A {possibly full of spoilers} discussion on Jennifer Weiner’s All Fall Down

AllFallDownWhen I was in high school, I had a group of friends. They were really nice girls and I loved hanging out with them. It was the day that they decided to start doing drugs that I realized that I wasn’t one of those high school people who would follow my friends in the whole “if so-and-so jumped off a bridge” scenario. In fact, I’m pretty sure my mom hit that on the nail when I tried smoking when I was 15 and she told me she’d take away my piano if I continued.

The choice was obvious.

But these were my friends. If I told them I didn’t want to do drugs, would they still like me? If they didn’t hang out with me anymore, would I have any friends? Turns out, they mademy decision perfectly clear. Not only did I not want to do drugs, but one of the girls was constantly putting me down and I realized I didn’t want to put up with that garbage. So I told her. And you know what happened?

They stopped talking to me.

However, as I spent my last year of high school virtually friendless, I found solace in my piano and in writing poetry. Sure, it was angry poetry, but I still tried to vent my feelings in any way I could. And really, had I not dove into my piano, I probably wouldn’t have taken music in university, met some awesome friends, and ultimately followed the path in life I did.

Life is funny.

Anyway, this isn’t really about me, but reading All Fall Down reminded me about that time in my life because the story is about Allison, who finds her solace in pills. It’s actually kind of interesting because when you think “drug addict” you think of someone who’s on hardcore drugs, not prescription pills. The fact that Allison started on them like any normal person and then slowly started to take more and more, eventually taking them by the handful, is scary.

I’ve been on vicodin before, but only at the dentist’s office (Anyone else terrified of dental surgery? Anyone?) and I didn’t remember a damn thing after. I can’t even imagine trying to go after that feeling day after day. And Allison has a child. I have a child and I can’t even imagine losing my inhibitions like that during the day.

The sad thing is that she didn’t even realize that she had a problem because it wasn’t hardcore drugs. There were a few instances in the book that were like a slap in the face to Allison and they really were heart-crushing. To have your own child come up to you and ask if you need to have a sleep and tell you they’ll be quiet so that you can rest, when you’re on the prowl for some pills — that just shows how much they take in. And it’s sad.

This book made me wonder how many other people out there are abusing prescription drugs to the point that they barely feel the effect of the recommended dose anymore.

This is the second book I read about someone going to rehab and it was pretty good. I think I liked Catherine McKenzie’s Spin better. I think it was Allison that kind of bugged me and her never understanding that she had a problem. But I guess that is the problem, right?

At any rate, this book made me shake my head at times, feel horrified in others, and made me revisit the past. Nothing wrong with that! Sure it wasn’t my favourite book, but it did bring back some of the positive feelings I used to have about Jennifer Weiner’s books. Now I want to read the ones I missed!

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One thought on “A {possibly full of spoilers} discussion on Jennifer Weiner’s All Fall Down

  1. Pingback: July | Reading In Winter

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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