TITLE: Autumn Recovery
AUTHOR: Stephanie Binding
PAGES/LOCATIONS: 139 pages/2768 locations
GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING: No Ratings
Evelyn Padenski was a seventeen-year-old girl who lived in a small town. She used drugs and alcohol to numb herself from the hard feelings she had felt for years, unaware that it was only making it worse.
Did she make it through her last year of high school unscathed? Did she finally silence her demons? Did she find love in a hopeless place?
Follow Evelyn’s trials and tribulations to see if she escaped from the broken town of Wheatmeadow, or if she fell further into her addictions and let the depression take her alive.
My initial reaction to the story of Binding’s Autumn Recovery was an underlying sense of pride, I felt proud of Evelyn’s ability to overcome her vices and find a place for herself in the world. The novel read very much like a memoir. I felt as if I was recalling memories of Evelyn’s life and past with her, rather than experiencing the events with her in the present. Whether this was intended or not by the author, I felt as if the text benefited from it overall because it lent a certain sense of realism to Evelyn’s plight.
I do want to critique the use of flashback over the course of the novel. I find flashbacks are a tool which require a delicate touch in their use and they have to make sense in the overall flow of a novel. While I can understand what Binding was trying to accomplish with her use of flashbacks, further exhibition of Evelyn’s drug habits/family instability/etc., it at times felt as if the flashbacks were not set up in a way which made sense stylistically. What I mean by this is that it felt as if I was being jerked from the present to a memory of the past that didn’t seem to be necessary or warranted by what had just previously occurred or what followed. At times, it felt as if I was reading an entirely separate story of Evelyn only to return to the present story shortly after. I believe if the flashbacks had been set up better in terms of how they related to the events of the previous chapter or the following chapter, then they would have functioned much better overall in exhibiting the depth of Evelyn’s overall addiction.
As I have stated previously in many of my reviews, I place a great deal of importance upon a certain sense of realism. While I was reading Binding’s novel, I came across a quote which really accomplished that sense of realism for me.
“When you live in a small town, you can walk to wherever you want to go. You can open a window or a door, and step out into the world. Who was going to stop you?” ~ Evelyn
I actually stopped reading for a second and reread the quote because it really stuck out to me. It was a quote which resonated with me from my teenage years living in a small town – it is a quote which perfectly embodied the combination of small town life and the teenage experience. Just a simple thought, a seemingly simple couple of sentences and I found myself better able to see and understand the world from Evelyn’s point of view. Binding was able to bring Evelyn to life, to make her real to me and that is something I greatly appreciate in all books.
TL;DR REVIEW: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Firstly, I want to thank Miss Stephanie Binding for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I would also like to commend her for what she was able to accomplish with her debut novel. First novel jitters aside, Binding was able to effectively share with us a story which showed a realistic look at what it means to struggle with addiction – shattering the seeming romance you experience when under its spell. I greatly look forward to my reading of her second novel Desolate.