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on 22 April 2011
I downloaded this book for my kindle with some trepidation as there is no product description and I usually like to know what I am reading before I start. Basically this book charts the journey of Leah, a 27 yr old english teacher, as she realises she is an alcoholic and embarks on a path through rehab and recovery. I must point out that I soon realised that this book is Christian Fiction, which is not something I would normally read. However, the writing in the book is not bad and the issue of christianity is a subtle flavour throughout the book rather than a strong overtone. I enjoyed reading Leah's story and I think that this book would be enjoyable for both Christians and non-christians alike. The religious factor is not thrust in your face all the time and I found myself interested in Leah's story both past and present.
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on 5 November 2011
I bought this book simply because it was free at the time and I needed something to read travelling to and from work. If I am honest I was not expecting great things from it as other free books have been ok, but not something I would read once I got home. However, as with many things in life, I found it surprised me. I was almost sad when my journey finished as that meant I had to put the book down!
The basic story line is about an average, married, suburban women entering rehab to deal with her drinking problem. On the surface it has a uncomplicated storyline but the author makes it rich by the depth she gives to the characters that surround the lead. From the members of the rehab clinic to her supportive best friend and decidedly un-supportive husband, by the end of the novel you feel you know each of them almost as well Leah, the main character. Also, unlike some novels dealing with the issue of alcoholism and addiction, I don't think you need to have experienced the issues Leah is going through to get the most out of the novel.
It is a well written first person narrative and Leah's thoughts and reactions to the situation she finds herself in are so believable you find yourself getting really attached to the story. I believe that is the way a good novel should make you feel and I would suggest this novel to women of all ages as the content is accessible to anyone. I would happily pay the full price for this novel and I am now planning to read some more books published by this author.
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on 26 May 2011
Her name is Leah; and she is an alcoholic. Having denied this to herself for so long, she finally realises that she has a problem, and attends a rehabilition centre to try to get her life back under control. However, part of the process of healing is understanding exactly what is the root cause of her drinking.

This book is written in the first person and contains her thoughts, discussions with others, and the comments that she writes down for analysis about her life, her relationships with friends and family, and the others in the rehab centre. The underlying issues are slowly teased out as you get deeper into the story; she is suffering with a lack of self worth that is the result of a number of key factors in her life which she covers up by drinking heavily. Only after she accepts this, can she begin to re-build her confidence in her own value, and learn to love herself again.

The story does contain a certain amount of Christian beliefs and has a slightly evangelical tone about it; but I have no issue with that, as I consider that you should use what works for you as an individual. The story refers to a number of real tragedies in Leah's life that are sadly far more common than most people realise. However, it is well written, nicely structured and a good read if you are not too depressed by human fraility.

My only main criticism is that the book seemed to finish a bit abruptly; I was expecting to see a specific ending, but it just seemed to end in mid-air leaving a number of key issues unanswered. I will also say that the last section is a bit odd; it's a series of questions about the plot which almost reminded me of some English Literature exam question papers.

But overall a good read; worth putting the effort into, in order to understand the issues involved.
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on 9 June 2013
I began this book with mixed feelings and questioned during the first chapter, if I would continue with it all, but continue I did and was glad of it.

This is the story of Leah, an alcoholic, and although it focused on her struggle against alcoholism I thought the true theme was her journey to self awareness. I found Leah to be captivating as her story progressed and we shared her thoughts. Her husband Carl, although a victim of his own past, was detestable; I felt real anger towards him. These were three dimensional characters and the author is to be commended on the passion embodied in her writing.

I enjoyed this book and will probably read this author again, given the opportunity, but there are a couple of negatives.

The references to God and Christianity were, for my taste, overdone. One of the other reviewers makes the point that AA is not a religious organisation and should not be portrayed as such. I know nothing of AA but the book did give the impression that it was religious. The book implies that immersing oneself in Christianity is the only road to recovery from alcoholism; I suggest there many other equally valid paths to tread.

The book also ended abruptly, almost as though the final chapters had been ripped from my copy.

I got this novel as a free download for Kindle from Amazon.com
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on 27 March 2012
A great many novels - and Christian ones are very prone to this - romanticise problems and their solutions. This one does not. There's no fairytale ending, no glossing over of pain, no promise that there is a certain happy ever after - and to be honest, it was a refreshing change.

The Christian elements are not "in your face", and do not present Christianity as a panacea, but they are there and are an intrinsic part of the story. This is a book I would happily give to a non-believer, and which might well challenge believers and non-believers alike in terms of what church/Christianity should be versus what it too often is. We could all use some of the unconditional acceptance which sadly seems more common in AA meetings than in some places of worship.

Allan doesn't shrink from dealing with some pretty weighty issues, and does so with considerable grace. There are some genuinely funny moments, but also many that are very touching. I'm trying very hard not to put any spoilers in; probably the easiest thing to say is that I feel this is a book that is well worth reading, and I am just about to download the other Christa Allan book I have in my archive and will be watching out for more from her in future. This book is definitely one to put her on my radar as an author, and one I would highly recommend to others.
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