In her book, A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L’Engle wrote the following line: “Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” It’s a sentiment that has helped me shift my perspective when I am faced with dark days. And it certainly describes Cass Macklin, the main character of Catch Us When We Fall.
This book deals with some heavy themes, primarily addiction and alcoholism along with mental health. It’s an exploration of the power of hope and gratitude, and the idea that everyone deserves a second chance.
What I Liked
I liked Cass. She’s struggling with her addiction, loss, and just trying to figure out how to be the kind of mother she wants to be. This book really is a reminder that addiction can mask who someone truly is, and if they are courageous enough, and with enough support, they can dig out from under the darkness and find themselves again.
I liked that this book didn’t stereotype those struggling with addiction to just one type of person. Alcoholism touches people in every demographic and the recovery is hard, and life-long. And it’s not just those with the addiction who are impacted. This book shows the complicated and devastating ripple effect of suffering when addiction takes over.
What I Wish Had Been Different
Despite the fact that Cass is open about her addiction, I wish there had been a little more introspection on her struggle. There is a daily struggle, and one close call, but I never really doubted that she would do the right thing.
Cass has a very specific reason to get clean, and I fully believe that the right motivation and support can see anyone through the healing process. But when you consider how long and how hard her addiction kept her down, I feel like it was almost too easy for her. Other characters struggled more with their addictions, and perhaps she was just able to learn from their experience? Her struggle was so personal, and I just wanted to feel more of her pain and struggle.
Because it tackled such an important story and for it’s themes of redemption and growth, this book earns a solid four stars.
Genre: Literary/Women’s Fiction
Release Date: 21 September 2021
On her own since the age of eighteen, Cass Macklin dated brilliant, troubled Ben McGreavy, convinced he was the smartest person she’d ever known. They partied their way through their twenties, slowly descending into a bleak world of binge-drinking and broken promises, inebriated for most of a decade. Now Ben is dead, and Cass is broke, homeless, scared…and pregnant.
Determined to have a healthy pregnancy and raise Ben’s baby, Cass has to find a way to stop drinking and build a stable life for herself and her child. But with no money, skills, or sober friends or family, the task seems insurmountable. At wit’s end, Cass turns to the only person with the means to help her: Ben’s brother Scott, third basemen for the Boston Red Sox, a man with a temper and problems of his own.
The two make a deal that neither one of them is sure they can live up to. As Cass struggles to take control of her life and to ask for help when she needs it, Scott begins to realize there’s a life for him beyond the baseball diamond.
By turns heartbreaking and humorous, with its message that change is possible, that forgiveness can be freely given, and that life, though imperfect, is worth embracing, Catch Us When We Fall is a story of human connectedness and hope.