Have you ever read a book that felt like it had been written just for you? How about one that seemed as if it had been written about you? Until recently, I hadn’t. After reading Walking on Broken Glass, the debut novel by Christa Allan, I can’t say that anymore.
On the surface, the story is nothing like my life. Leah Thornton has spent her life turning to alcohol, rather than facing the problems in her life. The death of her infant daughter leads her to depend more and more on beer, wine, and liquor to get through a day. Her best friend Molly and an interesting encounter with frozen apple juice force Leah to face that alcohol isn’t covering up her problems, it is intensifying them. It has become her problem.
As Leah enters rehab and travels toward a life of sobriety, she learns more about herself. She’s not perfect, with or without a drink in hand, and life is not perfect. Along the way, she realizes that she needs a relationship with God in order to be whole. Even with Him, her life still isn’t going to be perfect, but for the first time in a very long time Leah has hope.
Leah’s struggles made me face something inside of me. My daughter died before having a chance to live. I handled her death a lot like Leah and the others she met during rehab handled the tough times in their lives. I didn’t drown out the pain of my miscarriage with alcohol or cocaine or pot. My drug of choice was food. I didn’t really realize that until I read this—that food has become a bit of an addiction for me. Ten days ago we “celebrated” the fifth anniversary of Rylee’s passing. I didn’t curl up in a ball and cry all day as I had often done in the past. I didn’t even have to sit and cuddle with the Care Bear we bought as a reminder. I thought that meant I was doing a good job of moving on with my life. Who knows? Maybe I am. But the fact that every thought of her makes me want to stuff something into my mouth makes me wonder.
And it makes me not want to see my life and my marriage become as out of control as Leah’s.
Through this book, Allan gives a deep, realistic look into addictions. Her descriptions of Brookforest are vivid. I’ve never been in rehab myself, but I could see this place in my mind, could smell the stale cigarette smoke in the air, could feel the vinyl of the chairs. More than once, the situations her characters describe brought me to tears.
To me, the measure of a good book is that it makes the reader feel. Walking on Broken Glass is definitely a good book.