The Believer

Jowita Bydlowska’s memoir, Drunk Mom, was published this past spring to much controversy in Canada; it’s the fascinating memoir of her own time as an alcoholic mother of a young son, living with her child and her partner in downtown Toronto. She was interviewed by the novelist Susan Swan, over email. The book can be ordered from Canada, or you can wait for Summer 2014, when it will be published in the U.S. by Penguin.

THE BELIEVER: Your memoir, Drunk Mom, was given the biggest coverage of any book that debuted in Canada this past spring. How did you come to write it?

JOWITA BYDLOWSKA: I pitched this as work of fiction to my agent, because I thought it would be an interesting character to write about—a mother who drinks, a sort of an ordinary villain. We usually expect big things from our villains—explosions, large-scale betrayals—but there are many not-so-obvious villains out there, too. Seeing my own story as fiction made the danger less real, perhaps until—what an apt cliché—reality caught up with me.