Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Falling In Love - Stephen Bradlee
Addicted to love, Sherry Johnson's life consists of nightly trysts and regretful mornings. Each night she tries to quell her wants but gives into the humiliation of another one night stand sometimes going with multiple partners. When she decides to find her mother in California, Sherry starts the journey via New York, seeking her mother's friend Elaine.
But she gets lost, the car breaks down and ends up in a small town called Oak Grove. To her rescue comes Paul; the attraction to each other immediate and within twenty-four hours, Sherry believes she's fallen in love, so does Paul and they get engaged. But she won't sleep with him just yet. Paul is no stranger to heartache and is fine with the decision. However, the urges start and the cycle of sexual encounters, depression and hating herself restart. But the horror of facing one of her 'conquests' hits home - hard - he's Paul's best friend.
The engagement is off which leads to a horrific car accident and both going to counselling where Sherry is faced with an ugly truth - she's addicted to sex; Paul is addicted to co-dependent relationships. Finally reaching New York, alone, her life spirals out of control. Going from one job to the next, she meets a sassy actress, a sympathetic boss and a women's soccer team who along with people from her therapy group surround her with support. Yet, Sherry still believes she's a failure. Will she be able to claw her way back from the brink, find her mother, get help and finally love herself?
This is an intense and utterly absorbing story. It isn't erotic in any way regardless of the main characters addiction. Rather it is a novel that details how heartbreaking and fraught a life can be when it becomes consumed with want - be it food, legal drugs or sex. Sherry's struggle has been beautifully written - the anguish and hopelessness is felt on nearly every page. Each character in Bradlee's story are well defined all with their own issues and difficulties. The glimpses of black humor occasionally lightens the mood and the dialogue is simple but real and brutal.
What a breathtaking story. It is so captivating that I read it in a day. It's easy to empathize with Sherry but at times I just wanted to shake her as she refused to listen to the inner voice trying to stop her from making another mistake. But that's what addiction does. Momentum builds as secrets become uncovered and Sherry struggles with sobriety. There is little else to say other than read it, you will be taken on an amazing, yet raw and harrowing journey. A highly recommended read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author to review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not expected to give a positive critique.