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19 November 2014

Review: 'All Fall Down' by Jennifer Weiner (2014)

Allison Weiss is a typical working mother, trying to balance a business, ageing parents, a demanding daughter and a marriage. But when the website she develops becomes a huge success, she finds herself challenged to the point of being completely overwhelmed. As she struggles to hold her life together and meet the needs of all the people around her, Allison finds that the painkillers she was prescribed for a back injury help her deal with more than just physical discomfort - they make her feel calm and get her through the increasingly hectic days. Sure, she worries that the bottles seem to empty a bit faster each week, but it's not like she's some Hollywood starlet partying all night. It's not as if she has an actual problem. Until she ends up in a world she never thought she'd experience outside of a movie theatre: rehab. And as Allison struggles to get her life back on track, she learns a few life lessons along the way.

Jennifer Weiner is without a doubt a popular and well-known name within the world of women's fiction. My first experience with her work was 'In My Shoes', which was turned into a film starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in 2005. I really enjoyed the book and picked up other Jennifer Weiner novels over the years. So, when I was contacted about possibly reviewing her latest novel, 'All Fall Down', which was released on the 28th of August by Simon & Schuster, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. After reading the blurb, I already had a feeling this would be a slightly darker read than the other Jennifer Weiner novels I have read, but I was curious to check it out and had high hopes for it!

Allison Weiss is a typical modern-day woman, trying to keep everything in her life in a perfect balance. She has a loving husband, a cute 5-year-old daughter named Ellie, a great home and a successful job as a blogger for a women's website. But everything is not as perfect as it may seem. She and her husband Dan seem to be growing further and further apart; Ellie is taking up lots of time with her tantrums; the house won't clean itself and her job is asking more and more of her. In the middle of it all, Allison turns to prescription pills to help her get through her hectic days. But one pill turns into two pills and before she knows it, Allison can't function normally without them anymore, bringing into danger everything in the 'perfect' life she has worked so hard for...

'All Fall Down' is definitely one of Jennifer Weiner's darker novels in contrast to some of her humorous chick lit reads, and one that deals with a serious topic, since it provides the reader with a look into the world of prescription pills and addiction. Allison wasn't a heroine I particularly warmed to and fell in love with, but I did sympathise with her and could almost understand why she does what she does. Occasionally, though, I felt like jumping into the pages of the novel and slapping her. One of the absolute strengths of this novel is how the author managed to portray a convincing, realistic and honest image, which fascinated me and made me want to keep on reading. I was intrigued by Allison's story and I really wanted things to work out for her. 

I think it is a shame, though, that the main focus lies on Allison alone and everything is told from her perspective. We don't really get to know the thoughts of Dan, Allison's husband, or her mother or best friend, which definitely would have been interesting and would have added another layer to the story. However, it is obvious Jennifer Weiner has done her homework and has managed to write a touching and convincing account of a modern-day woman, just like many of us, who simply couldn’t handle things anymore. ‘All Fall Down’ is a realistic, thought-provoking and gripping novel; a book that definitely comes highly-recommend to women’s fiction fans.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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