Actor and performance artist Kotin bravely reveals just how powerful sugar addiction can be.
Who doesn’t enjoy a scoop of ice cream? Or even a pint? That’s fine for most people, but for compulsive overeaters, enjoyment isn’t the point, and one pint is never enough. That’s the message running through the author’s meticulous memoir, which chronicles every sugar crystal that has crossed the self-proclaimed sugar addict’s lips. By the time she digs the frozen cake out of her mother’s freezer and begins hacking off chunks, she erases any doubt that sugar addiction is a real malady. It’s hard not to get frustrated with Kotin, who, like an alcoholic or a junkie, regularly swears off her substance of choice only to find herself knee-deep in doughnuts days later. The same sort of cycle applies to her sex life, her studies, and her career; you want to shake her out of this alternatively self-indulgent and self-destructive cycle, though you know it’s futile, like talking to a problem drinker after a night at the bar: there’s no getting through the foggy thinking that’s symptomatic of addiction. Kotin’s ups and downs are so repetitive that it can be hard to detect the personal growth at the heart of this coming-of-age memoir. Her development as an artist comes through brilliantly, though, when she describes heartbreaking performance pieces in spare prose that is all the more illuminating for not overwhelming readers with details. Kotin’s self-effacing, candid humor hits the mark at many junctures; elsewhere, she simply provides too much information about her bowel habits. However, the author is dedicated to showing the whole ugly process of coming to terms with addiction, and her honesty makes her plight palpable.
Full of finely sifted detail but uneven.