My Unfurling: A Review

The paperback book My Unfurling

Many “quit lit” memoirs loudly recount the author’s drunkalogue, regaling readers with horrific tales of harm done during blackouts, jail stints, and other cringe-worthy escapades. While those books have great merit in showing the reality of such a life and to possibly help other problem drinkers see themselves and get help, Lisa May Bennett’s My Unfurling offers a different, calmer take. Instead of pounding readers with a hammer, her writing taps you on the shoulder.

Bennett is no stranger to adversity. She endured bullying, a challenging relationship with her mother, and the loss of dear friends, in addition to her struggle with alcoholism and self-worth. Her telling makes the book more relatable to the average, middle-aged over-drinker who might not call themselves an alcoholic (and might not be diagnosed as one), but who eventually realizes that even one drink has the potential to wreak havoc.

Her book also differs from other sobriety memoirs in the structure. While generally chronological, the book’s chapters jump back and forth in time, following emotional connections rather than a straight timeline. Much like one might in writing an autobiography, the author also includes a wealth of backstory, giving a historical perspective to her eventual decisions to seek help, quit drinking, and thereby “unfurl” her life.

If you’re expecting a page-turning, emotional punch to the gut, this might not be the book for you.

If instead you want an honest, quiet read about the damage sneaky and simple anxiety, self-doubt, and drinking (queue the subtitle) can cause and how one author redeemed herself, this book is for you.

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