The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.
As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?
Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.
My book of the year. Really, saying that alone, and the fact that we’ve still got six months of the year left still and I’ve already named my book of the year, tells you just how much I loved this story. I absolutely loved it.
Addiction is such a hideous disease. It affects the user, and everyone else around them. Very much like the ripple effect. This story was the most accurate portrayal of addiction that I’ve read yet. My eyes welled so many times reading this. The emotion, anguish, betrayal, confusion, guilt, worry, disappointment, longing, and love was just overwhelming at times. I felt so much for all the characters in this story that I just didn’t want to stop reading. I was furious at Robert and that part of the storyline, and I absolutely loved the relationship between Annie and her sister as they were growing up. I think it was the diary entry in CH 18 (going from memory which I have to admit it pretty sketchy LOL) which documented Lexie leaving the ‘Cult’ and leaving poor 12 yr old Annie, that had me ugly crying. And I do mean UGLY cry. The trauma that that poor girl endured, and to have the only person that she could trust and knew that loved her disappear with out her (Lexie leaving), was the pivitol moment in her downward fall. My heart truly ached for Annie. And I appreciated the thought and effort the author made in conveying her emotional turmoil and struggle.
I also applaud how Lexie’s own struggle was written. It is tremendously hard watching someone’s life downward spiral with addiction. Essentially, you’re powerless to do anything because the only person that can help themselves, is the addict. That’s extremely hard to do when a person is dealing with multiple trauma’s, because more often than not, the reason that they’ve turned to the drugs is to self-medicate when experiencing depression, PTSD, trying to forget things etc. So an addict can relapse many many many many times. They may never get clean. I loved that the author explored this with Lexi. Shared her frustration, and even anger, with Annie an all the times she’d tried to help her. For Lexi being confused because even though she’s a doctor and KNOWS about addiction, it can be a very different experience to live through it personally. Lexi was very human. There was a time or two when I gasped because of something she said to Annie. One of those being when Annie was naming the baby and Lexi didn’t agree with it, they way she talked and what she said to Annie, was awful. I immediately felt for Annie, and thought “wow, that was below the belt Lexi”. But you know what, that was real. No one’s perfect. We all have our moments, and I think it was just a representation of how addiction effects relationships.
And the poor little baby? I’m so glad that she survived, although her withdrawal scenes were vivid and written so well. I had some tears through that as well. And they ending… UGLY CRY. I don’t want to give anything away, but I was hoping for a different out come for sure. I pictured it happening as though it was on one of my favourite tv show dramas. In slow motion, with some backing music. Not fair.
So as you can see, I LOVED this. It pulled me in from the very beginning and had me finishing it within the day. I just couldn’t put it down because I didn’t want to leave Lexie of Annie’s side. I needed to see where their journey was going, stuff any study or house-work that had to be done!
I rated Before I Let You Go: 5/5 stars and my 2019 Drama Book of the Year