What happened next? It’s the question Jill Stark has been asked most often since the publication of her acclaimed memoir, High Sobriety.
As one of the original pioneers in the ‘quit lit’ space, Jill started a national conversation about the role of alcohol in our lives, turning the lens on her own rocky relationship with booze and forensically dissecting the culture that gave rise to it.
Now, ten years after the book’s first release, she fills in the gaps on where life took her after she unwittingly became the poster girl for sobriety. In this updated edition, Jill charts her struggle to become a moderate drinker, the crippling ‘hangxiety’ that led to her quitting alcohol for good, and the ever-evolving journey of self-discovery sobriety has taken her on.
"A sobering, and distinctly inspiring, glimpse of what Australia might look like without a hangover … Stark writes with honesty and unnerving clarity. Over its pages, the reader gradually comes to understand not just that Aussies don’t like to give up the drink, but that we don’t like it when our mates do, either."
ABC's The Book Show
"An important book"
Ross Fitzgerald, Canberra Times
"A brave and lively memoir … Stark writes powerfully, and with absorbing and intricate detail, about her alcohol-free odyssey … [she is] a feisty, richly talented writer."
When You’re Not OK
This is a self-care manual for the days when you feel alone — the days when you worry that you’re too weird or broken or unfixable to be normal. With compassion, humour, and honesty, Jill offers signposts to help you find the path back to yourself.
Whether you’re having a bad day, or a run of bad days that seems never-ending, When You’re Not OK is an emotional first-aid kit for your body, mind, and soul, written by someone who’s been there too.
Happy Never After
Jill Stark was living the dream. She had a coveted job as a senior journalist, she was dating a sports star, and her first book had just become a bestseller. After years of chasing the fairytale ending, she’d finally found it. And then it all fell apart.
Getting her happy-ever-after plunged Jill into the darkest period of her life, forcing her to ask if she’d been sold a lie. What if all the things that she’d been told would make her happy were red herrings? Could it be that the relentless pursuit of happiness was making her miserable?
From the ashes of Jill’s epic breakdown comes this raw, funny, and uplifting exploration of our age of anxiety. Charting her own life-long battles with mental-health problems, Jill asks why, in a western world with more opportunity, choice, and wealth than ever before, so many of us are depressed, anxious, and medicated. When we’ve never had more ways to connect, why do we feel so profoundly disconnected?
Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections
"A moving, insightful analysis of our collective pain and how we can heal. Australia needs this book."
Hugh Mackay, author of The Good Life
"Funny, wise, poignant and compelling, Happy Never After is a brilliant intersection between searing personal experience and the wisdom of the elders: nothing brings us closer to despair than the relentless pursuit of our own happiness.
Susan Carland, author of Fighting Hislam: Women, Faith And Sexism
"This is a book we need. Highly, highly recommended. Puts a deft finger on many things that I guarantee have been quietly troubling you for a while. A book for our times."
Jill’s first book, High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze, is a best-selling memoir exploring Australia and Scotland’s binge drinking culture, set against the backdrop of her own tumultuous relationship with alcohol.
Released in 2013, it was shortlisted in the Kibble Literary Awards and longlisted in the Walkley Book of the Year Awards. Launched in Australia and the United Kingdom, High Sobriety was critically acclaimed and followed five years of reporting on alcohol issues for The Age and Sunday Age. This reporting led to Jill winning the National Drug and Alcohol Awards excellence in media award in 2008 and again in 2011.
This lively memoir charts Jill’s tumultuous year on the wagon, as she copes with the stress of the newsroom sober, tackles the dating scene on soda water, learns to watch the footy minus beer, and deals with censure from friends and colleagues, who tell her that a year without booze is ‘a year with no mates’.
In re-examining her habits, Jill also explores Australia’s love affair with alcohol, meeting alcopop-swigging teens who drink to fit in, beer-swilling blokes in a sporting culture backed by booze, and marketing bigwigs blamed for turning binge drinking into a way of life.
High Sobriety is a funny, moving, and insightful exploration of why we drink, how we got here, and what happens when we turn off the tap.
‘It's hard not to recommend this book: from teenagers experimenting with their first taste to those who've been imbibing for decades, many will find Stark's story illuminating, touching, and memorable.’
"A thirsty Scot's attempt to stay off the sauce for a year."
"I was completely engaged … Her approach is fresh and funny, artlessly open, and most importantly, accessible. She’s not interested in preaching to the masses but rather is on a mission to decipher her own complicated feelings … It is this candidness that makes her book so enjoyable."
"I loved the hell out of it."