Wasted: A Story of Alcohol, Grief and a Death in Brisbane

Wasted A Story of Alcohol Grief and a Death in Brisbane In Elspeth Muir s youngest brother Alexander finished his last university exam and went out with some mates on the town Later that night he wandered to the Story Bridge He put his phone wallet

  • Title: Wasted: A Story of Alcohol, Grief and a Death in Brisbane
  • Author: Elspeth Muir
  • ISBN: 9781922182135
  • Page: 185
  • Format: Paperback
  • In 2009 Elspeth Muir s youngest brother, Alexander, finished his last university exam and went out with some mates on the town Later that night he wandered to the Story Bridge He put his phone, wallet, T shirt and thongs on the walkway, climbed over the railing, and jumped thirty metres into the Brisbane River below.Three days passed before police divers pulled his bodyIn 2009 Elspeth Muir s youngest brother, Alexander, finished his last university exam and went out with some mates on the town Later that night he wandered to the Story Bridge He put his phone, wallet, T shirt and thongs on the walkway, climbed over the railing, and jumped thirty metres into the Brisbane River below.Three days passed before police divers pulled his body out of the water When Alexander had drowned, his blood alcohol reading was almost five times the legal limit for driving.Why do some of us drink so much, and what happens when we do Fewer young Australians are drinking heavily, but the rates of alcohol abuse and associated problems from blackouts to sexual assaults and one punch killings are undiminished.Intimate and beautifully told, Wasted illuminates the sorrows, and the joys, of drinking.

    One thought on “Wasted: A Story of Alcohol, Grief and a Death in Brisbane”

    1. “I wish he hadn’t had the opportunity, liquored up and full of bravado, or sadness, or whatever he was feeling, to fly off the side of the bridge. Because, although I always knew in theory that the inexplicable, untimely death of someone I loved unreservedly would be awful, what was impossible to know until it actually happened was that afterwards there would no longer be a time when I was not a little bit sad. And that my sadness would not be noble and acute – it would be dull, empty, end [...]

    2. Powerful, stunning work. Part memoir; part investigation into wider Australian drinking culture. I am going to be recommending this book to anyone who will listen to me.

    3. One recent evening while walking home after dinner and drinks with some colleagues, I came across a young man who was passed out, facedown, on a thin strip of grass beside a busy street in inner-city Brisbane. Removing my earphones, I greeted him and asked if he needed help or if I could call him a taxi. On waking from his slumber, he slurred that he was fine, and began making a call on his phone. Satisfied he was semi-coherent, I bid him farewell and good luck. By the time I had walked to the c [...]

    4. A compelling and compassionate read about the devastating impacts of alcohol abuse seen through the eyes of a young Australian woman whose younger brother died following a drunken exploit.To read my review in full, please visit my blog.

    5. ‘Wasted barrels headfirst into the alcohol-soaked heart of Australia to report on our fraught love affair with drinking. With this story, which is as complex, bittersweet and rich as youth itself, Muir uses memoir and journalism for a sobering, heartbreaking exploration of what alcohol gives to young people in Australia, and what it robs us of.’Liam Pieper‘Intricately crafted…An intimate portrait of a grieving family and a nation unable to reconcile itself to the harmful effects of its d [...]

    6. Two things to get off my chest about Elspeth Muir’s memoir, Wasted –1. This is an extremely important book that examines the impact of alcohol on a family and, in doing so, highlights the fact that drinking to excess is normalised in Australian culture.2. In my opinion, this book was robbed – it really should have made the 2017 Stella Prize shortlist.In 2009, Muir’s 21-year-old brother, Alexander, finished his last university exam, celebrated with friends, and then jumped 30 metres from [...]

    7. The book is a part memoir, part investigation into the impact of alcohol in Australia. It stemmed from the tragic death of the author's 21 year old brother and traces his (and her) alcoholic antics. There is a bit about the comparison with the drinking habits in South America, a bit more about sexual assaults, schoolies and the cowardly one-punch killings. There was little about domestic violence, health issues caused by excessive drinking. It is a very personnel story but it could have been mor [...]

    8. This is a story of family and drinking and death and drinking again. It's a memoir of losing a brother and an exploration of drinking. And I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this book.Maybe it's the similarities and the differences with my own life. The author and her brothers are similar ages to myself and my sisters. It's a Brisbane story, so I can put images and feelings and experiences to the places. But the differences are stark, maybe starker so given the closeness of our age [...]

    9. Elspeth Muir's 'Wasted' is a powerful and important exploration into the place of alcohol in Australia, from our backyard barbecues and family celebrations, to the nightclubbing and binge-drinking lifestyle of people in their twenties, to the annual beachside booze-powered romp that is Schoolies on the Gold Coast. Framed by the tragic story of her brother Alexander, who died when he jumped from Brisbane's Story Bridge with a blood alcohol level of 0.238, Muir ponders her and her two brothers' hi [...]

    10. This book tells the story of Elspeth Muir's grief following her brother's death. He died after jumping into the Brisbane River while incredibly intoxicated.The main problem with this book is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. The first section is excellent and contains some of the best writing about the searing pain of grief that I have ever read. The author then gets a bit lost. She say she wants to write about drinking culture in Australia but all she really writes about are her own exp [...]

