Monday, August 4, 2014

Julie's Review: All Fall Down

Author: Jennifer Weiner
Series: None
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 400
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction/Women's Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: A truly brilliant depiction of modern marriage, parenthood and addiction
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Allison Weiss got her happy ending—a handsome husband, adorable daughter, a job she loves, and the big house in the suburbs. But while waiting in the pediatrician’s office, she opens a magazine to a quiz about addiction and starts to wonder…Is a Percocet at the end of the day really different from a glass of wine? Is it such a bad thing to pop a Vicodin after a brutal Jump & Pump class…or if your husband ignores you? The pills help her manage the realities of her good-looking life: that her husband is distant, that her daughter is acting out, that her father’s Alzheimer’s is worsening and her mother is barely managing to cope. She tells herself that they let her make it through her days…but what if her increasing drug use, a habit that’s becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all? With a sparkling comedic touch and a cast of unforgettable characters, this remarkable story of a woman’s slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again is Jennifer Weiner’s most masterful work yet.

Review: All Fall Down is truly Jennifer Weiner at her finest. I've been a huge fan for a long time but this book blows her previous works out of the water. Not that Ms. Weiner hasn't always dealt with serious issues in her books but All Fall Down is perhaps in a different league; addiction and recovery.

While I don't have an addiction (ok except for books), I found myself easily identifying with Allison. The weight of her family's world is on her shoulders. Her husband is slipping away,  her dad is sick, her mom can't handle anything and her daughter is a bit on the difficult side. You don't have to be married with kids to identify with her because we all have burdens that can come at us during all stages in life. 

What I found to be real was how quickly and easily Allison slipped down the rabbit's hole. How she could justify it in her head all the time. How it really wasn't affecting her daily life. Heck it made her more productive and more alert. It smoothed the edges out for her. It made her relax and not be so high strung.

I found myself profoundly aching for Allison. As an outsider looking in, I could see where she was headed and wanted to help her. I was also a bit ticked off at her husband for not helping her sooner. Maybe he couldn't have helped but if he would have been around more and helped out more, perhaps this addition wouldn't have happened.

While the recovery part of the novel was short, anyone with any kind of knowledge of addiction will know that this will be a daily fight for the rest of her life. There are tons of novels out there about recovery but what I liked was how Ms. Weiner highlighted the descent into addiction. How it isn't always illegal drugs but can easily be prescription. How prescription addiction is the quickest growing addiction in the U.S and how it's not always easy to spot at first.

Ms. Weiner takes addiction and makes it seem like it could be about your best friend, sister, mom, cousin, etc. It hits home even if you haven't had personal experience with addiction because you can see how easily this could happen. Life is stressful, we all have to figure out how to deal with it. Some people deal in healthier ways.

There are so many good tidbits in this novel that would take up too much space to write down. I truly feel that my review doesn't do it appropriate justice.

All Fall Down is a taut story with characters that could easily be people in your circle of friends or family. Ms. Weiner is always a sure bet with me but this book should elevate her to another league. If you've never read her, now is the time to start.



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