Sunday, August 17, 2014

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

I read this recently for a book of the month swap.  I had a hard time reviewing it, but since I needed to write something for the swap, I reread it to touch up on it (more like skimmed, but schematics) so here is my review.

This book is about addiction, pills, and the suburban mom. I didn’t realize what this book was about before I started reading it, I just saw the authors name and went bananas because I have read all of her books and have liked mostly all of them. However, this book, was a HUGE letdown for me. I do have a lot to say about it, it really hit home for me. 

Brief background of me: 3 years ago I was married for a year, almost 2 years to a guy who was what we call a “pillhead” he kept it secret pretty much until shortly after we married. After that follows the worst two years of my life and my sons life. I can’t even begin to express the things I had to deal with, the pain I had to constantly feel, the late nights, the constant cops, drug dealers at my house, overdoses, things disappearing and being pawned, and finally DCF. And because we were married, in the state that I lived in, every thing that got stolen, or the fact that he even lived with me and my son I couldn’t press charges, kick him out, report things stolen. It took almost 2 years to get out of that situation, so when I read a book about addiction, it hurts. Mostly because the books don’t come close to the real picture of addiction. It doesn’t talk about the families, the children, the pain, the overdoses. Most books talk about rosey outlooks, being able to afford a decent rehab, and families coming back together in love and happiness at the end. This book, the entire book was just flat to me, the things I went through with my ex, all of it, I realize that everyone has a different story, not all addictions are the same, but pretty much every addict has hurt someone, pawned something, some drama, but there wasn’t much of anything. 

Back to the book, this was basically just a timeline of a addicted housewife “I took this and that and this, and went to rehab and did this and that and this, and now im doing this and that” and during all of this, I felt nothing, I didn’t feel any emotions or even her desire to have another pill didn’t come through, it was just like.. “two hours ago I popped a Percocet, now I feel anxiety coming back and decided to take another one” and it was just like reading an outline of a story, the outline is there but the in between the lines wasn’t. 

I felt like the addiction itself was boring, it doesn’t make the reader realize how serious it has the potential of being. It touched briefly on the fact that it could lead to death, in the way of “it was told to me if I took this amount of pills I might die” but there wasn’t any near deaths, or overdoses, hospital visits. She even gets busted by her childrens school and the school didn’t report it. Totally unrealistic. And I think that’s a pet peeve of mine. If you are going to write about something THAT serious, and it really IS serious, do it in a way that will shock people into thinking, not romanticizing it, and making it seem like pills help with every day emotions, if you happen to get caught taking them and sent to rehab by your family, it’s all roses after that and easy to kick the addiction. It’s not, its overdosing, hospitals, cops, jobs being lost, car accidents, jails, DCF, the inability to find a cheap rehab, or a bed in a state funded facility, it’s relapses, and dark nights where sponsers of NA come to talk you down. It’s broken homes, and divorces, and children who SEE all of this. And I feel deeply about this. 

So this book, was to me, just absolutely awful. I rated it 2/5 stars, 2 stars because I’m too close to the subject matter, maybe if I was a suburban mom that had no experience at all with what addiction can do to a person and family, I would have loved this book even more. It was probably a good book, well written, I don’t know, but in my personal opinion, it wasn’t. It’s hard to tell if I would recommend this book, I just think about how addiction was romanticized a bit and fear that someone heading down the road of addiction would read it, and it wouldn’t do anything but help them along further in their journey. 

I was bored during this book. I know I shouldn't feel this way about addiction, and that everyone has their own story and pain, and being aggravated that the depth of emotions that occur in the life of an addict and their family, and the characters didn't match up to my own experiences. 

Drugs and addiction, abuse and awful things like that, that happen to people in the world, shouldn’t have rosey outlooks, they should have the impact needed to take the reader to the next level of thought about the dangers and happenings around them and to them. I was bored during this book. I know I shouldn't feel this way about addiction, and that everyone has their own story and pain, and being aggravated that the depth of emotions that occur in the life of an addict and their family, and the characfers didn't match up to my own experiences. 

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