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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker, read by Holly Whitaker.  

We live in a world obsessed with drinking. We drink at work events, lunches, book clubs and weddings. Yet no one ever questions alcohol's ubiquity. In fact, the only thing ever questions is why people don't drink. It is a qualifier for belonging. As a society, we are obsessed with health and wellness, yet we uphold alcohol as some sort of magic elixir. It is anything but.   

When Holly Whitaker started to look for a way to recover, the support systems she found for recovery where archaic and patriarchal. Urging drinkers towards a newfound humility is great if you're a man, but if you're a woman and not in a position to renounce privileges you never had, a whole other approach is needed.   

She embarked on a journey that not only led to her own sobriety but revealed the insidious role alcohol plays in our society and in the lives of women in particular. What's more, she could not ignore the ways that alcohol companies were targeting women, just as the tobacco industry had successfully done generations before. 

Honest, witty and trenchant, Quit Like a Woman is at once a groundbreaking look at drinking culture, a call to arms and a celebration of learning how to claim everything life has to offer.

©2020 Holly Whitaker (P)2020 Penguin Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"I've long suspected that Holly Whitaker is a genius. This book is confirmation. It's a brilliantly clever, meticulously researched, fearless, snort-out-loud funny read that grabs you and won't let go." (Catherine Gray)  

"An unflinching examination of how our drinking culture hurts women and a gorgeous memoir of how one woman healed herself. Quit Like a Woman will change your relationship with alcohol - and it has the power to change your relationship with your entire life." (Glennon Doyle) 

"This thoughtful, moving book will help a lot of people get to a healthier place." (Johann Hari)

What listeners say about Quit Like a Woman

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well researched, honest, passionate

On balance I thoroughly enjoyed Holly’s story. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve read every memoir there is and you have no more ‘space’ for yet another; Holly’s story is different and it’s done extremely well. The only part that had me pulling back (and it’s not that I am opposed to what it said) was the ‘ranty’ twist it took in the final chapter on activism. I’m not opposed to the message here, just don’t like being ranted at - there’s a better way. Great book and likely well worth your time.

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Way to angry!

I had to leave this book after a few chapters, the author/narrator was just so ANGRY!

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The voice and words is all

Audiobooks live or die on the reader’s voice. Holly Whitaker is no voice artist, the repetitive rhythm is dull. Whitaker’s constant use of profanities strip the story of detail and meaning. Profanity can work (e.g. Clementine Ford’s Fight like a Girl) but not here.

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Inspiring and real

Resonating thoughts, researched information and humour during a harrowing story and huge social issues. I raced through this book and now cannot un-know the information. Rebellious to be a non drinker...

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Brilliant

For any womxn that has experienced or is experiencing addiction, this is a must. Holly’s writing style is very personal and she’s not afraid to tell a detailed anecdote. This is what makes the book so easy to relate to and be able to practice in real life. I can confidently say this book has changed my life.

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Incredible book

The best book I’ve read in the sober/recovery genre, can’t recommend highly enough.
We’ll written story with plenty of actionable information to begin or keep you inspired for your sober journey.
Immediately began my second listen after completing my first.

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incredible

the book I was so desperate to read without even knowing I needed to

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  • Kim
  • 21-03-2021

Nothing new

While I agree that AA has its faults and those faults are largely outdated patriarchal attitudes, this book sets out to trash Alcoholics Anonymous while literally paraphrasing everything AA and other 12 step programs have to offer. Confusing, poorly researched and narrow minded.
Modern AA really doesn’t look like outdated backwater program that’s represented.

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Damn Straight!!

You’re a star Holly.
Now 14 months sober I can relate to lots of this book and have learnt also. I love your story. It’s amazing (and relatable) hearing about people not being comfortable with your non drinking, your recovery and your desire to better yourself and continue to evolve into your best self is nothing short of awesome.
Well done.
A spot on book to engage in this one for any sober or sober curious

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All women drinkers need to read this

Loved everything about this. The honesty, the humour, how relatable the author and is. Great practical tips for dealing with the real challenges of not drinking.

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  • Lauren Scinetti
  • 26-01-2021

So much more than a book on sobriety

Hollys words have changed the way I view my life and society, not just the way I view alcohol or drinking. So very grateful and inspired. Read this book, no matter what your relationship with alcohol.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-05-2020

Great read for all women

Was skeptical at first, as I don't know much about feminist and know little about politics. Stopped watching news a long time ago. But this book really opened my eyes. I finally broke free in so many ways. After reading so many books, this book saved me and gave me that final push. Thank you Holly

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-03-2020

Read this!

Everyone should read this book. EVERYONE. It is so much more than addiction and recovery. A life altering moment.

