What I read: My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced by Pamela Power

Pamela PowerAbout this book

(blurb from Exclusive Books)

After an exceptionally wild Mother’s Day where she danced like there was no tomorrow, picked a fight with a stranger and collided with the floor, Johannesburg scriptwriter and author Pamela Power is forced to take a hard look at her drinking habits. She realises that although she does not need to find an AA group immediately, she might be a serial binge drinker and needs to take back control. In this honest yet humorous account of her year of not getting sh*tfaced, Pamela examines her long, complicated relationship with alcohol. She is shocked to realise just how much of a crutch alcohol has been for her. There is always a bottle of wine or Prosecco around to her to help her manage the many demands of life as a freelancer and as a parent. Pamela starts her journey to sobriety at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as her family faces financial troubles, and life in the suburban Parks of Johannesburg isn’t so blissful anymore. Through her, we experience all the frustration, irritation and surprising benefits of going dry. In dealing with her dependence on alcohol, Pamela also confronts her troubled relationship with her parents. While many other sober curious books portray sobriety as the only answer, Pamela has found a sweet spot between total sobriety and binge drinking: moderation.

Pamela PowerMy Thoughts

“My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced” by Pamela Power is a witty and candid memoir of a woman who decides to examine her relationship with alcohol and try to find a balance between sobriety and binge drinking. Written in a personal journal format, covering a full year, the book covers a year in Power’s life, during which she faces various challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, financial woes, and uncertainty about the future of South Africa. Along the way, she shares her insights, struggles, and successes with humor and honesty, drawing on her experiences as a scriptwriter, author, mother, and wife.

As with “Bloomer” by Anne Schlebusch, that I read a month or so ago, it was another reminder of what we lived through during the crazy and uncertain COVID-pandemic, especially here in South Africa.

The book is not a preachy or moralistic account of quitting alcohol, but rather a personal and relatable exploration of what it means to be sober curious in a society that often glorifies drinking. Power does not claim to have all the answers, but rather invites the reader to join her on her journey of self-discovery and moderation. Moderation is key here, not quitting. She also references other books and blogs that have helped her along the way.

Pamela Power“My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced” is an entertaining read that will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about their own drinking habits or who simply enjoys a good laugh.  Asking the important questions like:  “Why are walking shoes so ugly?”

While also reminding us that we have a lot to be thankful for:  “I’m grateful for all the women in my life, grateful that I can vote, and work, and drive, and use birth control, and wear whatever the hell I want.”

This nugget was one of my favourites: “Logically, it doesn’t make sense that one should have to “come out” in this day and age. It’s not as if you expect your heterosexual children to make a big announcement about their sexual preferences. As the daughter said, no one is waiting for her to say, “I’m sorry everyone, I like men!””

Power’s voice is authentic, and her story is hilarious and honest. This is a book that will make you think, feel, and smile.  If it will appeal to a wide, general audience is another question – and it probably wouldn’t and it is fine!

With thanks to Exclusive Books for the opportunity to read this book.  

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

The Details

My Year of Not Getting Sh*tfaced – Exclusive Books

About the Author

Pamela Power Home (pamelapower.co.za)