Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: "All Fall Down" by Jennifer Weiner

Allison Weiss is doing it all- she's holding down a demanding job that will only become more so as her blog's brand expands, parenting an overly sensitive young child, running the household and helping to care for her aged father with dementia. She juggles so many balls at one time that she is constantly teetering on the edge of dropping one or another- if she's a good parent she's not being a good employee, and so on. Allison finds herself coping with the overwhelming business of getting through the day by taking a pill once or twice a day. As the pill dissolves Allison feels some of her anxiety slipping away as well. As Allison continues to add things to her to-do list she finds herself taking more and more pills just to get through a few hours, a few days. As her addiction rapidly spirals out of control Allison finds herself on the brink of losing everything that she holds dear and she must decide what lengths that she will go to in order to get well again.

All Fall Down was everything that I have come to expect from Jennifer Weiner. It was gripping and thought-provoking and it was a reflection of everything that goes on in society today. Weiner exposed a different side of addiction within these pages. We often view addiction in a "Breaking Bad' style- that drug addictions aren't something that affects the middle class, the moms with jobs and husbands and two-point-two children, but only affects scary looking people in seedy motels and out on the streets. These days addictions are becoming more prevalent, and All Fall Down is an incredibly timely story. For someone who doesn't have a drug addiction of her own, Weiner really takes us inside of Allison's head. I found myself feeling Allison's desperation for her next pill come out from the pages, and as her addiction spirals out of control and she becomes desperate for her next fix I could feel her panic set in.

It was funny how much I found myself relating to Allison. Despite the fact that I don't have a drug or alcohol addition I found myself agreeing with much of how she feels. I believe that the modern woman juggles too much on a daily basis- kids, husbands, jobs, the household. The strength of a modern woman often amazes me. We are expected to be fit and pretty and good moms and wives and we are expected to contribute to the household income on top of all of that. It's easy to see how addiction could stem from all of these pressures and demands and I think that Weiner painted an accurate picture of today's modern woman.

All Fall Down is perhaps grittier than some of Jennifer Weiner's previous books but I thought that it was one of her best to date. She doesn't shy away from a topic that is difficult yet she treats it with the respect that it deserves. I found it impossible to tear myself away from the story because I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. I was satisfied with the ending and found it fitting for the story. I'm already impatient for Weiner's next release! My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

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