Before I Let You Goby Kelly Rimmer Published 03 Apr 2018
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The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.
As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?
Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.
"Before I Let You Go" Reviews
I really love this novel, and here are a couple reasons why: One, Rimmer is sympathetic to both addicts and the family members dealing with addicted love ones. Two, Rimmer is a hugely talented writer.
The story is about two sisters who have been estranged for two years because one of them has battled drug addiction for years. Lexie is the together sister—a doctor who is engaged to a wonderful man. Annie is the sister who has battled drug addiction. Lexie is used to getting late-night calls of requests for help from Annie. She’s put her in rehab, giving her a place to stay, tried to be understanding. She knows addiction is a disease, but it’s frustrating and heart-breaking nonetheless. But this late-night call is different—Annie tells her that she’s pregnant, and because she has still been getting high, she can’t go to the hospital or she risks losing the baby to social services.
Lexie and her fiancé Sam rush to help her. Annie is in premature labor and will die if she doesn’t get to the hospital. What follows is a harrowing tale of Annie trying to get clean and keep custody of her baby and Lexie doing her best to advocate on her behalf.
“We hold our pregnant woman on a pedestal in this society. We say we want the best thing for the babies, so we want to tell their mommas what to eat, what they can drink, what they drugs they can use . . . and there’s good intentions there, and maybe it’s the kind of thing that’s too nuanced to draw the line across but . . . for sure there’s a vein of misogyny here, too. Women who use drugs in pregnancy have fallen off the pedestal, and don’t we all just love to punish them for that.”
“In the last few years . . . politicians talking aout compassion with people with addiction, but . . . no one ever talks about compassion for women who are pregnant and have have addictions. Maybe we’re progressing to the point that we realize that raging addiction isn’t exactly a lifestyle choice, but we’re world’s away from applying that same logic to women who happen to be pregnant. We want our mommas to be perfect, and when they stumble and fall, we punish them.”
The recovery rates for people with substance abuse issues are abysmal. Rimmer deals with the subject with compassion and objectivity. This is a must-read for sure.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Graydon House for the opportunity to review this novel.
Two sisters: one a physician the other a drug addict. One whose unborn baby's life is at risk. The consequences of being an addict and having your parental rights stripped. Then the struggle of doing what's right despite the love you have which has become a codependency. The sacrifices made.
This was a surprisingly engaging story told from both sister's POV.
It is also a foray into the depths of addiction and the struggle to come clean. The good days; the bad. The hopelessness and despair along with the strength required to get well; and the long road to healing and the necessary support systems that need to be in place to recover.
Rimmer delivers a blunt story of sobriety, of the legalities around pregnant addicted women and the stigma that attaches itself to them.
Well done. 4⭐️
Despite the title and cover, Before I Let You Go is not another psychological thriller — so many thrillers have similar titles.
No, it’s a heartfelt story about sisters, addiction, grief and abuse. Lexie and Annie lost their father as children, after which their mother moved them to a very insular and strict religious community. Lexie left first and then Annie followed her. Flash forward several years and Lexie is a doctor and Annie is pregnant and addicted to heroin. The story is told primarily from Lexie’s perspective starting towards the end of Annie’s pregnancy. There are also a few chapters from Annie’s perspective in the form of diary entries that recount her childhood moving forward.
I have given Before I Let You Go 4 stars because it had me fully emotionally engaged and I felt that the author really did justice to the real time pain, emotions and political, social and legal issues of the situation. Besides the story, the author is overtly trying to raise awareness about how the law treats pregnant women who have addiction issues, and she generally does a good job.
If I focused on literary merit, my rating would likely be lower. It got long and repetitive in places, and it did a bit too much saying rather than showing. But, in fairness, addiction involves lots of waiting, false hopes, guilt and blaming, and the rhythm of the book captures that dynamic really well. While the characters other than Lexie and Annie are a bit simplistic, the dance between Lexie and Annie is really potent. As I say, I found myself fully emotionally engaged in their story and I have a lot of respect for the author’s point of view on the topic she deals with. Her perspective on addiction is not simplistic, and for that reason alone this novel is worthy of attention.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
BEFORE I LET YOU GO by KELLY RIMMER is a touching, raw, heartbreaking and an absolutely wonderful novel that had me totally emotionally engaged and interested throughout the entire book. I was totally immersed in this deeply moving and beautifully written story here making it hard to put down.
