Saturday, August 1, 2015

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

5 Star

Allison Weiss got her happy ending: a handsome husband, an 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? She tells herself that the pills help 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?

Kathryn - 5 Star

I am always interested in reading Jennifer Weiner’s novels.  She writes stories about women and they usually delve into subjects that aren’t on the beaten path.  All Fall Down was no exception. The novel is dark but manages to be light just by the power and skill of Weiner’s writing. She keeps the plot of the novel moving with appropriate dialogue and easy language so although you are reading something with a lot of emotion and intensity you still read quickly and never feel bogged down. 

If you’re going to tackle something like addiction, and keep it relevant to the everyday reader, then you must create a character that is relatable and could be anyone.  Alison could be any parent. In those very first few pages, when you’re immediately introduced to her daughter, you connect with Alison.  She has a lot going on: there are schedules to juggle, people to please and a constant list of things to do. Most parents feel overwhelmed at some point and Alison’s gradual increase of her pain-prescribed meds almost feels natural?  I liked the slowly explained increase of the amounts she taking and then the sudden heart-pumping moment when she tallies the money spent/pills consumed and the subsequent rapid downfall and unravelling of her life. The pace of the novel is perfect.

Alison’s relationship with her parents obviously takes a place in her history but I actually liked that Weiner didn’t blame her history on her present. Though a pre-disposition to addiction was hinted at we’re actually mostly left with the notion that the path Alison has taken or ended up on is due to her own decisions.

Obviously the novel isn’t supposed to be light- however, given the subject matter Jennifer Weiner has written a story of intent without it feeling depressing.  All Fall Down is a definite must-read.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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