Thank God My Friend's Book Doesn't Suck: "Falling for Me" by Anna David

I was somewhere around 21 days sober when I first met Anna David.

Oct 18, 2011 at 2:30pm | Leave a comment

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I was somewhere around 21 days sober when I first met Anna David. I was at a networking party, the first drinking party I'd attended since I'd dragged my battered and bruised ass into recovery. It was too soon, but media in New York is so much about who you know, and I knew no one but the metal-loving lowlifes I blacked out with at my favorite bar.

And I didn't even know their last names.

So I went to the party and nervously declined the offered cocktails, because in the newness of my sobriety, I still thought everybody cared a lot about how much other people were drinking. As the night went on, I clutched a Diet Coke and attempted the difficult task of interacting with other human beings without the aid of a fear-drowning substance. I smelled alcohol on other people's breath and understood for the first time why my boyfriend said I smelled when I lumbered into bed after a night of heavy drinking.

At some point in the night, I met Anna, whose book "Party Girl" with its cocaine line and rolled-up dollar bill cover, I had read.  We got to talking about our favorite addiction memoirs, and then Anna said something like "Well, I'm sober, so..." allowing me to gratefully confess my own tentative sobriety, as well as how freaked out I was to be trying to socialize without a drink.

She was something of an angel to me that night, and has been since.

So a big fat THANK GOD my friend's book doesn't suck is in order, because what would I do if it did? Not write about it I guess, but anyway, it would be awkward. 

While her previous works have been fiction, "Falling for Me" is a straight-up memoir,  in which Anna attempts to pattern her life after Helen Gurley Brown's 60s self-help book "Sex and the Single Girl."

In case you don't know, Gurley Brown, who was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997, was way ahead of her time when it came to women's rights -- she was basically a third-wave feminist when the second wave was just getting started. She scandalized everyone by suggesting women could be fulfilled both personally and sexually, with or without marriage.

Following the provocative-for-their-time guidelines to self-fulfillment, Anna experiments in such Brown-approved topics as interior decorating, cooking and casual sex with 20-year-olds. But my favorite part (aside from hearing Anna's voice in my head doing the dialogue) is that despite the chick lit-ish topics (and you guys know I do not mean that description as an insult), Anna as a character in the book is so real, smart and complex, in a set-up that could easily have gone one-dimensional.

I breezed through it and when I was done, sent Anna a text that said, "Just read your book. It delighted me." Actually, I just thought about sending it, but never actually got around to it. I missed her book party, too. I am sort of lucky I have any friends, come to think of it.