Somewhere Along the Way by Kathleen Knowles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As is my habit, I dove into this book without having really read the blurb. Just a quick glance that let me know it was about a young woman and her friend who moved from the midwest to San Francisco during the 80s. I was a teen/young adult in the 80s and I’m from the midwest so I figured I’d give it a go.
Since it’s a Bold Strokes Books offering, I mistakenly assumed it was a romance. It’s not and I was just fine with that. Instead, Somewhere Along the Way reads more like a memoir. Most of the book, told in first person POV, focuses on Max and her rapid alcohol and drug filled spiral to rock bottom and her journey to sobriety with the help of AA.
Being a sort of newly sober person myself, I felt a connection to Max. My story doesn’t mirror hers in any way but the struggle is mostly the same. I found other resources than AA to deal with my addiction – and probably would have gotten sober much sooner if I’d done research into alternatives earlier – but I know that it works for loads of others. It was interesting to be with Max as she wrestled with many of the same issues I have with the program, even if they didn’t hold a real focus in the book. We did get to see Max struggle with the various steps in a pretty superficial but still interesting way.
The other aspects of Max’s life that were dealt with were her sexual (I don’t think romantic is the right term), professional, and friendship relationships. As one would imagine, none of them went well until after she begins her recovery. I liked that the author made much of her recovery realistic. Max didn’t decide to get sober and turn over a new leaf and ride off into the sunset with a beautiful woman who could bring her to earth shattering orgasms at will. She stumbles and wrestles with her demons. But, to be honest, once she’s sober for more than a few months, the focus of the book moves more to dealing with the AIDS epidemic and her girlfriend than her sobriety.
I’m not sure if I wasn’t a recovering alcoholic if I’d have finished Somewhere Along the Way though. The writing style and voice isn’t normally something I would get into. Like I said, it read like a memoir with most of the time spent inside the protagonists head with little in the way of dialogue and in depth interactions with others. I don’t recall feeling any connection with another character or caring much about what happened to anyone else. So I’m not quite sure how to rate this. It spoke to me and I read it in one sitting but am I an outlier? I haven’t read any other reviews or looked at ratings so I don’t know.
I think you’ll know pretty quickly if this book will be for you. Check out a sample if you can.
Thanks to Netgalley and BSB for the ARC!