This dramatic and surprising coming of age story full of family and betrayal follows the unfortunate life of Sally Smithfield from birth to middle-age.
Growing up outside of Chicago in an abusive household, Sally faces an unbelievable number of challenges both inside and outside of her home. None of Sally’s three older siblings view her as anything other than a nuisance, and with no one in her family to turn to when she needs help, Sally is left to face the world alone. ADDICTED TO LOVE chronicles the difficult choices Sally makes growing up, and the way her friends and family react when things don’t go the way anyone expects.
At its core, ADDICTED TO LOVE is a story about mothers and daughters. Sally’s relationship with her mother defines her character, nearly every choice she makes from childhood onward ties back to what she thinks her mother would want her to do. As a character, Sally is at times hard to root for due to her lack of ability to stand up for herself. Contrastingly, Sally’s mother, Maureen, is the novel’s most interesting character. The way she interacts with all of her children is fascinating. She appears to despise Sally, but by the end of the novel the reader cannot ignore the lengths (however misguided) Maureen goes to in order to protect her youngest daughter. The novel focuses on the cycle this creates, posing the question of how much autonomy a daughter truly has and if their fate is predetermined by their mother’s choices on their behalf.
The biggest issue with ADDICTED TO LOVE is that the twists feel unearned. All of the secrets that Sally reveals come out of nowhere. Until Sally lets a bomb drop, there is no real sense that she’s hiding anything. If the surprises had been built into the story better, the plot would have been very interesting. As it stands now though, the lack of build makes the story confusing and the twists annoying rather than exciting.
ADDICTED TO LOVE is an intriguing premise that raises the question of what impact a mother’s choices have on the fate of their daughters.