Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: Where We Fall, by Rochelle B. Weinstein

Guest review by: Erin Krajenke

There were times as a child and young adolescent—before I could give words to my fears and inner thoughts—that I actually wished for calamity. If only that Rottweiler had taken a bite out of my leg, an area that healed quickly and didn't leave any long-term bruises. If only I could actually faint, instead of always feeling faint. If only something truly terrible would happen to me, then maybe my parents would have dragged me to a doctor and experts would have studied me to find out exactly what was wrong. Because I was sure there was something really broken in me.

… I have held Ryan back for as long as I can remember. What started as a mistake has grown progressively worse. Sometimes the guilt consumes me. I wish I could be a better wife, a better mother, though my handicaps prevent me from doing normal things that most women take for granted.

…"Baby, this doesn't have to be a bad thing. It’s been hard, for you, for us, but you mostly, for a long time."  "You're being kind."  "Heck, I've suffered. We've all suffered." "Are you giving up on me?" I cry out, feeling the separation wedge a space between us. "I'm fighting for you, Abs. Even if it means we fight. If this gets you better, I'll do whatever it takes." A montage of Ryan playing the hero reminds me of all the reasons I must go. He is picking me up from the mall because I can't catch my breath, and I'm having what I believe is the third heart attack of the week. He is hugging me in our bed while waves of panic ripple through me. He thinks he can push the waves back to sea, though I know he can’t. But he tries. He is looking me in the eyes when I am in the throes of a depressive episode, and he is telling me how beautiful I amnot just outside but insideand how he wishes I could see in myself a fraction of what he sees. And then there's the time we were flying to Dallas for the weekend and the turbulence got so badI was sure we were going down. The vodkas weren't the best decision. He had to carry me off the plane.

This story involves the aftermath (and kind of still continuation) of a love triangle amongst three friends, one of whom is suffering from a mental illness.  This book is told from multiple points of view (Ryan, Abby, Lauren, and Juliana) which I always enjoy in a novel. Sometimes I feel like just telling a story from multiple perspectives can create even more turmoil in a story due to the reader being privy to personal thoughts and information.

Official synopsis:
By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all.  She's the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can't seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn't the life he's dreamed of, he's determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world.  Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina - back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together.

I have read a lot of books with characters dealing with mental illnesses recently and I like that the books have been told from their perspective as well as others to give you an idea of what someone with mental health issues is dealing with. I really enjoyed the chapters where Abby is getting the help she needs and is actually getting better, being happy, and loving herself and life.

However, that was about the only part of the book I enjoyed. The love triangle just didn’t do it for me…mostly because it happened 17 years ago and they are still wallowing in it…get over it and move on already. Each character is pointing the blame when in fact, I feel they were all to blame for at least part of the problem…and it happened 17 years ago. As I said, get over it. I guess I just had a hard time really caring about the characters or their love triangle. But I did like the light it shed on mental illness, how hard it is for the individual and their loved ones, how hard getting help might be, and then seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

…I know there's no finish line; that this never ends. I'm learning how to fall, dust myself off, and take the next step. I'm also weeks into a really good antidepressant and a mild anti-anxiety medication. They definitely help. I will probably remain on these drugs for the rest of my life. ‘Stigma’ is a terrible word in the world of quiet sufferers....when a patient presents with symptoms of diabetes or heart disease, and the treatment is lifelong, the general population accepts the diagnosis as a matter of physical health. Unfortunately, diseases of the brain are classified and perceived differently than diseases of the body. Your brain forms your personality. Your behavior is the result of the disease, of the brain misfiring. It's easier to separate blame and fault from an impaired kidney or a damaged aorta than from an obsessive, compulsive, phobic person.

Start rating: 3 out 5 …but a low 3.
{Click here to purchase}

Erin Krajenke is a chatty Virgo. She always has coffee when watching radar (and she hopes someone gets this Spaceballs reference).


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