Book Review: Drink, Smoke, Pass Out

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Author: Judith Lucy
ISBN: 978-0-670-07491-4
RRP: $29.99

Judith Lucy is an Australian comedienne with a long career in comedy, television, film and radio. Drink, Smoke, Pass Out is her second book and it is a frank look at her life and her personal journey to a more spiritual life, and a much stronger sense of personal wellbeing.

The introduction references Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love about one woman’s spiritual journey after a painful divorce, and tells the reader right from the outset that these two books may share the common theme of a spiritual journey and a three action title but that’s where the similarities end. Judith Lucy has nothing in common with Elizabeth Gilbert.

Drink, Smoke, Pass Out gives us a very up close and personal look at Judith’s life that pulls no punches. Judith shares with us her addictions, her insecurities and some very dark times in her life. For such a popular comedienne making a living out of being funny it was very surprising to discover how much of her life was far from funny.

Judith Lucy was raised a in a devout Irish Catholic family and that really is where this story begins because it is from there her journey begins. From devout Catholic to atheism to an openness of mind that does not discount anyone’s belief system. From faith to cynicism to scepticism to curiosity, a path we all find ourselves on at some point.

judith lucy

Drink, Smoke, Pass Out is fraught with laugh out loud moments and Lucy’s unique brand of often self-deprecating humour, and with just as many moments of heartbreak and empathy where we recognise her path of escapism and can do nothing but read on and hope she managed to change her course of destruction.

The style of writing captures Judith’s personality and voice so clearly. If you are a fan of Judith Lucy you are going to love this book, she’s not afraid to tell it like it is and she knows that she was screwed up, even when she didn’t completely recognise it at the time. Like many of us she spent a lot of time looking forward to that rewarding career that would define her and bring her happiness, and searching for the partner that would make her life perfect. It took a long time to realise that true happiness in your life is something that comes from within.

Smoke, Drink, Pass Out is a retrospective look at her life up to this point so by the time she’s writing she has gained that distance and learnt a lot about herself and where she’s come from. She can almost see her earlier life from the outside, and it looks much different to what it did from the inside.

A slow change of direction to start exploring the many aspects of spirituality has seen her awaken a curiosity about all things pertaining to people’s faith and belief systems and more importantly a sense of understanding and awareness that everyone has to find what works for them and that may be very different from those around them.

We are given a close look at Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey, the six episode series created for the ABC, that sees Lucy explore people’s belief systems from across the world. From outback Alice Springs to India and from Aboriginal elders to nuns, priests, ex-football players Judith Lucy speaks to a wide range of people of many faiths to search out answers to many of life’s big questions.

What began as an exploration of yoga grew into an open-minded appreciation of what works for other people. Sometimes this is the best any of us can do, collect all the information we can across the spectrum and choose to use what works for us.

I love that this book is an exploration and a journey, and that’s exactly how Lucy has written it. It is not zealous or preachy, it isn’t even this is what I believe. It is an insightful look at this is what’s out there and I found some of it very helpful.

Judith Lucy’s sense of humour is ingrained in every page and there are some highly amusing quotes scattered throughout, with some fabulous social commentary.

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