Thank you to Booksparks for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
John and Erica Mason-Grey are hard-working artists and loving parents–but when John dies, their teenage daughter Mona’s casual drug use spirals into heroin addiction. She and her mother soon begin an anguished game of hide-and-seek leading to countless arguments, arrests, thefts, rehabs, and relapse, a recurring nightmare that seems to have no end. Ultimately, it’s only when each of them finds a way to accept their new reality–Mona by taking charge of her own recovery, and Erica by focusing on her own vitality–that each experiences the unexpected joy and renewal that await those who decide to stop living in the bad dream of addiction. Unflinching about the ways the disease of addiction can torpedo a family yet leavened with dollops of humor, The Bad Dream Notebook will resonate with anyone who has lived through the agony of a loved one’s drug dependency.
Ever go into reading a book having completely forgotten what it’s about? Or thinking you know what it’s about only to realize you weren’t even close? That was me and The Bad Dream Notebook. I had it in my head that this was a dark twisted thriller, but I was way off. (“Samsonite! I was WAY off!” Anyone??)
The Bad Dream Notebook was an intense and poignant ode to a mother’s love, and the lengths someone will go to to try to save the ones they love. I was completely absorbed in Erica and Mona’s story. My heart broke for everything that Erica had to endure, while often simultaneously feeling incredibly angry at her inability to take a drastic stand with Mona. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of a phenomenal writer: words on a page that can elicit such a visceral response from me that I experience physical reactions to the characters, their conversations, and actions. Numerous times I had to put the book down and take a breather to calm my nerves, either from frustration or devastation.
And now I’m realizing that I’ve painted the tone of the book in a fairly dark light. Yes, it’s a heavy read, but it has its bright moments, and I found the ending to be very satisfying. I could probably talk forever about the roller coaster of emotions I experienced while riding along with Erica, but nobody has time for that. If you’re looking for a book to really sink your emotional teeth into, and the topic of addiction is one you’re able to read about, then I’m highly recommending Dahl’s latest. ~Amber
I do feel it’s important to for me to state that my review is not a comment on addiction. My review is a reaction to this book and nothing more.