Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite
Beat Binge Drinking: A Smart Drinking Guide for Teens, College Students and Young Adults Who Choose to Drink by Donna J. Cornett, M.A., addresses the issues of social drinking head-on. Cornett reviews the hard facts and then guides readers through the maze of considerations in choosing not only whether or not to drink, but how to drink responsibly. Narrative information is followed by bullet-point summaries that reinforce the key concepts and encourage readers to use the book for future reference. She defines “smart drinking” as moderate, appropriate, problem-free drinking, sensibly suited to the occasion. The overall tone of the book is honest rather than judgmental. An extensive bibliography and list of resources at the end confirm that Cornett has done her research and knows the limitations of even a very good book on the subject.
This book is not for alcoholics or teetotalers, but it is for their children. It’s for all young adults who are surrounded by opportunities to drink and are trying to decide for themselves when and where and how much is safe. Cornett neither glorifies nor minimizes our society’s use of alcohol. Instead she emphasizes awareness and understanding of why people drink along with the physical, psychological, financial, legal and social problems that come with alcohol abuse. There are two dangerous realities that Cornett overlooks: 1) Alcohol is the number one date-rape drug; and 2) Alcohol can act as a gateway drug because young adults who would otherwise say “no” to other drugs are more likely to say “yes” when their inhibitions are lowered by alcohol. These shortcomings, however, do not undermine the book’s overall value. It belongs in every high school library and college dorm room.