In June of this year I was contacted to write a review for Jagged Little Edges, a fictional novel about a young woman’s struggles with addiction. Typically, I wouldn’t have reviewed the novel for my Ask Recovery Rob website because I try to stay within the non-fiction realm when writing a review for my addiction advice website. However, I like fiction and the author, Lorelie Rozzano, offered a free, soft-cover book. I couldn’t resist. By the way, I receive a number of offers a year but most of them are for e-book or simply a manuscript. I decline these at this point because a) I don’t have an e-reader, b) I don’t want a pile of papers on my desk, and c) I also don’t care to use my computer in bed at night to read at all.
Jagged Little Edges is a lengthy novel, which comes in at 412 pages, the chapters are on the short side, and at times the novel reads like a weekly novella from a newspaper. What I mean by that, in case you don’t know, is that many of the chapters have little cliff hangers. For the most part I liked that technique, as I haven’t see it in years, but at times, when the next chapter didn’t quite pick up where the last one left off it didn’t feel smooth. However, it was not so distracting that I didn’t enjoy Jagged Little Edges.
As the story starts off, it follows Lyndsey, a teenager who lives in an abusive, neglectful home of an angry alcoholic father and a diminutive mother who would rather stand in the background then stand up for her daughter. Lyndsey also has a cantankerous relationship with her sister. From the start of the book, Lyndsey is already on to using ‘little pills’ to help herself feel better, and it is shortly after that you find out about her family life.
As the story continues to unfold, Rozzano does an amazing job of describing what it’s like to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. Rozzano also does a good job at allowing me to understand how she came about the title of the novel. There are many little jagged edges cutting into Lyndsey’s life that set her on the path to finding alternatives to her reality. In addition, there were many moments I felt myself transported back to when I was an active user and abuser of alcohol and drugs. So, hats off to Rozanno for having that ability to transform the written word into something that felt tangible.
Where the story comes up short, and I am not sure this is really all that much of a negative is that it reads as a young adult novel. I’ve read many young adult novels, so that’s not a bad thing, but my expectations were that it wasn’t, so I was thrown a bit. However, I will say when I finished Jagged Little Edges I may have understood what Rozzano was attempting to create in first part of her novel. She wasn’t allowing herself to dig too deeply in to the character of Lyndsey because she was attempting to convey the emotional insecurity of the character. I think she did this because when we as addicts use we tend to stop maturing. I only wish I picked up on that earlier, which might have been this reviewers fault and not the authors. Later in the novel though, I think Rozzano hits her stride and the novel comes into its own.
Jagged Little Edges is good first effort by Lorelie Rozzano and I would recommend it as a mostly light read that could be a bit darker and grittier. However, I am looking forward to the next novel in the series.