Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

The Waiting Sky

Goodreads Summary:
One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better. Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.

My Review:
I almost put this book down. Not because it was bad, but because it captured the way life often is with an alcoholic parent. I was lucky. My dad was a functioning alcoholic- he went to work, made sure there was money, etc. But I think there are common threads that run through all families with an alcoholic parent. This is the song that played in my head while reading this book:

Which is about the singer's own struggles growing up with an alcoholic father. I guess there's a whole tribe of us out there. Which I find both comforting and sad.

I guess the reason I stopped reading this book was that it brought up a lot of unhappy memories. Which means that the author did a really excellent job of capturing the feelings of a teenager growing up this way. I honestly can say that I think my father was a good father overall. Still...what resonated in this book was the whole secrecy thing. Once, my dad left me in a locked the rolled up. I refused to go into my grandmother's (his mother) house because he was already drunk and swerving the car on the drive over. And I knew she would keep serving him beer. They finally noticed I was in the car an hour later- you know what's coming, right? Heatstroke. Bad. Trip to the hospital type bad. Then the lying- my dad made me promise to tell my mom I had the flu. Or she'd leave him- which she very well may have. So, I became a liar and an enabler for my father. Much like poor Jane in the book.

On Being an Enabler: I was, Jane is in the book. And being an enabler is the worst thing you can be for an alcoholic because you are shielding them from the consequences of their actions. Which means it takes a lot longer to hit bottom- and hitting bottom is usually why people quit.

I hope you can tell that this is a book that I like and highly recommend. I related to Jane and had a lot of sympathy for her. I also liked the whole storm chasing, tornado angle. This book affected me so much that days after reading this book I'm still taking a walk down memory lane.

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Genre Rating: 4 stars

Lara Zielin's Website
Lara Zielin's Twitter
Link to Al-Anon for Teens (groups for family members affected by alcoholism): Al-Anon Teens

The Waiting Sky

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