Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review: "All Fall Down" by Jennifer Weiner

All Fall Down Jennifer Weiner
Date Finished: February 21, 2017
Date Published: June 2014
ISBN: 9781451617788
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Books about addiction, books about women trying to balance everything

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?

My Thoughts:
I'm a huge Jennifer Weiner fan and I've said that I've read all her books....and I thought I had.  Then, I was going through a pile of books on my TBR table (where the overflow that won't fit on my TBR bookshelf lives) and I found this one.  I apparently purchased this, probably back when it was released, and then it was buried.  Oops!  On the upside, it has been a while since Weiner's last adult novel, so this was kind of like a brand new release to me.

This book is not Weiner's usual fare.  She deals with addiction, which she had only peripherally touched on in other books.  The drug of choice in this book are opiods, which was fascinating.  You see, I'm one of those people who have never done drugs, but I've heard and read enough to have kind of an idea of what it might feel like.  I have had a bit too much alcohol from time to time, so I do know what that is like.  But I've never understood painkiller addictions.  It's not that I don't believe it is a real thing--but I've had things such as Vicodin and Oxycontin after surgeries and....they have done absolutely nothing for me.  So, I just couldn't understand what the appeal was (and I wasn't about to start popping pills to find out).  Here, Weiner spins such a compelling tale that I could almost feel the highs and lows as Allison goes through them.  I also could understand why Allison would turn to pills when the rest of her life was so out of control.

Once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down (and, since I read most of it on an airplane, that was not an issue!).  Weiner's story telling is in top form here.  The pacing is perfect to reflect the frenetic life that Allison lives and in speeds up as she begins to spiral.  Allison is a character that I'm sure many readers can relate to.  While I don't agree with her choices (and I'd like to believe I'd never make them if I were in her shoes), she is still utterly believable.

I did have a few nit-picky things--I wish Weiner had fleshed out Allison's husband a bit more.  We barely get to know him and I think that if there was more to him, it would only enhance our understanding of Allison.  I also felt the last section was a bit bogged down and about twice as long as it could have been.

Still, this was a very satisfying read and I would put it towards the top of Weiner's books.  I would recommend this book to just about anyone.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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