STARRED REVIEW
September 13, 2016

A TV anchor reveals the toll of alcoholism

By Elizabeth Vargas
Ever the clear-eyed reporter, ABC television journalist Elizabeth Vargas honestly investigates her own psyche in Between Breaths, a candid examination of the crippling anxiety and alcoholism she hid from the world for years.
Share this Article:

Ever the clear-eyed reporter, ABC television journalist Elizabeth Vargas honestly investigates her own psyche in this candid examination of the crippling anxiety and alcoholism she hid from the world for years. From her anchor position at "20/20," and at "World News Tonight" before that, Vargas has always transmitted cool confidence even as she detailed the most horrifying news, whether from Baghdad or closer to home. Between Breaths offers an intimate look at what was going on behind the news desk, where Vargas was throwing light on the world’s darkest corners while keeping her own demons tightly under wraps.

The story Vargas tells may seem familiar—many a memoir has been penned about hitting bottom with the bottle, and Vargas herself came clean about her alcoholism in a Good Morning America interview in 2014—but her telling is unique because it’s almost entirely unsentimental, and certainly unembellished. In straightforward, simple prose, Vargas shows us that conditions like anxiety and alcoholism can hit even the most accomplished among us. She never feels sorry for herself on the page; she’s reporting the facts, as always. Yet, her confessions show how her life spun out of control, how her illness endangered her marriage, her role as a mother and even her life. If you didn’t previously believe that alcoholism was an excrutiatingly difficult disease to recover from, you will by the time you finish this book.

While Vargas’ internal struggle would be engaging enough, she also includes material that we all remember from the news. We go back in time with her to Bob Woodruff’s IED injuries in Iraq and to Peter Jennings’ cancer diagnosis. We’re there when she reports from Baghdad and when she interviews Amanda Knox’s parents. By invoking unfolding global events, Vargas expertly involves us in her personal world as well. We see clearly the immensity of the world’s problems, and the strength it took for someone like Vargas to keep telling the truth. And now, she’s telling the biggest truth of all: her own.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Between Breaths

Between Breaths

By Elizabeth Vargas
Grand Central
ISBN 9781455559633

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!