Already sloshed from one-too-many drinks at a faculty party, Leah Thornton cruises the supermarket aisles in search of something tasty to enhance her Starbucks-Kahlua, for example. Two confrontations later-one at the grocery store and the other with her friend Molly-Leah is sitting in the office of the local rehab center facing an admissions counselor who fails to understand the most basic things, like the fact that apple juice is not a suitable cocktail mixer. Rehab is no picnic, and being forced to experience and deal with the reality of her life isn't Leah's idea of fun. But through the battle she finds a reservoir of courage she never knew she had, and the loving arms of a God she never quite believed existed.
Facing sobriety with Southern charm isn't as easy as it seems.
Christa Allan is a true Southern woman who knows any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and that one never wears white after Labor Day. Christa weaves stories of unscripted grace with threads of hope, humor, and heart. The mother of five and grandmother of three, Christa just retired after more than twenty years as a high school English teacher. She and her husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana, where they play golf, dodge hurricanes, and enjoy retirement. Visit Christa online at ChristaAllan.com.
When a narrator opens her tale by declaring, I lost my sanity buying frozen apple juice, the reader knows shes in for a witty ride. The narrator is Leah Thornton, a 27-year-old Southerner, English teacher, and middle-stage alcoholic. Shes got her reasons: her only child died of SIDS and her sexual relationship with her husband, Carl, is so troubled their marriage is devolving into a standoff between hostility and frigidity. Leah is steered into rehab by her BFF Molly, which kicks off transformation through growing honesty, self-awareness, and large doses of wry humor. Allan draws many strong, quirky minor characters: Leahs rehab roomie, Theresa, one of a rehab units worth of addicts of all manner of substances; Leahs wry obstetrician, Dr. Nolan. A few supporting charactersCarls wealthy parentsfeel more caricatured than characterized, and the largely unsympathetic portrait of Carl makes the reader wonder why the marriage is worth saving at all. A few major developments toward the books end cry out for greater resolution. But Leah is fascinating, complicated, and above all funny. This nonformulaic look at the spiritual redemption of a life is a bright start; debut novelist Allan is one to watch. (Feb.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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