Trigger warning: the following book and book review involves addiction, drug use, abuse, and rape.
Another recommended read that I knocked out via audiobook. Hoopla had a copy, a friend recommended it, and it was a relatively short audio (12 hours) so I let it skip the TBR line.
Before I Let You Go is about two sisters, Annie and Alexis. They lost their father at a young age, and when their father died, their mother fell into such a deep depressive state that Alexis (Lexi for short), as the big sister, assumed the roll of mothering and caring for her little sister. After a few years, their mother joined a very strict religious sect and remarried to a controlling man who demanded submissive daughters. When Annie revolted, she became a target for her new step-father.
As the girls grew up, and though they remained close, their lives took very different routes. Lexi went to college, became a doctor, and got engaged to a wonderful man (also a doctor). Annie finished school at age sixteen, as the sect demanded no higher education for women, and she left home to be with Lexi. She got a job, took college classes, and eventually moved into her own apartment. However, once she was on her own, she took to drinking and experimenting with drugs to handle the trauma in her past. Then, she started using heroin, chasing the high and the ability to disassociate from her life. Lexi tried to help her get sober multiple times, but Annie was an addict, and struggled, often running away from the doctors, clinics, therapists.
So, after almost two years of not speaking, Lexi is alarmed when Annie calls in the middle of the night, begging for help, and Lexi knows that something is different this time around. Soon, it’s revealed that Annie is pregnant and using, and her body isn’t handling the pregnancy. Lexi and her fiancé rush to her aid, but Lexi knows it’s going to be a long road ahead for all of them- especially if this baby survives.
I was absolutely absorbed in Rimmer’s novel. The suspense, the use of the sister’s points of view relaying their story, and the driving plot line kept me hanging on every word, desperate to know what happens to these two women. Though the topic of Annie’s past abuse and addiction are heartbreaking, I thought Rimmer did an excellent job at making her readers understand that Annie wasn’t just a junkie- she was a person with a story. My heart broke many times, and there should definitely be a trigger warning on this as it’s not a light read, but the writing is excellent and is worthy of either ears or eyes. I probably wouldn’t recommend this to a YA crowd due to the harsh reality of the content, but adults should absolutely give Before I Let You Go a read.