Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Though I bang my head on a mountain of truth.

Where We FallWhere We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein

Abby, Ryan, and Lauren were inseparable in college. But Abby always felt a little on the fringes of Ryan and Lauren's all-consuming love. But when Lauren goes off for six months after college to see the world and photograph waterfalls, Ryan is devastated. Cut forward nearly twenty years: Ryan and Abby are now married, with a seventeen-year-old daughter, Julianna. Lauren, meanwhile, is single and an author. Ryan is a successful football coach, but he struggles with the ups and downs of Abby's anxiety and depression. Unbeknownst to all three, their paths are about to cross for the first time in ages.

This book was an interesting one. At times, it seems to be a representative portrayal of depression. Often, Abby seems penalized by her family for her mental illness, which really makes you think about the effects of depression on families. How much obligation does a family have to help a hurting love one, even at their own expense? Other moments, though, the book seems extremely psychoanalyzing and patronizing, as if one stay in a mental health facility can cure all ills. It's hard to explain, but very frustrating, and I'm not sure if always does those with mental illness any favors.

As a football coach, Ryan is portrayed as above all - almost a godlike figure. It is certainly in keeping with high school football in a college town. He takes Juliana's boyfriend, E.J., the star of his team, and his brother, Devon, under his wing. Their story is somewhat powerful, as brothers from a tough neighborhood trying to escape their over-powering father. A side story where E.J. gets in trouble protecting his brother could say a lot about class and race in the south, but then seems to be tied up awfully easily.

That's sort of how the whole book seemed; some parts are compelling and believable, while others were implausible and just odd. None of the characters really drew me in, though I did find myself identifying at times with Abby and her issues. Overall, a 3-star read.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley (thank you!); it is available everywhere on 4/19/2016.

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