Length: 44,000 words approx.
At twenty-eight, Owen Fredrikson is homeless, unemployed, and grappling with drug addiction. Before he let drugs take over his life, he had a pretty sweet job working the front desk of a fancy hotel, his boss was his best friend, and he had a loving fiancé.
After three years together, thirty-three-year-old middle school math teacher Dex Atterbury could no longer ignore Owen’s demons. Dex made the tough decision to part ways, leaving Owen destitute and Dex heartbroken.
When tragedy befalls Owen and Dex is called to his side, Owen has some tough decisions to make. Both men must determine how far they are willing to go to rebuild the life they once shared.
Can Owen conquer his addiction while facing his demons? And can Dex open his heart and trust Owen again?
Depictions of drug addiction, drug use and abuse, and drug withdrawal
Scenes of violence
I am sorry to say that because this story was rather piecemeal in giving the needed background on both Owen and Dex, how they fell in love and how Owen managed to fall so far down the rabbit hole, it is rather hard to give a synopsis that doesn’t ruin the story for the next reader. Suffice it to say they met on a formal dating roulette game at a hotel that Owen worked at, fell hard for each other and eventually were to be married but by then Owen was so far into his need for pain meds that he essentially bankrupted their marriage fund and Dex finally had to tell him to leave. Before long Owen was jobless, homeless, and destitute. Dex was dealing with a broken heart and trying not to imagine what may have happened to the man he still loved.
In more ways than one I wanted Addiction by Roberta Blablanski to be a full length novel rather than a sparse novella. There was so much to build on with both Owen and Dex, from the evolution of their relationship to the backstory on just how Owen got addicted to pain meds. This author had begun writing riveting characters who shared the pain of living with an addiction that robbed them of each other, stole Owen’s sense of self-worth, and destroyed Dex’s one true love. With the barest of intermingling plot threads, this story told how a shattered relationship can start anew if the person who destroyed it finally cares enough to put their love for self and others above their love for drugs.
There was so much that could have been gone well with this book had the author taken the time to weave the story in a straightforward way rather than jumping from one memory to another and leaving the reader trying to piecemeal together the evolution of Dex and Owen’s life together. Flashbacks can work really well if you have enough of a story surrounding them so that they become a seamless part of the overall story arc. In this case, we learned about Owen through his memories--but never fully and never in great detail. After a while getting only snippets of the past doesn’t make for a great foundation to understand who the person is in the present day. It was so frustrating because those flashbacks gave us a shadowy image of two men who were very much in love and who tried to hang on despite Owen’s growing need to seek oblivion through pain meds. I wanted to know more about those guys but alas the story remained choppy and half-formed.
Addiction has so much potential. I wish the author had taken the time to really develop this story and fully flesh out her characters. If that had happened this review would have been so very different.
Roberta developed a love of books at an early age, spending her summers at the library. Years later, after watching the American version of the television show Queer as Folk, she began searching for books featuring queer characters finding love. Most recently, she began writing queer love stories of her own, drawing from her own personal experiences and creating characters and story lines as vibrant as her ever-changing hair color.
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