Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(54)All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

All Fall Down
By Jennifer Weiner
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Pages: 400

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 17, 2014

Buy it Here!

Allison Weiss is stuck on the roller coaster of life.  She married the man of her dreams and fully expected that marrying David was beginning of her "happily ever after."  She did not expect to give birth to a "difficult" and demanding little girl.  She did not expect to be downsized from her job at the paper and for David to suddenly be doing the job of three, taking him from their new home in the suburbs while he works long hours.  And Allie most definitely didn't expect for her father to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, rendering her mother virtually useless with fear.  Allie's life is spiraling out of control and the only way she can get through the days is with the Vicodin that her doctor prescribed when she threw her back out.  Allie  graduates to Oxy and soon is doing anything she can to get her hands on the pills that will make her days easier.  She slurs her way through the days feeling nothing. No pain, no anxiety, no shame - nothing.  Until the day that David and her mother say no more.  David packs her up and takes her to rehab.  But will Allie take the opportunity to get better and sober or will she fake her way through rehab like she has faked her way through life over the last few years?

Even though Jennifer Weiner is one of the reigning queens of Chick Lit I really hesitated to give this book a Chick Lit label.  All Fall Down has a lot more "meat" to it than your average Chick Lit novels.  Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in suburban communities all across the country and the author tackles that subject in a way that may actually open up dialogue and the eyes of people who think they don't have a problem.  Allie is about as normal  you can get and is really the poster image of suburban mom. She faces the same struggles that so many women in America face - trying to juggle her career with her family all while maintaining a healthy relationship with her spouse.   I almost felt ashamed to watch her spiral out of control,  like I was spying on my neighbor or reading her private journal. Yet I couldn't stop reading because  I was  desperate to see how things turned out for Allie and her family.  And you know what, I was okay with the conclusion of the story.  Not hokey or forced. Real.

Bottom line, All Fall Down is one of the better Chick Lit novels I have read in a very long time. The subject matter of the book is one that needs to be addressed and may force some uncomfortable conversations in your local book club or "Mommy & Me" group.  But as the author illustrates, those conversations need to happen.  Good luck and know you are not alone.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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