All Fall Down; Jennifer Weiner
Simon & Schuster Audio - 2014
In All Fall Down, Allison Weiss is a 39 year old who on the outside appears to have it all. A gorgeous husband, a cute, rambunctious five year old daughter name Eloise, and a successful career as blogger for a very popular woman's website. One day while she's waiting in the pediatrician’s office with Eloise, she takes a quiz in a magazine about addiction and begins to wonder if she may have a bit of a problem.
For Allison, what began with a legitimate prescription for Percocet, for back pain after a gym injury, gradually develops into a full blown pill addiction. An extra pain pill here and there to take the edge off at the end of day, soon she finds herself consuming a dozen or more pain pills a day. She justifies her need for them by the stress of her daily life. Motherhood, a troubled marriage, job stress, a high maintenance five year old, and a father who has developed Alzheimer's related dementia. Is popping a pill now and then so different from the women who end their day with a few glasses of wine to relax?
For Allison, the increased need for more pills to feel relief leads to doctor shopping for multiple prescriptions. She even resorts to illegal online pill purchases. One day her erratic behavior and an incident at her daughter's school, forces her to come face to face with her addiction and enter a rehab program.
Allison's stint at rehab and the stories of the other women in rehab (both younger and older) seemed very realistic -- different backgrounds, their substance of choice, how they got hooked, therapy sessions and more, I found their stories compelling. The novel seemed like a realistic account of what addiction and rehab must be like. I was surprised to read that the author's father, a psychiatrist, died from an overdose seven years ago, and although she hadn't seen her father in several years, she never realized he had a problem.
The subject of addiction seemed very well researched. I found Allison to be a sympathetic character, a woman who felt she must be everything to everyone. I think this would be an excellent choice for book clubs as there is a lot to discuss. The audiobook was good, read by Tracee Chimo, but the whining by five year old Eloise was a bit much at times. Although I wasn't sure this would be a story I would enjoy, I was happy that I tried it.