KELLY RIMMER delivers a compassionate, thought-provoking and well-written story here that touches on so many emotional issues and the sensitive subject matter of addiction. The story was told in alternating perspectives from Lexie in present day and from Annie through letters and diary entries. The portrayal of these characters and the bond that these two sisters shared was executed so well and in a realistic and honest way that touched my heart.
To sum it all up it was an interesting, insightful, unforgettable, emotional, and an enjoyable read with a touching, heart-wrenching, and bittersweet ending. Would highly recommend!
Publishing Date: April 3, 2018
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin - Graydon House Books and Kelly Rimmer for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!
Review is written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com
COULEE is a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
Where I live I am surrounded by Coulee's! :-)
5 stars! This was a touching and emotional novel that affected me deeply. I have not stopped thinking about these characters since I finished reading.
This is a story about addiction. It involves family secrets that test the strength of the bond of sisters. This novel will challenge you to examine your thoughts and feelings toward addiction and the effects it has on the addict as well as their families. My mind was swimming with my thoughts and reactions as the story progressed. I questioned myself constantly throughout the pages of this novel, asking how I would react and I really struggled to find my answers (some answers I still have not yet found).
There are many books about addiction. For me, the piece that truly pulled me into this story was that it was about drug addiction during pregnancy. This got right to my heart and kept me fully invested from first to the last sentence.
I will warn readers that there are upsetting scenes and discussions about the effects that substance abuse during pregnancy has on a newborn baby, but my suggestion is to push through these uncomfortable details (if you feel you can) because this story, as a whole, is deeply contemplative and insightful. It was a very eye-opening journey – one I will never forget experiencing. I would like to thank Kelly Rimmer for writing this deeply affecting story and opening up my mind to understand and show compassion to people who are often judged and ridiculed.
This was a Traveling Sister Read and it sparked very deep discussion and debate. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit Norma and Brenda’s fabulous blog at:
A big thank you to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Graydon House Books and Kelly Rimmer for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Date of Publication: April 3, 2018.
"There is no off switch to the love between sisters; no way to pause it, no way to destroy it."
This story was both a heartbreaking and heartwarming tale of the love between two sisters. Annie is a drug addict facing the biggest problem of her life. She is strung out, pregnant and in premature labor. Not knowing what else to do she calls her big sister, Lexie, for help. Lexie has always been more of a mother than a sister to Annie. She has always stepped in to help her little sister throughout the trials of her life, with unwavering love and compassion.
"Addiction is, in that way, just like love—in the early moments, you don’t see the potential for it to bring you pain—it’s just something you slide into between laughs and smiles and moments of bliss. It’s something that feels like a shield, until you realize it’s actually a warhead, and it’s pointed right at you."
Annie's addiction was fueled by her childhood. The early loss of her father and the traumatic years that followed led her down a dark path where drugs offered her the only escape she felt worthy of having. Now, she is faced with jail time and the possible loss of her daughter if she doesn't complete a rehab program and remain sober.
The story is told in alternating voices between Lexie's perspective as she struggles to take care of her newborn niece and Annie's journal entries. The journal entries offer insight into how Annie ended up the way she did and they are heartbreaking in their honesty.
Aside from the obvious bond between the sisters another aspect I really enjoyed from the book was Lexie's fiance, Sam. What an amazing man! Honestly, I know he was fictional but he seriously made me swoon. He was so patient, loving and compassionate.
On the other hand, I was so infuriated by Lexie & Annie's mother. I just wanted to shake her to knock some sense into her!
"It’s funny how every single thing in your life can shatter with a single decision."
Though I knew what the ending would hold it still broke my heart. There were no surprises in the plot but the story was well told. It was thought-provoking regarding the issue of drug addicted pregnant women & mothers. It was also an honest look at addiction, family, loss, secrets, love and forgiveness. This story definitely has triggers so go into it aware but I feel that Kelly Rimmer handled these tough topics with compassion, hope and honesty.