Tuesday, 15 July 2014

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

Do you generally use alcohol or drugs more than once a week?

This opening line is in italics, so we may infer that it is a question being asked to someone, presumably the protagonist. The next line:

I hesitated with my hand over the page.

This reveals some character, that moment of truth when people have to be honest with themselves. It doesn't matter if they need to admit an alcohol or drug problem or a pizza problem or a TV problem. Arguably, we are capable of and willing to abuse our bodies as much as people did in the Middle Ages, and even cause more damage they ever could have, but because of technology and modern advancements we stay alive longer. The narrator then checks yes.

This is part of a scene in which the narrator is waiting in the doctor's office, waiting for a pediatrician to see her daughter. So the fact that this person has a substance abuse problem coupled with being a mother establishes some conflict in the making. But it is unclear where this is heading, so readers will read on, but that doesn't mean they are hooked yet. If they don't get something juicy soon, they will stop reading. The scene continues with this lady filling out the drug questionnaire in the magazine. Besides the bratty kid, there isn't much to hold my attention and so I bow out of this book by around page 9.

First thing said:

"How much longer?"

I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with this opening. There are no obvious cliches and the writing is all right, it just didn't grab me.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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