

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jj Frederick

    it was very sad but some of the things that happed 2 her happend to me

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leymy

    One of my Favorites. Read during high school and it still has an impact on me. a must read

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