Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Review ~ "Crystal Lies"

Crystal Lies by Melody Carlson is a real, compeling and heart-rending look at crystal meth addiction and co-dependency. Through her main characters, Jacob: a 19 year old who has become addicted, and Glennis: his mother who has a hard time understanding the line between trying to help through loving and enabling her son to continue in his addiction, we get a glimpse of the struggles of a Christian mom trying to reconcile the fact her son is on drugs and her family is falling apart.

Jacob's father is a very strict sort of man who is a city lawyer who is very much concerned about how things "look" and what it will do to his image. His sister is the perfect sibling, bring pride and joy to her father. Glennis, his mom, is the "perfect" wife who defers to her husband in absolutely everything in order to stand by him to further his career. Glennis thinks she has everything until everything starts to fall apart right before her eyes. With her son kicked out of the house and her husband not wanting to do anything to restore their son, Glennis leaves in an effort to try to help Jacob.

Through heart rending story telling, Ms. Carlson takes us on real and raw look at the extremes of living with someone with addiction. Writing from first-hand, personal experience, she is able to skillfully get across the emotional roller coaster of a mother desperate to save her child and how far she would go. And finally coming to the realization that it is not she who can save Jacob.

Ms Carlson does not wrap up the story in a neat little package, but is very real throughout in her descriptions of the "junk" that comes with meth addiction and in her ending of the story. But there is hope in her story. Different addiction specialists have given this book a good review.

I took a long time with this book because it was so emotional and made me think through my own feelings. My heart broke for Glennis and what she was going through and I really kept asking myself constantly "What would I do? How would I react to that situation?" There is a 10 question study page at the end that really asks some thought provoking and good discussion questions. From Melody Carlson's expert story telling I learned alot about addiction behavior and co-dependant behavior.

(linking to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. Come read reviews to help you choose books or link one of your own reviews from this last week.)

19 comments:

Katrina said...

Thanks for the review, Susanne. I've read one book by Carlson (Finding Alice) that I found to be very real, very emotional. I liked it, but it seemed to take a lot out of me. I've looked at Crystal Lies, but hadn't read it yet, so I was glad to read your thoughts.

janiswrites said...

I really like this author, too. I haven't read this book, though, so I will have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

Beck said...

That sounds really interesting and powerful. I'll look it up!

Carol said...

That sounds really intense. Your review alone raises all sorts of "What would I do" questions for me.

Shalee said...

Okay, I'm seriously praying that I never have to answer the "What would I do" question for drugs. And I don't think I'm ready for another serious book after The Hiding Place is finished. I think I'm going to need some fluff - like the Stephanie Plum series all over again.

Air Force Family said...

What a great review! I'm running over to paperbackswap to see if it's available. Thank you, Susanne. I like serious, emotional books.

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

That sounds so sad. what a tough thing for the mother.

Here in Oklahoma we have one of the highest rates of meth users in the US, I am not proud of it I am just saying I am sure many families in my state could use to read this book.

Barb said...

You did an outstanding job with this review, Susanne. You made me want to rush right out and get this book. The review itself is so heartbreaking, the book must be pretty intense but so is the reality of drug addiction. I WILL read this book.

Linda said...

Could there be anything worse for a mom to endure, unless it is having your child kidnapped? I don't even know if I could read this because it would be so intense. I appreciate the review, though. I see the author's name a lot.

Susie said...

Sounds like a great read. I will try to see if I can get a copy. I had a good friend whose mother suffered from this terrible addiction. It is such a destructive drug.

Jane said...

Thanks for the review Susanne, this sounds like a worthwhile read, I am going to add it to my (never-ending) list!

Also of course you can link to my post, I would be honored!

And another "also" - congratulations on your Hidden Treasure Finalist Award - well deserved!

Melanie said...

It is nice to hear about a Christian perspective on coping with addiction. We often hear of so many other approaches. Maybe this book will help other moms out there who are trying to help their child.

Kim said...

I have Finding Alice on my shelf, but haven't read it yet. After reading your excellent review, I will have to bump my Carlson book closer to the top. I was looking at your "want to read" list and noticed you had The Bishop's Daughter on there. I read it recently and adored the story. I also read The Excellent Wife last year and it will definitely be a re-read. Your blog is beautiful. I came by to visit through another sidebar today.

Sarah said...

Sounds a great book! I've never read any of this author's work before.

PastorMac's Ann said...

That must have been a tough one to get through. I'm not sure I would have finished!

Laurel Wreath said...

I won this book in some contest, so I read it. It was a hard book to read, but I LOVED LOVED the two women's friendship and how the one friend was there for the mother.

What would I have done? I have no idea. It was a powerful book. As a mother of three boys, it also scared me deep down.

Rochelle said...

I always appreciate when Christians aren't afraid to tackle the hard stuff... I want to check this one out.

Anonymous said...

From a mother who knows ! This Book went to the core of my heart . Everyone needs to read this book not just because you have a addict son or daughter but to be able to understand what others are going thur and to be able to help them .
This book is a must read for all !
Thank you for writing this book !
Tammy

Susanne said...

Tammy: thank you for posting a comment! I agree with you totally. Everyone should read this book! It was not I who wrote it but Melody Carlson and she also writes from experience having gone through this first hand.