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Synopsis

Booze dominated Jill Stark’s social life ever since she had her first sip of beer at 13, until, after a hangover at 35, she made the decision to give up alcohol — but what would it mean to stop drinking in a world awash with booze? This lively memoir charts Jill's tumultuous year on the wagon, as she copes with the stress of the newsroom sober, tackles the dating scene on soda water, learns to watch the footy minus beer, and deals with censure from friends and colleagues, who tell her that a year without booze is 'a year with not mates.’ In re-examining her habits, Jill also explores Australia's love affair with alcohol, meeting alcopop-swigging teens who drink to fit in, beer-selling blokes in a sporting culture backed by booze, and marketing bigwigs blamed for turning binge drinking into a way of life. She also tracks the history of this national obsession: from the idea that Australia's new colonies were drowning in drink to the Anzac ethos that a beer builds mateship, and from the six o'clock swill that encouraged bingeing to the tangled weave of advertising, social pressure, and tradition that confronts drinkers today. This is a funny, moving, and insightful exploration of why we drink, how we got here, and what happens when we turn off the tap.

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