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~Jendi Reiter, author of the Sunshot Prize story collection, An Incomplete List of My Wishes."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cathartic Review of Book About an Alcoholic's Daughter

Title : Intoxic
Author : Angie Gallion
Author Website : angiegallion

Genre : General Fiction/Coming of Age
ISBN : 978-1536904055

Reviewed by Jendi Reiter originally for Amazon
5 out of 5 stars

This stunning coming-of-age novel introduces the indomitable Alison Hayes, 
a 16-year-old girl living with her alcoholic mother in a trailer park in small-town Illinois. 
Wise beyond her years, forced into adult responsibility too soon, but a lonely little girl inside, 
Alison shepherds her mother through cycles of recovery and relapse while striving to pass 
the milestones of normal adolescence: a job, a high school degree, a crush on the
perfect-seeming neighbor boy who owns a horse farm. She also copes with the aftermath 
of sexual assault.

This summary may sound depressing, but although Intoxic has many moments of painful 
truth, the tears it elicits are cathartic, and the honesty and courage of Alison as she matures 
will inspire you. Rarely have I read a story so accurate about the complexity of loving and 
hating an abusive mother (and Alison's mother, while she is more tragic than malicious, 
is so neglectful that I must put her in this category). Most fiction about parental trauma 
follows a simplistic narrative arc from anger, to understanding, to forgiveness. 
 spirals through these perspectives, and back again, multiple times throughout the book 
and its sequels. She does not settle on a single verdict on her mother and herself, 
but rather, starts learning to hold all of these contradictions together..

I was especially moved by Alison's pervasive sense of difference from her peers. 
Besides the stigma of relative poverty, she is isolated by the lack of freedom to enjoy her 
youth. She has to worry about paying the bills when other kids are playing sports and
 picking out prom dresses. Nothing can distract from the mission of becoming independent 
of her dysfunctional mother and leaving the small town that knows their shameful secrets. 
This was very true to the experience of having a mentally ill or addicted parent.

The first book ends with a crisis that produces both grief and liberation for young Alison, 
and a mystery to be resolved in the sequel. You will root for her all the way. I swear 
I shouted at my Kindle reader a couple of times, "No, Alison, don't do that!" knowing 
she would have to repeat some of her mother's mistakes, but also having faith 
that she would rise again. What gives one damaged person the drive to learn and heal, 
while another sinks beneath the waves of depression and addiction? Intoxic will not answer 
that question (perhaps no one can) but if you've been on that journey, 
you'll find a friend and companion in this determined young woman.


Jendi Reiter is the author of a poetic LGBT Novel, Two Natures, and editor at the prestigious (and helpful!) WinningWriters.com. Learn more about her at http://www.JendiReister.com.


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