Novelist and memoirist Ayelet Waldman does a good turn for the cause of sane drug policy reform under the guise of a quirky self-help memoir. Her project is in the title: She experimentally microdoses herself with LSD in pursuit of A Really Good Day (Knopf).
The author is charmingly—even goofily—fanatical about minimizing risk. She researches every conceivable health problem that could arise from taking 10 micrograms of the drug every three days for one month. And she frets over LSD's illegality, fearing that obtaining it might be dangerous and worrying about how others will perceive her if they know she's using.
Waldman winningly relates the problems with mood disorders, pain, productivity, and her relationship with her husband—the writer Michael Chabon—that led her to seek a solution in LSD. Finally, she describes how the self-guided therapy for the most part made her a more calm, happy, and open person (while never actually getting her high).
Many readers will come to this book looking for a memoir of a mom dealing with mental health issues. Waldman slyly leads them into a convincing medical and legal case for legalizing even strong drugs like psychedelics and MDMA, which she also admits to taking to shore up her marriage.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "A Really Good Day".