    11. I was so keen to get my hands on this book. Elspeth Muir's essays are excellent, and Text is a publisher to trust. Australia needs to have a discussion about drinking culture and alcohol abuse. However, Wasted was quite uneven and ultimately unsatisfying.There are sections that are tight and beautifully written -- passages and chapters that have been workshopped and refined, which would stand alone as essays -- and sections that are weakly researched, over-written and not objective (lack of obje [...]

    12. A smart, sad book that combines the upsetting story of the author's brother's alcohol-related drowning death with a clear-eyed look at drinking in Australia - it's pleasures, problems and the efforts being made to reduce some of the damage. Muir is unflinching about her own drinking and her ability to weigh up the risks and pleasures of intoxication is impressive.

    13. This book is indeed one of the reasons why we should support Australian writers. Remember, "books create Australia." Highly recommended.

    14. I found her writing beautiful and evocative, especially her insights into grief and loss. I couldn't stop reading.

    15. If you’ve ever experienced the death of someone very close it’s amazing how it immediately (but maybe temporarily) re-prioritizes everything. I say temporarily because humans have a remarkable adaptability and we seem to normalize almost any life situation if given enough time. But for a while all the clichés about shortness of life and self-examination become tangible and very personal. The time to develop positive new habits or insights as a result of the trauma is during that initial tim [...]

    16. Binge drinking sucks. I used to do it until I did too many stupid things and had some sense knocked into me. Great book, excellent writing, all binge drinkers (past and present) should read it.

    17. 'That the same liquor that gives people enough strength to live in this world, can also make them brave enough to leave it.'This book by Brissie girl Elspeth Muir gave me chills. It's mostly a personal memoir but opens up into an exploration of Australia's drinking culture at large. Anecdotes of getting blind-drunk and taking risks are cringe-worthy and, too many of us, eerily familiar. Binge drinking is problem behaviour that should raise red flags, but it doesn't. Enough people do it that it s [...]

    18. This booked confused me. What was it trying to be? Was it a memoir? Was it a study on grief or alcoholism? Was it a social observation? I feel like a lot of the book was the author just rambling. It jumped all over the place-one minute we were involved in Alexander's life and then we were with the author talking about a trip to South America then we were back in Australia going to schoolies! I think the author really needed to work out what story she wanted to tell.

    19. Ripped through this, drawn to the themes of grief and our booze soaked culture. Very well written, with some extraordinary sentences/ paragraphs throughout. Only occasionally did the book slacken, possibly a result of the long-ish gestation that created the necessary distance to capture loss so evocatively.

    20. I highly recommend reading this book which is part memoir and part investigation into Australia’s drinking culture. The author’s brother died when he fell off the Storey Bridge in Brisbane one night after completing his uni exams and going out drinking with mates. Whether it was an accident or suicide will never be known but it does raise the question - why do Australian’s consume so much alcohol and need to get “wasted” to relax and have a good time?Whilst the author looks at alcohol [...]

    21. I did enjoy reading this biography, but found it disturbing in some ways. The author sets out to relate the difficult relationship her brother had with alcohol, and how this led to his accidental death. But while telling his story she also reveals her own, uncomfortable relationship with alcohol. Both she and her brother have inherited the gene for alcohol addiction it seems. What makes the reading uncomfortable is that the author doesn't make it clear whether she is aware that her love of alcoh [...]

    22. "Then one morning, not so long ago, an old housemate said, 'You reduce everything to a story, and in your stories events and characters are entirely one way or another. Life isn't like that. Situations aren't straightforward - there at nuances.'She was right: I avoided thinking about grey areas. It was so much easier if there was a villain and a hero, a right way and a wrong way. Then people, situations, objects and events could be analyzed and categorized and not dealt with again, except in the [...]

    23. An amusing and timely read, giving a personal account of a turbulent relationship with alcohol as the headlines rage on about alcohol-fuelled violence and Keep Sydney Open campaigns. However, the research didn't delve far enough into the cultural reasons behind Australia's binge cultural and was lacking in insight. Ultimately the conclusion contradicted experiences in the book; why introduce more or stricter controls when the ones already in place are so poorly enforced and easy to get around?

    24. In trying to understand the circumstances of her brother's death while out drinking one night, Muir asks some hard questions. I like the way she doesn't accept things at face value - she is as critical of herself as she is of organizations like Red Frogs, drinking culture, and the fucked up gender politics that sit alongside that. Well written and compelling to read.

    25. So very beautifully written, so sad. Elspeth Muir is going to be someone in the Australian literary scene. I felt very grateful for Muir's willingness to be so raw and vulnerable and ugly. And also, in a strange way it was such a comfort to read a book about grief that has no resolution and is bald in its presentation of death without redemption.

    26. This book changed my life. The matter-of-fact analysis of Australia's drinking culture perfectly balanced the problems and joys of alcohol. Her emotive language describing Brisbane's scenery also made me nostalgic for when I lived there. Would highly recommend - I finished it in a day.

    27. An interesting commentary on Australian drinking culture inspired by sad events. It was an eye opening read and provides a lot of interesting talking points. I think this would be so helpful for teenagers and university students who are navigating new social situations.

    28. Complex, sad, bitter and beautifully written reflection on binge drinking in modern society. Well done to Elspeth.

    29. A balanced, honest, and heartbreaking memoir of grief, and a frank examination of drinking culture in Australia. Someone close to me died in shockingly similar circumstances to and within a few months of Elspeth's brother, so this hit particularly close to home for me.

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