Nothing Good Can Come from This: Essays (Paperback)
"Kristi Coulter charts the raw, unvarnished, and quietly riveting terrain of new sobriety with wit and warmth. Nothing Good Can Come from This is a book about generative discomfort, surprising sources of beauty, and the odd, often hilarious, business of being human." —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams and The Recovering
Kristi Coulter inspired and incensed the internet when she wrote about what happened when she stopped drinking. Nothing Good Can Come from This is her debut--a frank, funny, and feminist essay collection by a keen-eyed observer no longer numbed into complacency.
When Kristi stopped drinking, she started noticing things. Like when you give up a debilitating habit, it leaves a space, one that can’t easily be filled by mocktails or ice cream or sex or crafting. And when you cancel Rosé Season for yourself, you’re left with just Summer, and that’s when you notice that the women around you are tanked—that alcohol is the oil in the motors that keeps them purring when they could be making other kinds of noise.
In her sharp, incisive debut essay collection, Coulter reveals a portrait of a life in transition. By turns hilarious and heartrending, Nothing Good Can Come from This introduces a fierce new voice to fans of Sloane Crosley, David Sedaris, and Cheryl Strayed—perfect for anyone who has ever stood in the middle of a so-called perfect life and looked for an escape hatch.
About the Author
Kristi Coulter holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She is a former Ragdale Foundation resident and the recipient of a grant from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Her work has appeared in The Awl, Marie Claire, Vox, Quartz, and elsewhere. Nothing Good Can Come from This is her debut book. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Finalist for the 2019 Washington State Book Awards
"Kristi Coulter charts the raw, unvarnished, and quietly riveting terrain of new sobriety with wit and warmth. Nothing Good Can Come from This is a book about generative discomfort, surprising sources of beauty, and the odd, often hilarious, business of being human."
—Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams and The Recovering
"Deeply human. Taken together, the collection is about more than sobriety. It’s a celebration of the quotidian, a love letter to the breathtaking beauty of the mundane."
—Rachel Sugar, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Coulter’s essays are short, smart, and with the heart that the (mostly male) addiction stories seem to miss . . .The pieces in Nothing Good Can Come from This are pleasantly messy incantations on loss, and what happens in its wake. Coulter shows her stumbles. She interrogates her usefulness, her language usage, her privilege, her ragged happiness . . . Coulter proves that our stories can be as complicated and powerful as we are."
—Sonya Lea, Los Angeles Review of Books
"The collection – recounting the trials of alcoholism, yes, but further ranging through neighborhoods of childhood memories and job (dis)satisfactions and running marathons and what it’s like to be a woman, this Coulter woman in particular, in our modern world – will give readers a reason to stay awake and keep turning pages. In sympathetic fascination, definitely; but also in delight at Coulter’s insight-rich observations and self-abrading, sometimes LOL snark . . . Like a carafe of cool clear water, this book of Coulter’s will pair well with everything in life’s rich pageant."
—Wayne Alan Brenner, The Austin Chronicle
“At turns heartrending and hilarious, Coulter is wonderfully conversational and never preachy as she tells her story of sobriety."
"Women can talk about anything with one another, but we can't seem to talk about the insidious ways that alcohol has taken over our friendships, our social lives, and every aspect of our womanhood. Nothing Good Can Come From This is equal parts uncomfortable and important, and needs to be read by every woman who has wondered if she really should 'rosé all day,' or who regrets whatever happened at the last book club."
—Nora McInerny, author of It's Okay to Laugh
“Brave, whip-smart, and laugh-out-loud funny. Kristi Coulter does not pull any punches tackling the taboos in so many women’s lives: addiction, sex, money, privilege, ambition, adultery, and power. In these essays, she bares her own soul to a greater end, writing with unflinching honesty and unexpected poetry. Although this is framed as a book about drinking, it’s ultimately about so much more: the insidious reasons why so many of us might polish off an entire bottle of Chardonnay in the first place—and how we might better serve ourselves in the end. Coulter herself is addictive to read. She’s a fresh, uncensored voice, offering up more than a drop of insight and hope.”
—New York Times–bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman
“What’s the opposite of disappointment? Oh right, pure joy.That’s what I felt reading Nothing Good Can Come from This. I was dazzled by Kristi Coulter’s honesty, her humor, and above all her beautiful, perfectly tuned sentences. Rarely do formal invention and real emotion coexist so comfortably; in other words, both intelligence and heart are on full display here. It’s difficult to imagine a more, well, joyous reading experience.”
—Claire Dederer, author of Love and Trouble
“Perfectly observant down to the smallest details, this account of drinking, sobriety, and starting (and then restarting) a manageable life is one of those books that is deeply serious, witty, and wonderfully compelling. The miracle of Kristi Coulter’s narrative is that it looks back at the reader and asks, ‘And how do you live?’ Nothing Good Can Come from This seems to speak for a whole generation, and it does so with great charm and brilliance.”
—Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love
"Kristi Coulter’s Nothing Good Can Come from This is powerful medicine—healing in its fearlessness and elegant in its form. It is an inspiring account of a human being committed to examining her own life and mind in the midst of a toxic and tuned-out contemporary culture, and is recommended reading for anyone interested in doing the same.”
—Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lamb
“Kristi Coulter says all the things you’re not supposed to say and points out all the things you’ve kind of noticed but never quite articulated. Nothing Good Can Come from This is equal parts hilarious and poignant, beautiful and wise. These are clear-eyed, fresh, and vital essays about addiction, sex, money, love, and the messy, terrifying work of being a person in this world.”
—Diana Spechler, author of Skinny and Who by Fire
“Nothing Good Can Come from This is a refreshing, candid, and very funny look into the life of a woman trying to learn how to be sober in a world that seems to want everyone to keep drinking. In unapologetic and deeply intelligent prose, Kristi Coulter exposes her own flaws while also turning a critical eye to our alcohol-drenched culture. This book is about sobriety, but it’s even more about a woman trying to define herself on her own terms, outside the frames of work, sex, and family.”
—Tom McAllister, author of How to Be Safe