Wednesday, May 28, 2014

REVIEW - LEAVING THE BEACH: A Novel of Obsession and Music by Mary Rowen:

TITLE: Leaving the Beach: A Novel of Obsession and Music
AUTHOR: Mary Rowen
GENRE: Women's Fiction/Drama
RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2014
FORMAT: eBook and Paperback
PAGES: Approx. 270

COPY PROVIDED BY: Jennifer Gilbert at Booktrop Publishing
RATING: 4.5 Stars!

Written with heart and keen observation about the day-to-day struggles of a “functioning bulimic,” Leaving the Beach explores the power of fantasy, then shoves it up against harsh reality until something has to give in this women’s novel set on the sandy beaches of Winthrop, Massachusetts.

Meet Erin Reardon, a lonely bulimic woman who believes she’s fated to save grunge music superstar Lenny Weir. Forget the fact that Lenny reportedly killed himself several years earlier; Erin’s not the only fan to believe his death was a hoax, a last-ditch effort by the drug-addled musician to reclaim his privacy. And Erin has felt a special bond with Lenny for years. So when she gets picked up hitchhiking by a mysterious man who resembles Lenny physically, she makes some quick assumptions. After all, he has extensive knowledge of the music industry, there’s a guitar in his trunk, and he has issues with drugs. She’s finally about to fulfill her destiny…

REVIEWERS NOTE: I was gifted a copy from Booktrope Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 Inspiring, Healing Stars!
A Poignant, Painful Journey to Self-Discovery and Rebirth! 

The Review: 
This was a unique and powerful read for me. Along with being intense and emotional at times it was also genuine and fun! Sometimes good, sometimes heartbreaking, from the beginning, this book is an extraordinary journey as our heroine takes off on an adventure of self-discovery and healing but it also gives us an up close look at her life through pain and passion.

Erin has many sides. Along with being a little out of touch with reality, she’s introverted and compulsive but she can also be sweet and fun. She’s not had the easiest life. She’s endured loss and pain since childhood and her way of coping is severe. Everything from her fathers death to her dead end job has left her reeling and her method of release is binging then tossing as bulimia plays center stage to her life. She never set out to do something so destructive and battling this serious disease has caused more problems than it’s helped but she’s in so much pain, its her way of purging it all. She loses herself in more than one way.

We get a very real look at bulimia from the sufferers point of view and the effects it has on her life. It affects Erin physically which only increases her insecurities. Her self-esteem as well as self-worth was in shreds. The graphic images the author paints as she struggles with her disease was stark and grueling to read through and also shed a new light on a subject I didn’t know much about.

When Erin’s world gets turned upside down yet again with the death of Lenny, who she’s infatuated with, she strikes out on a mission of truth and a desire to help someone else battle their addiction, which also reflects a mirror on her own issues. I loved the message that if you believe and trust and work towards something better, you can win the battle, allowing others to help and support you, you can overcome. So there’s hope in the end.

Along with the insightful view at her eating disorder, we also get a beautiful and woeful story about addiction and obsession as Erin’s passion for music sends us looking for a supposedly dead musician. I loved all the music references in this book. It was both educational and entertaining. 

This read takes us to two pivotal time periods in the heroines life. In her early childhood years and in the early nineties where grunge rock was the music of choice. Exploring these eras, the author takes us back in time to see a younger Erin as she deals with the horrible hand fate has dealt her and the present as she tries to cope with even more loss and devastation. And sadly, her rock bottom, gets deeper before it’s all done. 

Erin was completely relatable. She might have lived in her own fantasy world but her pain was real and though, hopefully not to the extremes she endured, we’ve all at some point experience that deep pain we wished we could find a way to pass quickly through. She deals with real issues and her plight really drew me to her.

The Wrap Up: 
With enchanting pros and a heartfelt plot, the author does an incredible job pulling you into the story and when I reached the end, I felt like no time had passed at all. I felt changed and educated. I also really enjoyed all the pop culture references. This was a debut novel for Mary Rowen and she did a fantastic job mixing a light and fun adventure with dark and powerful issues. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Rock on!

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  1. Wow, sounds like a really unique and intense book! I think I'll add it to my TBR list-love the cover!!

    1. You wont regret it Finley! It was a very profound read. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Thank you for the awesome review, Hazel! I'm so glad to hear you liked the book.

    1. I loved it. Thank you for the opportunity to go on this journey with you. Happy Success!