Wendy Blackburn, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (330p) ISBN 978-0-312-35158-8

For her debut novel, Blackburn, a chemical dependency counselor in Seattle, presents a kaleidoscopic look at AA denizens, clean and not, from the perspective of a Seattle chemical dependency counselor who is a recovering addict. Delia, 10 years clean and sober, leaves her husband, Simon, and toddler, Clara, to return to her childhood home in West Hollywood at the behest of Timothy, with whom she went through AA and who is dying of AIDS. What unfolds is Delia's retrospective account of her addiction and her arduous and still-constant struggle to find a way to live clean. The book is populated with a cast of characters flawed in almost every conceivable way, including Delia's disturbed parents; her late sponsor, Joan; and others from AA days, some of whom are still a mess. Delia's remembrances of meetings and other charged parts of her past make up the bulk of the book, and are raw and painful. With Delia's recovery and Timothy's deaths foregone conclusions, there's not much to the plot, and Delia's first person is as generic as it is colloquial, but her courage and her past ravagement are palpable. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Paperback - 327 pages - 978-0-312-35159-5
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-0169-7
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