Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#BookReview: Best Kept Secret - Amy Hatvany

Admitting failure is never an easy thing to do.  And for a mother to admit that she's failed, it can be devastating. In Amy Hatvany's Best Kept Secret the reader is given a front row seat into what can happen when a parent falls apart.

Cadence Sutter was content in her marriage, but a painful divorce leaves her to raise her son alone. It's not that her ex-husband isn't in the picture, but being a parent is a full-time job and can be especially overwhelming when you work from home.  Imagine being with a five year old day in and out with little to no break.  It's not so easy, is it? And so what starts as a drink here or there to take the edge off slowly evolves into a nasty drinking habit.

Hatvany presents the compelling, yet simple story of how someone gradually becomes an addict, doing so in such a way that you're much more likely to cheer for the character, Cadence, than you would someone you saw on the reality TV show Intervention.  Perhaps the reason for this is by the time we see addicts on TV, that's all we see them as.  We don't know their back story or, if we do, we're not given enough of it to be truly sympathetic.  With Cadence, it's especially easy, as a mother, to see how she can slip.  That's not to say that she doesn't deserve any of the problems that come with being an alcoholic, but understanding how she gets to that point is masterfully depicted by the author.

What did you like about this book?
Hatvany doesn't sugar coat the effects of addiction on not only the addict, but also those around the addict.  I also loved that she took the time to explore everything that factored into Cadence's addiction.  It would have been easy to blame it all on her marriage falling apart, but that was just a part of the reason.

What didn't you like about this book?
It probably would have been too Jodi Picoult-like, but I would have loved to see things from the perspective of Cadence's family and friends.  Although the reader has a pretty clear picture of how Cadence feels, hearing how others felt about her addiction would have been a great addition to the story.

What would you do to improve this book?
Other than adding the voices of the other character, not a thing.

Published June 2011

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