book review: Smoke, Drink, F*#k

Hey y’all! A few months ago I got invited to a book review in West Virginia by accident. I guess someone thought I lived in Charleston, WV and not Charleston, SC. Anyway, after clearing up the confusion, I was asked if I’d like to review the book for my blog. There was no point in turning down the opportunity and the title certainly seemed interesting.

2 things about me: I really love autobiographies–I have both of Diahann Carroll’s (because duh) and they’re my favorite–and I hardly ever read because as someone who’s also a writer, I don’t want to confuse or cross my thoughts with someone else’s words. It’s seriously easy to do. I mean, I can creatively come up with my own stories, but I don’t want to get so caught up trying to create pictures of someone else’s words that mine get lost. 

Nevertheless, I persisted. It’s not a very long book, but it was pretty hard for me to follow. I couldn’t create mental pictures until she got to Italy and even then it was touch and go. It’s essentially a story of a woman reaching a life milestone and wanting to live life on her terms. To break free of the patterns and habits she’d created and what others see for her. This isn’t necessarily my struggle, but I get it.

The story didn’t resonate with me until she got the realization that things with her boo thing were falling apart. As a person with anxiety, when I don’t hear from someone who I like and who I think likes me for even a day I immediately think that they don’t like me anymore and it’s the end of the world.

True story. My brain freaks out. I go through stages of crying, feeling absolutely stupid, and fighting the urge to ask what I did wrong to avoid seeming desperate. I eventually ask and prepare to feel remorseful, only to be told things are fine. Anxiety is exhausting, y’all.

So, yeah. I felt that part of this tale to my core. Esme (the author) listed some lessons that she learned in Italy and I found them particularly helpful:

  1. Laugh
  2. Forget the rules 
  3. Be alert
  4. Be adored
  5. Savor things
  6. Be optimistic 
  7. Relax
  8. Let go
  9. Know what you want
  10. Try new things
  11. Do something every day that scares you
  12. Perfect on paper doesn’t mean perfect for you

Now if you want to know her detailed reasons for this list, you’re going to have to buy the book; but, I think we can all find the aspects of our lives where these apply. I really liked how this series (or 1, but I’m feeling really Lemony Snicket today) of unfortunate events caused her to put things in perspective and get her stuff together. A path I’m starting to head down, so this was quite helpful.

In a nutshell, I probably wouldn’t have picked this book out on purpose–well, the title would’ve gotten me, but I would’ve been mildly disappointed–but eventually, I was glad to have read it.

Smoke, Drink, F*#k was written by Esme Oliver and published by Riverdale Avenue Books. It can be purchased wherever books are sold in physical or digital formats.

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