All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

Accidental addict. Non-accidental recovering addict.

Synopsis of All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner: Allison Weiss got her happy ending—a handsome husband, an adorable little girl, a job she loves, and a big house in the suburbs. But when she’s in the pediatrician’s office with her daughter and a magazine flips open to a quiz about addiction, she starts to wonder whether her use of prescription pills is becoming a problem. On the one hand, it’s just prescription medication, the stuff her doctors give her. Is a Percocet at the end of a hard day really different than a glass of wine? Is it such a bad thing to pop a Vicodin after a brutal Jump & Pump class…or after your husband ignores you?

Back in the car, with her daughter safely buckled behind her, Allison opens the Altoid tin in her purse and slips a chalky white oval underneath her tongue. The pill unties her knotted muscles, erases the grime and ugliness of the city, soothes her as she frets about the truth of her looking-good life: that her husband’s becoming distant, that her daughter is acting out, that her father’s early Alzheimer’s is worsening and her mother’s barely managing to cope. She tells herself that the pills let her make it through her days…but what if her ever-increasing drug use, a habit that’s becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all?

All Fall Down is the story of a woman’s slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again. With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, this tale of empowerment and redemption is Jennifer Weiner’s most poignant, timely, and triumphant story yet.

My two cents

Allison Weiss seems to have it all. But having it all is stressful. So what's the matter with taking a prescription pill to take the edge off? Nothing, right? In this fast-paced and highly empathetic portrayal of an everywoman accidentally turning addict, we're brought into a highly realistic and even scary possibility that anyone can spiral out of control.

I'm not quite sure why Jennifer Weiner's books have been forgettable for me. I poked into the recesses of my Goodreads archives and the ratings of Good in Bed and Goodnight Nobody were lackluster and I have little commentary. Maybe when I read them years ago, it just wasn't time, I couldn't relate. But with her new book, an unexpected win on Goodreads First Reads, my opinion changed. I picked All Fall Down this last weekend and just couldn't put it down!

This novel shines a light on prescription drug abuse, an issue making the papers for years now because of its growing prevalence and the insidious way people get hooked.I have a feeling that this novel will hit close to home for a lot of readers because Allison's life seems so typical and is oh-so- relatable life with her precocious child and a loving husband, the demands of a home-based business, and a desire to be better off financially. Who doesn't get stressed? Who doesn't feel they deserve some relief?

Allison's justifying, denial, eventually coming-to-terms with her problem, and the struggle to normalcy provides readers with a realistic picture of prescription drug abuse. It made me hyper-aware that this could happen to anyone and how this hidden problem can slowly creep unawares into anyone's life. And it doesn't have to be you -- it could be anyone in the family or even a friend.

While becoming an addict is accidental, what isn't accidental is detection and recovery. Part of the curbing the issue is self-awareness, of other people noticing changes.

Reading this make me want to revisit Weiner's other books.

Verdict: A highly relatable personal account of how prescription drug use can become an addiction. Read. Relate. Be aware.

I received an ARC of this through Goodreads First Reads.

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  1. The book I listened to this week was like All Fall Down plus grief. I will have to check if my library has it on audio. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I agree that sometimes we have to be in the right time and place to enjoy certain books...I have loved all of Weiner's books, but I must admit that the first ones I read were not as memorable to me.

    Thanks for your review!

  3. Thanks for the review! The last several Jennifer Weiner books had not appealed to me or moved me either. This one sounds good though--will have to put it on my list.


© guiltless readingMaira Gall