Verdict: Nell Gavin’s Hang On takes on takes you on tour, literally. Her main character Holly is no heroine, but you will appreciate her true to life dilemmas.
It’s 1973 and Holly Salvino is just trying to Hang On. But when Holly meets Trevor, a roadie for a famous English rock band, her life starts to seem more like a “soap opera than real life.” Though this soap opera is more like an episode of Dr. Drew than General Hospital.
While Holly finds escape in the rigmarole of backstage rock n’ roll life, there is no escape from her past (so she finds out the hard way). In love, but not blind, Holly tries to search for the answers that surround her mentally ill mother’s suicide. She is afraid, however, that she too has the same illness that will eventually lead her down a familiar path as her mother.
Nell Gavin’s Hang On is not some book about blind-sided love, but about survival. Gavin uses Holly to discuss an issue that affects more women than men: depression. Holly serves as a reminder that this often-silent disease affects more women than once realized; and her mother, for that matter, is reminder of the dangers of this disease going untreated.
Gavin portrays Holly as an escape artist and Trevor is the escape. Holly believes her life on the road is better than a low-paying job, killing cockroaches, and sleeping away hunger. However, Holly is crumbling inside from fear that she too may suffer from depression. The reality is that her new, temporary life just opens her up to her “own social limitations.”
Holly’s secret depression becomes increasingly difficult to hide and comes out in rage and anxiety. What is going in her head? Her search becomes more about putting together her past and trying to save herself from the same ending as her mother.
Gavin writes about acceptance and Holly’s character looks for just that. While Trevor is an important character, he acts as movement around Holly’s life and serves as a type of co-dependent relationship throughout the book. Readers will become enchanted with Holly’s many dimensions, and will find comfort in the fact that Gavin suggests that despite illness, love is possible. In the end Holly doesn’t need to know whether Trevor really loved her or not, she just needs to accept herself.
Reviewed by Loren Kleinman for IndieReader
Purchase Hang On from Amazon