Book Review: Start Without Me

Start Without Me
by: Joshua Max Feldman

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow paperbacks for my free review copy.  All opinions expressed below are my own.

Introducing Adam and Marissa.  The two meet getting coffee early on Thanksgiving morning.  Adam is a recovering alcoholic who is avoiding his family for the holidays.  Marissa is just coming off of an overnight-er as a flight attendant and is dreading seeing her in-laws for the holidays.  This unlikely pair unite for the day to share a ride, but end up supporting each other more than either would expect.

Start Without Me is not your typical holiday read.  First, it takes place at Thanksgiving - a concept I found pretty unique.  This book is honest, gritty, and a bit uncomfortable.  Do not come here for your happy ending (well...maybe...) and do not expect your stereotypical Christmas miracles and uplifting family dynamics.  This book is REAL, folks.

I actually found both Marissa and Adam to be pretty likable characters who happen to do some pretty unlikable things.  They weren't perfectly written and sweet characters with no backstory - these were characters who were developed, had problems, and didn't know how to solve them. 

Overall, you need to be okay that (like life) not everything will be quickly solved in this one.  Alcoholism is a life-long battle and Adam illustrates this very well.  If you have ever had to try to spend the holidays with a recovering alcoholic, then his character will ring very true to you (as he did for me). 

I am currently loving more escapist reads - and this one was a bit too real for me.  While I didn't love this book, I admire how it was written and liked how the very serious subject matter was broached.  I definitely recommend reading it around Thanksgiving/Christmas and think it would be a great fit for those feeling a bit bah-humbug or wanting a bit more of a real depiction of the family unit.


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