Review: All Fall Down – Jennifer Weiner

Posted 20 August, 2014 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 15 Comments


Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: All Fall Down – Jennifer WeinerAll Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
Published by Atria Books on 17 June 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
|
4 Stars

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?

*I received a free ARC of All Fall Down from Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

All Fall Down is a different contemporary novel that deals with prescription drugs addiction, and the very hard truth of how easy it might be to get a hold of those drugs.

My All Fall Down review:

Allison slowly slides into her addiction without truly noticing at first, and All Fall Down follows her journey until there is nothing left for her family to do but to try to get her to go to rehab. On the outside, Allison is successful, a loving mom, a blogger who earns more money than her husband, and she takes care of her daughter and her parents on top of everything else. One day in the waiting room at Ellie’s pediatrician’s office,  Allie sees a test that is different from those she usually sees – it is a test about being addicted to prescription drugs.

All Fall Down is very well written, from Allison’s point of view in past tense, and it was actually very hard to read about her descend into a personal hell it was impossible for her to get out of on her own. For the longest time, she was functioning more or less as usual, even while she was taking more and more pills to just feel normal. It was frightening to read about the easy way Allison was able to get her hands on more drugs, complaining to one doctor one week, another the next, they all just rang in new prescriptions for her and helped her feel like she didn’t have a problem.

In telling Allison’s story, All Fall Down is important because it really puts the emphasis on how easily someone can become trapped by the pain-killers, and how far people will really go when they are addicted, even if they seemingly have all they could have ever dreamt of having. In between the despair of addiction, there are some lovely scenes with Allison and the people she loves, be they friends or family, and Weiner’s special brand of humor that I love so much is still a big part of the story. Other important issues are being talked about as well, one that stood out to me was rape, and the way society tries to put the responsibility on the person who was raped rather than on the person who raped. The way Allison deals with this on live TV while high was empowering, even if she was not her normal self.

Realistic fiction that puts the spotlight on a hidden addiction, All Fall Down is an important story both for people who might become addicted to prescription meds themselves and the people surrounding those who continue taking pain medication long after their actual physical pain is gone.

 Some of my favorite All Fall Down quotes:

Sometimes it felt as if I’d gone to the hospital, given birth, then lifted my head four years later to find that my husband and I were barley speaking, and that sex with him was the very end of a long to-do list, instead of something that I actively wanted and missed.

With work, there was a sense of completion. You’d start to lay out a page, or create graphics, or embed just the right video clip […] With motherhood and marriage there was no finish line, no hour or day or year when you got to say you were through. 

“You think your life is fine,” he said to me. Better than yours, I thought unkindly, imagining the existence that went with his outfit.

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Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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15 responses to “Review: All Fall Down – Jennifer Weiner

    • It’s good that you already know that, and stay away from things like pain-killers, Braine! It was tough to read about her, especially when she got in really really deep. And kind of scary to see how easy it can be for an educated woman (and probably man, too…) to get her hands on pain medication.
      Thanks for stopping by, Braine.

  1. Hi Lexxie,

    I was amazed when it was pointed out to me the number and types of people who are addicted to one substance or another. Well heeled professionals, teachers, doctors etc. the list was endless and from such an unlikely cross section of society.

    As a nation, or even a world, the problem we are building for ourselves is beyond the comprehension of most people, who simply can’t see beyond the stereotypical ‘druggie’ on the streets!

    I can imagine that this book was quite difficult to read, as a middle class female, wife and mother, on prescription medecines, is just so out of the norm as an addict.

    I really want to know how this story finishes up, so I guess the only way to find out, is to add it to my TBR list!

    A well thought through and balanced review, thanks for sharing.

    Yvonne

    Yvonne@FictionBooks recently posted: ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’ by Mary Delorme
    • Yeah, it was difficult to read, especially because when she started taking that pain medicine, she actually needed it. Then it just felt so good she continued taking it long after the physical pain was gone…

      You’re right too, that when I think of someone who is a drug-addict, I think either someone too skinny, dirty and homeless (sorry for the oversimplification!) or some celebrity who uses too much recreational drugs. Not a mom who actually holds a job and takes care of her family.

      Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy All Fall Down, too 🙂

    • I have read several books by Jennifer Weiner, and I have enjoyed them all. This one has a very strong message, though, and it’s really scary to realize how ‘easy’ it might be to fall into the same downward spiral as Allison.

      Thanks for stopping by, Heidi.

  2. Wow, Lexxie. All Fall Down seems like it’s rather profound. I like that it challenges the way you think about ‘who’ an addict is. And I’m glad Weiner didn’t leave out her characteristic humor. I’m adding this one to my tbr and it’ll be one a read sooner than later. I haven’t read Weiner in a long time but reading your review made me remember why I like her. 🙂

    *BIG HUGS*

    • Yes it does challenge how I see a drug addict in my mind, because it could really be anyone, you know?
      I hope you’ll enjoy All Fall Down, Brandee! *BIG HUGS*

  3. Oh wow, Lexxie. I’m glad you liked this one, and I agree that prescription drug abuse is an important issue–my dad is a pharmacist–but I think I’ll have to wait a bit before reading this myself . . . I’m still pretty wrung-out from my If I Stay reread, LOL. I can’t read heavy books like these back-to-back, b/c they make me depressed 🙁 BUT. I will definitely keep an eye on it, b/c the wrung-out feeling will pass. Great review!

    • Yeah, it’s a pretty tough read, especially because at the beginning, even I as a reader thought she was doing OK, you know? And little by little I wanted to scream at her to get her act together 🙁
      Thanks for stopping by Jessica 🙂

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