Is Recovery Anti-Literary? I review the new Leslie Jamison memoir/literary analysis

for AmCon:

When Leslie Jamison realized she had to quit drinking, she was also giving up on everything she’d ever been taught about literature. By the time Jamison took her last drink (so far), she had been taught by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and by most of her mentors and professors, a credo totally opposite from what she was learning in her 12-Step recovery. Lit culture prized originality, but AA scorned “terminal uniqueness,” the false belief that you alone cannot not be helped by what had helped so many before you. Jamison found herself forced to turn from experiment to tradition; from the lone genius to the chorus of the anonymous; from “make it new” to cliché; from art for art’s sake to useful, lifesaving writing; from linear progression and clear endings to the humility of “one day at a time” and “my last drink—so far.”

more (and yes, I was amused to learn that my obsessive rejection of “origin stories” for addiction is a recognizable trope of alcoholics’ writing)

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