Fiction can shine a light on reality

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Last week I wrote that fiction can reach behind fact and put clothes on a true story.
This week a reader wrote to me of the connection she felt with one of our crime novels, and her experience echoed readers of another of our crime novels.
I thought our crime novels were simply about crime. They tell stories of bad things done and the detectives try to solve those bad things.
Hear Me by Julia North involves a murder. Who Killed Anne-Marie? is not such so straight forward. However, the interesting aspect of both novels for many readers has not been deaths. Rather, it is the authors’ depictions of alcoholism.
Who Killed Anne-Marie? tells of a marriage where one partner is an alcoholic. As police try to piece together the events that led to a death, for many readers, alcoholism is the story that grips.
From reviewers:
“If you have ever had experience with an alcoholic, this book is difficult to read. There is no holding back, the descriptions are dead on and difficult to swallow.”
"Excellent in-depth understanding of alcoholics and how their psychology affects those around them.”
Hear Me concerns Lissa who signs herself into a rehab clinic after one particularly toe-curling drunken night (the curling toes were mine – I truly felt for her). But it is in the rehab centre that things really go awry for Lissa.
This weekend, I received an email from one US reader:
I have read many books about my addiction but not many I can relate to, this one I can. We alcoholics are very varied & although we all suffer a common cause, the reasons we do are very varied. This book is very honest & deals with the many problems we create for ourselves & our loved ones. Alcoholism is very much a disease of denial & our refusal to accept we have a problem stops our progress towards recovery until we accept the truth about ourselves. I would strongly suggest that anyone who feels they might have a problem read this book & look at the similarities & not look for differences. Always remember, you are not alone & others who want to help you will not judge you as harsh as you judge yourself. In AA I have heard many horrific stories, not unlike the woman in this book degrading herself with the sleazy guy from the bar.”
Fiction is powerful, but this reader’s perspective is humbling.

Tags: alcoholism "crime fiction" "crime novel" aa alcohol fiction non-fiction 

Just Me

Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books