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 24-01-2020

Eye-opening read

This book is not what I expected at all. I anticipated (from the title and the cover) that it might be filled with opinion-based feminist rhetoric but, given the recommendation by Catherine Gray, I thought I'd give it a try.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

The book is well laid out, based in fact and research and resonates more strongly with me than anything I've ever read on this subject. Incredible.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Erzebet the Reluctant Chicken
  • 15-07-2020

Forget Allen Carr: THIS will make you want to quit

Non-patronising, packed with fascinating facts, jaw-droppingly honest, disarmingly frank, stirringly inspirational, refreshingly radical and - ultimately - stunningly effective. Can’t recommend this enough.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Aliesha Lord
  • 30-01-2020

If you found this book! You already know your goal :)

I found a woman in holly’s truth that spoke to me in a way id never felt before.
It was like hearing my life played out in another body.
If sobriety is your goal? No matter how far you are in your journey finding Holly is like gold.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-03-2020

Brilliant that author reads book

This is a thoughtful and empowering book about encouraging vulnerable people to engage in radical acts of self care. Whitaker rightly points out that the system is to blame for the crisis in mental health...while giving insightful advice on how to nurture ourselves.

My only critique is that the author argues that the "revolution" starts with ourselves. While i feel self care is importarnt, it leaves the uncaring system of capitalism in place. Many of the therapies Whitaker advises also cost money and are unaffordable for working people like myself. we need system change in order to truly free ourselves and everyone else.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-2020

Life changing

I found this by chance after listening to Allen Carr. It's more up to date, more now and spoke to me as a man who never felt part of the macho drinking culture yet still would drink every night like there was no tomorrow. Absolutely brilliant. I highly recommend.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Angela
  • 27-01-2020

Revolutionary, inspiring and necessary!

Holly manages to amalgamate her inspiring story with a critical appraisal of alcohol to produce one of the most important contributions to recovery publications ever. She writes authentically and openly about the despair of drinking with admirable rawness, wit and honesty. Holly has clearly done her research, producing a work that is accessible while eloquently exploring weighty topics. Her ability to weave feminism, spirituality, exploitation used by the tobacco industry, race, class, politics et al into her examination of drinking culture is an admirable feat. The evaluation of AA and its patricarchal archaic program is flawless and accurate. Holly also importantly provides a holistic framework for building a fulfilling, joyful and sober life!! An all round gem.

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  • Sarah T
  • 28-05-2021

Average quit lit.

I loved the first part where the author spoke of her personal experiences. I'd have liked her to have kept going along that vein. Instead she tried to flip it into a self help book which it really isn't very effective at. The structure was loose and she was contradictory a lot of the time and I found I lost the point of what she was trying to say because she went off on a long monologue. she touches on a lot of things she clearly feels passionate about but I couldn't see the relevance of in a book about quitting alcohol.

I'm glad she's sober and found her own way. I'm 18 months sober myself and like to listen to other people's journeys to make sense of what I have experienced. This didn't hit the mark for me and couldn't relate to a lot of what she was saying - I don't like yoga, I'm a huge introvert and being told just to 'get out there! join that group, go make friends' and that I need loads of people around me to help me, is the last thing I need to hear. I'm also atheist so I don't get the whole 'I found jesus' thing. I stopped drinking and I found a huge hole that I'd been filling with drink. She filled it with yoga retreats and spiritualism, unfortunately she doesn't really give any advice for those that don't like yoga or spiritualism.

I did like the early bits though - how people react when you first quit and how it makes them uncomfortable, how your circle might change and how you get more enjoyment from stuff you didn't before. She didn't offer any tips on how to cope with these situations though so I felt I click relate but didn't learn anything new.

There are better books out there, less self righteous and and judgey ones, with less of an air of privilege. Not everyone can access or afford therapy or forking out for weekend retreats.

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  • Claire Higgins
  • 12-01-2021

A real eye opener!

This is a great book for women in general but it really does open your eyes to the destructive drinking culture we live in, and has completely changed my perceptions about ‘giving stuff up’. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’ll listen.

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  • Becky
  • 25-01-2020

Going straight back to read it again

So many light bulb moments listening to this. I feel like there is more detail and information in this book than any other book on the subject, this did mean I didn't take it all in on the first go.

2 people found this helpful

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  • T.M
  • 19-05-2021

Disappointing

The narration is like a machine gun spewing out vitriol, resentments and expletives. I persevered listening despite the headaches as I was really interested in the subject matter. However, I was deeply disappointed by the facile veneer of feminism and an inaccurate grasp of some basic concepts about recovery. Whitaker derides AA for it's patriarchal roots but overlooks the deeply mysoginist origins of yoga. She sees herself as a social activist for the underdog but this is difficult to accept from someone who is obviously so privileged. Whittaker advocates masaages, life coaches, therapists and kaundalini Yoga classes for recovery. These all come at a hefty cost. Whittaker rails against capitalism but simultaneously pushes her expensive courses in recovery, she does not seem to see the irony of this. At best this book is flaky and woo woo at worst it is misleading and potentially dangerous for people with alcohol issues.

1 person found this helpful

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