18 May 2020


ISBN 978-1951214401

One poor decision can tank everything. Middle-aged Laurel Peterson has struggled for a lifetime to overcome her damaging childhood. She’s managing quite well as a successful graphic artist in Scottsdale, Arizona, when life comes crashing down. She decides to indulge in just one drink to take the edge off, but a third DUI rips away everything she’s worked to build. She finds herself in the infamous Tent City jail in the scorching Arizona desert, pending a subsequent prison sentence. Laurel, determined to fight her demons, scrabbles to make real changes in her life and become sober once and for all. But, can she… with her sister’s murder, an ungrateful mother battling Parkinson’s Disease, and the stakes ratcheting upward when she’s contacted by a son she abandoned nineteen years before?
- Back Cover Blurb

"Peterson, you've got mail."
- First Sentence - Buckeye, Arizona: October 2016

"They can check out two books at a time for a week. It seems very restrictive - cripes, it is very restrictive - but its the only way to accommodate everyone because we're so over-crowded. On most days, the woman stand in line for quite a while before they are allowed in for that one hour per week."
- Memorable Moment, Page 149 

MY THOUGHTS ... I hold my hands up, whilst intrigued by the premise I began reading Radical Acceptance not expecting to have one iota of sympathy for let alone actually like Laurel but then I guess that's the writing of great characters for you. And there's no two ways about it as far as I'm concerned in Laurel Peterson Bonnie E. Carlson has a great character. 

The story of middle-aged woman who, a what, a 'functioning alcoholic'? is now in recovery; though  currently sober Laurel is fighting a continuous battle with the demon drink. A battle that is temporarily lost when one fateful night she has a drink which leads to another and another until, well, the rest, as they say is history. 

Thank goodness that her drink driving doesn't lead to any fatalities. I'm guessing that along with many other readers I wouldn't have felt for Laurel as I did if there had have been (Hmm! There's a thought. Knowing what I came to know of her would I have have quite as much empathy if their had have been a fatality?) As it was, I despaired for Laurel; part of me just wanted to shake her; 'why Laurel, why? - but then its never that simple as the author points out.

Don't get me wrong whilst this is a great exploration about the nature of addiction (and not just Laurel's, there are several other characters within the story who are likewise fighting their own demons) it's also a story about relationships (both healthy and not so healthy); not least of which is Laurel's relationship with both her narcissistic mother and her son who, having been for adopted as a child, is only now seeking her out.

Ah yes! The son.

Only a small gripe I know but  why, why were told about the son in the synopsis? Personally I'd much rather have discovered him in the book. 

But, anyway ...

That the author is not judgemental and does not lay blame at anyone's door, that she does not lead us into any conclusions as to why Laurel is the person she is but rather explores the complexities of relationships and the nature of addiction makes this a compulsive read.

And, oh yes, as a Brit I got a fascinating insight into the workings of the American judicial system and the working of their probation service.

SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ... An insightful look into the nature of addiction wrapped up in a story full of memorable characters.

The second book to be received from the New York- based Adelaide Books (my review of the first, Beulah Who Thought She Was Swimming, can be found here). My thanks to the publicity team for providing two paper copies.

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Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Felicity,

I am always torn between a premise that says too little and one which tells me too much! It must be really hard to strike that balance between intrigue and spoiler alert!

I'm not really sure whether this would be something I would enjoy, as I do know a couple of people with alcohol addiction issues, but I am intrigued by the contact from the son, wondering whether this will sober her up for good, or tip her over the edge and make a bad situation even worse! At least Laurel seems to enjoy her reading, so that has to be a good sign, surely! :)

I don't watch any of the televised prison programmes, however something like this, where you get to know just enough, but not too much, would probably be quite interesting - you obviously thought so!

A nice overview and review, thanks for sharing :)


Sophia Rose said...

I'm a Yank and I get just as fascinated about our correctional system. LOL Actually, that is no joke. I am curious about this one after your description of the character and what is going on.

Brian Joseph said...

Great review. Addiction is such a demon. One must stake and everything can fall apart is very true. The story sounds realistic and worth the read.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

This sounds like a good book for a group discussion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

Kelly said...

From the blurb alone, I might not have given this novel a second glance, but your review has me thinking I might enjoy it after all. Still... I'm wondering if it might be too much of a "downer" for me right now. I'm picking my books pretty carefully these days.

Literary Feline said...

I tend to be picky about books dealing with addiction, especially alcohol, given my family's history with alcoholism. I can only read books like this in small doses.

nightwingsraven said...

The book sounds like a very realistic
exploration of addiction(s) and as you
said relationships. I will definitely
keep it in mind.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Sometimes I do find a synopsis gives away just that little too much!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

Great review. Addiction is an ugly thing and I am glad the author was able to share without prejudice.

Nas said...

Addiction is such a bad thing. Thanks for your review.

the bookworm said...

This sounds really well written, addiction is such an awful thing. Great review!

Suko said...

Felicity, thanks as usual for your honest and thoughtful review. It sounds like an interesting, complex book. Might you even say it is an addictive read (sorry, couldn't resist)?

Sherry Ellis said...

This one sounds like an interesting read.