Book review: Writing is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor

Writing is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too). Theo Pauline Nestor. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. 256 pp.

[Note: A representative from Simon & Schuster contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this book to coordinate with its release on November 5, 2013. I agreed, and I received a copy of the book for my effort.]

Writers who are fans of Anne Lamott and Julia Cameron will most likely enjoy Theo Pauline Nestor’s latest book, Writing is My Drink. The book uses a similar combination of memoir, craft, and life lessons to help others uncover the writer within.

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The story chronicles Nestor’s journey from suffering as the child of alcoholic parents to becoming a respected writer and teacher. It details the relationships and life incidents that shaped her lack of confidence and caused her to lose her voice both emotionally and artistically. Most importantly, Nestor shares her breakthrough that came during a “desperate day,” when motherhood had worn her down, and she could no longer be silent. In a burst of frustration, she decided to write for herself, and a new life of writing began.

Nestor’s goal is to help her fellow writers flee self-doubt and give themselves permission to write, a luxury she had long suppressed. Her “Try This” sections at the end of each chapter offer exercises to help the writer dig deeper and more personally into the hows and whys of the writing life.

Between the advice and tips, Nestor gives intimate details of her life. Her prose is sprinkled with profanity and crude language, which distract rather than strengthen. However, the words do as they intend and the author is well known by the end of the book. It reads almost like a novel, and is entertaining in the way it uses song titles, quotes, and other familiar phrases for chapter headings.

Writing is My Drink is for the writer who struggles and yearns for the breakthrough that Nestor finally received.

For more information on this book, visit the Simon & Schuster website.


10 thoughts on “Book review: Writing is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor

  1. Great review, Darla. I love finding writing “guides” that do more than talk about the mechanics of writing a book. All of us have those inner demons that affect our writing journeys, and it is nice to see how someone else overcame their obstacles.


  2. Thanks for the review, I am going to purchase this on pay day. I too am a child of an alcoholic father and through my mentor with Spiritual Directions, she has led me to writing. I have actually started research to write about mine and my sisters experiences. This book is something I think I need to read.


    1. Let me know what you think. You can read the first pages over on, if you want to sample the book before you buy it. It’s not the type of writing book that I usually read, but it was interesting to learn about her life and how she overcame her emotional troubles.


  3. Lovely, effective review, Darla, essential background information followed by specific details. Any writer whose goal is to “…help her fellow writers flee self-doubt and give themselves permission to write…” has my full attention!


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