Sunday, August 17, 2014

review: all fall down by jennifer weiner

Allison looks to have it all together--a big house in the Philadelphia suburbs and a daughter in private school--but she's barely hanging on as her husband's job doesn't pay what it once did (he's a newspaper reporter), her daughter is "difficult," and her father's in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She takes pills to cope. Allison constantly tries to justify her addiction, which she doesn't admit is an addiction, but her family eventually intervenes.

Allison is incredibly selfish and wholly unlikable. Throughout All Fall Down I found myself wanting to strangle her. She became even worse in rehab. It's possible no other fictional character has ever been so haughty and self-righteous. The plot also feels unrealistic as Jennifer Weiner herself seems to acknowledge when Allison shares her addiction timeline and story in rehab. She went from hardly ever even drinking to full-blown pill addict (albeit one who suffered no consequences other than having her daughter’s teacher stop her from driving until she drank some coffee) after being prescribed a painkiller for back pain. And then after spending so much time with Allison lamenting her life and refusing to believe she’s an addict, Weiner tacks on a pat ending where nothing has been dealt with.

About the audiobook: Since I started reviewing audiobooks, I've discovered that nothing makes me hate a book more than a whiny child character narrated in a grating whine throughout. Although I hated Allison, I sometimes felt sympathy for her when Ellie would screech. Jennifer Weiner’s All Fall Down is narrated by Tracee Chimo (who plays Neri Feldman on Orange is the New Black). It runs 12 hours 45 minutes and was published by Simon & Schuster Audio in 2014.
Review copy provided by Audiobook Jukebox.

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