Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count:
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Susan P. Waits earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and completed graduate work in counseling before her career returned to writing, a vocation to which she has been devoted for two decades as an award-winning journalist and photojournalist at weekly and daily newspapers. Waits has also worked as a monthly magazine writer and editor, a creator and writer of a weekly newspaper column that focused on notable women, as well as a novelist, with three manuscripts in various stages of production. Another Round (A Story of Addiction, Forgiveness and Transformation) fuses Waits' background in psychology and writing with her experiences with family members and friends who overcame addictions.
This story, dealing with the consequences of alcoholism, is narrated from the perspectives of Claire—a sixty-eight year old woman—and Grace, her college-age granddaughter.
On Amazon, this novel is categorized as spiritual/personal growth. Whilst I can see the reasoning, I approached the story as a piece of contemporary fiction. This may be due to the fact that I didn’t read the introduction. I rarely do. I prefer to come at a work with an open mind and form my own opinions.
First, Ms. Waits writing is clean, crisp and engaging—always a good basis on which to build a strong story, and this was a strong story. Most of the book focuses on Claire. The scene where her family undertakes an intervention and commits her to an institution to dry out, and the description of her struggles as she labored to break the alcohol habit was heartrending. I learned a lot not just about the symptoms and causes of alcohol dependency, but also about the impact an addict has on those around them.
Much of the story is told in flashback as the author documents causes and effects of dependency at different times in the lives of Claire and Grace. The author’s knowledge of the subject, and possibly her journalistic background, made the novel read in parts as non-fiction. For me this added to the enjoyment.
I did get confused on occasions because the women’s stories are separate (or only occasionally connected due to family meetings), and yet they are both told in first person. This approach gave the story a somewhat disjointed feel when I was asked to switch between the women as they shared their individual demons within the same novel.
Rating: **** Four stars