Jennifer Weiner, the best-selling author of 10 novels, goes a bit darker with her new book, a story about the price some women pay in the pursuit of having it all. In All Fall Down, Weiner tackles a growing epidemic in our society: middle- and upper-class suburban parents who abuse prescription medication to cope with their overworked and overstressed lifestyles.

Allison Weiss is a doting mother to her 5-year-old daughter, Eloise, and a devoted wife to her handsome husband. She’s also a blogger and developer for a website that has taken off overnight. As she struggles to keep everything going, Allison begins to abuse pain pills she was given for a back injury in a “Jump & Pump” workout class. Before she knows it, Allison is taking so many pills a day that she has to resort to hiding money from her husband to buy them illegally online.

In today’s world, blogs, Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets serve as online “brag books” for people to portray seemingly idyllic lives. Weiner puts into words the pressure many women feel to maintain a Facebook-worthy life—which means being a supermom as well as a supportive spouse who “leans in” at work, maintains a pre-baby body and throws a nightly meal on the table that would make Julia Child swoon. While struggling for sobriety, Allison tries to convince herself she’s not as bad as the addicts around her. She got her pills from a doctor, not on a street corner, right?

All of Weiner’s books are entertaining, emotional and funny, but her latest is a truthful snapshot of the high-functioning addict. All Fall Down asks whether it is possible to take the online reels of other people’s perfect lives and view them for what they are—just part of the story.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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