Book launch party for alumna includes memoir-themed cocktails

Just one night after the release of her first memoir, Victoria Loustalot, ’03, sold nearly 200 copies of “This Is How You Say Goodbye” at a book launch party.

Loustalot’s memoir, which was released on Sept. 10, focuses on her relationship with her father, who committed suicide while sick with AIDS four days before her eleventh birthday.

The launch party, which took place on Sept. 11 at the WORD bookstore in New York City, was a chance for Loustalot to celebrate the release of her book.

Over 100 people came to the event, where Loustalot read from “This Is How You Say Goodbye,” answered questions and signed copies of the book.

In addition to the number of books sold, one of the most notable events of the night was the sponsorship of Atsby Vermouth, a liquor company. Loustalot said it’s a big deal to attract a liquor sponsor. They offered cocktails free-of-charge to anyone who wanted one.

“After the Q&A, it was really just like any other cocktail party,” Loustalot said.

In fact, Atsby Vermouth created two specialty cocktails based on the places that Loustalot visits in her memoir. One was a gin-based drink with Lillet, a French aperitif, that represented Paris. The other was a kaffir lime with lemongrass and southeast Asian flavors based on her time in Cambodia.

Regardless of the popularity of the drinks, Loustalot has received much praise for “This Is How You Say Goodbye.”

“It’s an intense experience when a friend or family member responds to your book,” said Loustalot, who has received numerous emails, letters and phone calls from friends and strangers alike. “When it’s someone you know and care about, you’re especially vulnerable because you love them and value their opinion.

“But it’s (also) overwhelming (when it’s) someone you don’t know who has no reason to read your book other than they want to. It’s so powerful and moving to think a stranger decided my book was worth their valuable time.

“And then, on top of that, that they went through the trouble of finding out how to contact me so they could tell me how they were impacted by (it).”

Of all the feedback Loustalot has been sent, the majority has been “overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

“People have told me it made them cry, made them laugh, made them really want to go to Stockholm,” Loustalot said. “It’s made them reevaluate their own relationships with their parents and made parents think about the way they interact with their children.”

Loustalot said she is amazed by the correspondence she has had with people she’s never even met.

“The fact that people are reading the book and want to make a connection with the author—well, that feels pretty incredible.”

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