Title: Addicted to Love
Author: Kathleen Murray
Genre: Young Adult, Social/Family Issues
Publication Date: January 2016
How did I get this book: Net Galley eArc
Debut author Kathleen Murray delivers a compelling, realistic portrait of the confusion and pain generated by an imbedded family system of dysfunction thriving during an American period of upheaval, the 1970s. Filled with rich characters and memorable references to a bygone era, the story is presented from the perspective of the central character Sally Smithfield, who lives in perceived safety of Chicago’s North Shore.
Fighting to survive the after-effects of childhood trauma, Sally Smithfield attempts to escape her closed-off world in the arms of her high school’s football star with disastrous results. The reader first meets the protagonist as a young child struggling to reconcile her Catholic grade school’s teachings of God’s love and forgiveness to the daily turbulence of her home. Sally’s unplanned pregnancy shatters her world even as it divides those she loves; eventually changing all their lives forever. The birth of the baby ignites a cascade of events which culminates in the violent death of her boyfriend. Following the conviction of her father for the murder, Sally and her mother flee across the county to build a new life. But their refuge is shattered by the mother’s collapse and the revelation of a final family secret. Sally realizes that she can never truly escape her past. This engaging story of courage and determination follows Sally’s travels from the familiar Chicago northern suburbs across the US to St. Louis, MO and later to Scottsdale, AZ. Thoughtfully written and emotionally complex, Addicted to Love is an intensely moving account concerning family secrets, love, and loss. It appeals to readers who seek a gripping story of forgiveness and redemption.
I was left with mixed emotions while I read about Sally’s life. This book hooked my attention from the beginning and kept me engaged until the end. I’m not saying that the writing was beautiful, but it was easy which gave it a fast flow. Kathleen Murray left me always wanting to read a little more to see where the story was going to go.
Sally had a difficult life growing up. She was never really excepted by her family and abused constantly by her mother. This was the most difficult part for me to get through. It was a steady stream of abuse – physical and emotion – throughout the entire story. There was very few times that anyone was nice to Sally. I understand that the timeline was the 1970s which made this kind of event natural, but it still wasn’t easy to read…I really wanted to punch her mother in the face.
Then Sally got pregnant and everything got worse…and weirder.
By the time I got to the end of the book I wasn’t really sure about what I was reading. We learn a lot of information fast – which I kind of already figured out. The end of the story went a little to fast for me and I feel that the pacing could have been reversed.
Overall, the story was okay. It was fast paced with an interesting story line, but I was always left wanting more. There were many important topics covered in this book…physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, homophobia, gender roles, etc…. It did have me thinking about all the tough issues during the 1970s and how they were dealt with. I would have rated it higher but it was an easily forgettable story. By the time I got to the end there were big chunks missing from the beginning.
This ebook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Net Galley.