Book Review: ‘All Fall Down’ is an accurate
portrayal of drug addiction
The typical stereotype of drug addiction is challenged in this novel by New York Times multiple winning author Jennifer Weiner in her novel, “All Fall Down.”
It appears Allison has it all. A large, gorgeous house in the suburbs, an adoring and handsome son, an adorable young daughter and a job she excels at and enjoys. On the surface, all is in perfect order and Allison has nothing to worry about. A real life happy ending come to life.
Until, sitting in a pediatrician’s office, she pages through a magazine and comes across a quiz: “Are you addicted?”
For the first time, Allison wonders — the Percocet she takes after a strenuous gym class, after her husband ignores her, when she’s a bit stressed … how bad it is? At first she reasons prescription pills are not a problem, and certainly not an addiction. The round white pill helps take off the edge of her day, keeping up her good-looking life and all that entails — the go, go, go and the underlying life that’s exhausting her. After all, beneath the lovely perfect facade, her husband has become increasingly distant and inattentive, her daughter is having behavior issues she can’t control or understand and her father has ever-worsening Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course she deserves to relax at the end of the day, Allison reasons, and the prescription pills originally issued to her doctor simply cannot equate to an addiction.
That’s what Allison tells herself.
However, life does not ease up for Allison or her family. Tensions escalate and the habit of a pill she no longer needs for an accident become necessary, including, lying to her doctor for more and then ultimately seeking the pills elsewhere — online.
Allison’s downhill slide into addiction is believable and entirely common among Americans in recent years.
Weiner’s writing, as always, is humorous and filled page to page with engaging and endearing characters. The novel is one of an all too common, yet overlooked part of addiction in society across America. It reflects an accurate portrayal of what starts out small, and aimed to be medical and even harmless, treatment of one’s condition that spirals down and down and down.
“Admitting you had a problem was the first step — everyone knew that — but admitting you had a problem also left you open to the possibility that maybe you couldn't fix it.”