Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Elizabeth Wurtzel: More, Now, Again: A Memoir Of Addiction

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Sitting in a familiar position in front of a therapist, Elizabeth Wurtzel gets dressed down as a messed-up drug addict whose destructive behavior is dictated by a life-long inability to feel much of anything. The welcome revelation makes for a heart-wrenching passage, but it also goes a long way in illuminating the fundamental flaw in More, Now, Again, an autobiographical account of Wurtzel's two-year addiction to Ritalin and cocaine. While living in Florida, where she moved to escape the madness of New York, Wurtzel becomes increasingly fascinated with the Ritalin she's been prescribed to help her focus. Ostensibly working on Bitch, the follow-up to her best-selling Prozac Nation, she starts popping pills by the handful, quickly careening into a habit of crushing and snorting 40 pills a day. When she runs out of Ritalin, Wurtzel finds a suitable substitute in coke, which proves even messier than the relatively above-board speed buzz of her prescription of choice. Her relationship with her family in Florida strained and her work on Bitch in chaos, Wurtzel moves back to New York to be closer to her editor and her trusted therapist. It doesn't help. "Coke and fucking and porn—with a little bit of writing and a lot of revising in multicolored ink—is how I spend the late fall of 1997," she writes. Mostly given over to the single-minded obsessions of drug addiction, More, Now, Again reads like little more than a catalogue of embarrassing behavior. Wurtzel's career has been built on such naked honesty, but unlike her depression-examining Prozac Nation and her post-feminist declaration Bitch, More skirts over a flimsy premise that seems uninspiring even to the author. That changes a bit when she struggles through successive stays in rehab clinics, where she wrestles with the unmitigated self-possession required for recovery. But even then, her rare attempts at insight serve mostly to highlight the missing aspects of her disappointingly unrealized book. Her rote reporting makes it seem like she's mining her life for material, rather than living it. Wurtzel has been derided as a self-absorbed captain of the memoir industry, but More seems more unnecessary than solipsistic. Ultimately, her most grievous offense is her devotion to a story better stowed away in a case file than published as a book.