(Disclaimer: The author both paid me and provided me with a free digital copy of their book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions expressed within this review are my own.)
Addiction by Robert Reddic III is the story of the Austin family as each member struggles to confront and overcome the harmful habits that come to rule their lives. The Austin family’s story is a cautionary, realistic, and harrowing tale of how ordinary people can fall prey to dangerous vices and how, through love, discipline, and compassion, those same vices can be conquered one day at a time. Will the Austin family ever triumph over the addictions and emotional turmoil poisoning their lives, or will they succumb to those habits and the despair they bring once and for all?
Addiction was a gripping and eye-opening read. Robert Reddic III provided excellent insight into each character by using a third person narrative. Reading from each character’s point of view allowed me to understand their motives and the impact their actions had on one another. This aided the success of this story by providing a clearer study of addiction, its possible psychological and emotional causes, and the full range of its effects on each character and those around them. This narrative structure also added more emotional weight to the story. While I was able to understand the whole family, each character was usually unable to fully understand one another, creating and fueling the confrontations and torment that helped drive them into their harmful behavior.
One aspect I loved about this story is that it did not vilify the Austin family. Instead, the Austin family was portrayed as a regular family struggling to push forward and stay together, highlighting the fact that they could be anyone. It encouraged me to have sympathy for the family. I loved this about the book because in doing so, it also may also help other readers to turn that compassion and understanding outward to those in their own lives who may be struggling with self-destructive tendencies—or inward if they themselves are struggling. Similarly, the way the members of the Austin family battled through their addiction and helped one another displayed a healthy way to confront these issues.
While this story kept me turning the pages, there were times that I felt disconnected from certain characters and situations. Addiction is a drama that spanned the course of more than thirty years, which was excellent for revealing the long term consequences of the Austin family’s decisions. However, it also made the plot feel as if it was dragging a little at the times when nothing much was happening. That isn’t to say those slower scenes weren’t useful in any way. Often, they set the stage for important developments. It’s just that those slower scenes didn’t hold my attention as well. It wasn’t until later in the story that I started realizing the importance of those scenes. Despite the occasional disconnection I felt and the few instances where the story seemed to drag, I recommend this book.
I appreciate what Robert Reddic III did with this book to raise awareness not only of the plight those suffering from addictions and other harmful conduct face but also of how horribly widespread and sneaky those obsessions and behavior can be. This book explored themes that may be difficult for those who are sensitive to topics of alcoholism, gambling and sex addictions, drug use, domestic and sexual abuse, and self-harm. While I didn’t find the descriptions in this book to be too graphic, due to these themes, I believe this story is more suited for older teens and adults. Fans of cautionary tales in the genre of literary fiction may especially find Addiction to be an intriguing and empowering read.