Before I Let You Go

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

Wow! What an amazing story! Thank you Kelly Rimmer for challenging the view of most people on addiction. This story really opened my eyes and gave me a different perspective. 
This was not a pretty story, it was dark and stormy, with little rays of sunshine thrown in
While the subject matter was confronting & made me uncomfortable, I just couldn't put this book down.
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This book kept me engaged from the first page. The story is a sad one, but such an important topic. Why is it that mothers are held to a higher standard? This book puts a human face to the issue. A story that has to be told and discussed. An amazing book, definitely one of my favourites and I've recommended it to so many of my friends already
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Although at times I wanted to shake both Anie and Lexie, I related to both of them.  I was totally drawn into their story of love and addiction, more love and more addiction, the vicious circle which grabs some of us into its vortex.

Kelly Rimmer is an outstanding author and I've followed her since the beginning.  She knows how to write about the hard topics, without taking sides. I may not have agreed with her outcomes/endings, but they are always backed with good author decision making. Important;y, Kelly knows how to make you care about not only the characters but their lives.
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I enjoyed this book and would give it 3/5 stars. The characters were interesting and so was the mystery but the ending fell a little flat for me. I will definitely read other books by this author though.
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Who lets go of whom? This is a very loaded question when it comes to this book. Before I let you go is the story of older sister who, eventually, lets go of her younger sister. But she never lets go of herself...

The story of addiction is always a nightmare. The person cursed with any type of addiction destroys not only himself/herself but everyone around them. In this book, the younger sister destroyed older's sister youth, sanity and self-belief. She trained her to 'solve problems'. She taught her older sister to turn on 'tunnel vision' at the first request and soldier on. 
However, the time has come to pay the dues. Younger sister... Well, there will be a lot of pain, anguish, sorrow, grief, horror, more pain and tears before there will be any light.

The problems of mothers and daughter, husbands and wives, sisters, work and home - they are all touched on here. 

This book made me sad and made me angry. Being mum myself, I got really mad at girls' mum, like really mad. There are right priorities and wrong priorities in life. We can't be our parents' parent. No way. We, as mothers, can never take anything before our children. Never.

The older sister soldiers on. She solves the problems and lives on. But she still does not let herself go..

A very touching, nerve-drilling, lip-biting read. A must for mothers, daughters, sisters and everyone else.
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As I read this book it made me well up with tears because it was like reading about me and my little sister, the circumstances are slightly different but the addiction, her mother not being there for her so she comes to me for help, even her writing in a journal. Everything was so eerily familiar, I kept nodding and agreeing and thinking 'Yep, that is us'. At first I found it hard to read because reliving those moments really is hell but I pushed through wanting to see how Annie's life turned out, and if Lexie would let Sam in so she no longer had to cope alone or if she pushes him away completely, something I also struggle with. Like Lexie, I am lucky to have a husband who is patient and forgiving and is always there when I do ask for help. I recommend this book for everyone that is struggling through addiction, whether it's as the person with the addiction or the support person because it gives you an insight to both sides that you may not have realised before. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R5794DYR52UO/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B072FTCPPW
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It's been just over a week since I finished reading this and I'm still thinking about it. This was such an emotional book and I was hooked from the first page. I honestly didn't really know what to expect from this but it was amazing. Anyone who reads my blog will know that I don't tend to read contemporary, and quite honestly this isn't a book I would usually pick up but I'm so glad I did.

The story is about addiction and I think that is what made me what to read this due to my medical background. This particular novel was about Annie who is suffering from drug addiction during pregnancy and it was very touching. They are various scenes during this book that may upset some readers due to its realness, but I'm afraid these discussions do happen and I've experienced them myself. In my line of work, I often come across patients who have experienced addiction and it is a disease and many health professionals can be very prejudice when it comes to a patient who does have a history of drug abuse. This novel was a pretty accurate representation in some ways as to what families, medical professionals and the patient's themselves go through during addition and recovery. While many families wouldn't be as helpful as Lexie was for Annie, it does happen. 

The writing itself was so detailed and I'm so pleased with the author who has clearly researched or even experienced someone in this situation, as the accuracy was pretty good. The story was absorbing and it was such an honest and emotional novel. I will be honest, I cried at a few sections of the novel because it showed the true reality of what happens for patients and families during addiction.  

I found I related incredibly well to Lexie, in that she always wants to help and doesn't know when to stop helping. Lexie and Annie had a beautiful sibling relationship after coming from a terrible past. Both sisters took very different paths throughout their life and both ended up in very different places, but still together. 

I think I could talk about my love for this novel all day, but Kelly Rimmer has truly done an amazing job. This novel was so interesting and insightful and I don't know if I will ever read another book about pregnancy and addiction that is as real as this. 

If addiction in pregnancy is something that interests you, I would definitely recommend this book however there are many triggers throughout this novel relating to mental health and drug abuse so please keep that in mind.
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I did not connect with the characters at all so sorry. the feel sorry idea was so old.
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This book was a heartbreaking depiction of what addiction does to families.  In particularly addiction during pregnancy.  The subject matter is difficult but necessary.  I received this books as an Arc from Netgalley a few months ago, but something stopped me from diving into it.  I knew from the description that I had to be in the right frame of mind to pick it up.  As a person in recovery, I knew that there would be a lot of feelings attached and needed to steel myself,  

This book was a love story, not romantic, but of sisterhood.  Lexie and Annie had gone to hell and back in their lives with Annie eventually turning to drugs as an escape.  The undercurrent of their bond and love for each other was beneath every word.  

Many people who turn to drugs have faced significant trauma in their lives and Annie was no exception.  The story is told in alternating voices, with Lexie (a doctor and the older sibling) being the main voice narrating the story and Annie's voice in journal entries.  

This book was devastating.  I was hoping that things would end well. I found myself encouraging both sisters and hoping they would find their way.  It was a raw and honest account of addiction and the chaos that ensues.  I could not put this book down once I started reading it--not the usual for me lately.  I loved it, I loved watching Lexie come in to her own in her relationships with Sam (her fiancé), Daisy (her niece), her mother and finally Annie.  Seriously, this is not a book to miss.
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This is the story of two sisters who have had a turbulent relationship over the years despite their love for each other.  Lexie is the sister with a history of drug addiction, who has not grown up and known to lie usually for monetary or medicinal gain.  Annie is her physician sister who struggles to fix things almost at the expense of the relationship with her partner Sam.   Both sisters spent part of their childhood in a strict religious sect and one has spent a lifetime hiding a terrible secret.
When Lexie calls in the middle of the night Annie is stunned to learn, she is pregnant.  She will make promises she cannot keep and risk everything in an attempt to help Lexie keep her unborn child.
In the beginning, I disliked Annie as I found her to be a very controlling person.  That was until I realized we shared some similarities (true confession) and felt I understood her.
It was a surprise to discover Alabama and other US states have made substance abuse in pregnancy a criminal offence.  We don’t have the same thing in Australia.
My favourite quote from the book was secrets can poison a person, and talk because vulnerability can make a person strong.
At the end of this book, I just want to say WOW!  What an absolutely heart wrenching and heart warming novel with a bittersweet ending.  Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the read but it also served to remind me how important families are when it comes to a crisis.  It also made me consider communication can sometimes be harder when we know the other person well and how easy it can be to make the wrong assumptions.
Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for a free digital copy of this book in return for a honest review.
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Before I Let You Go is tries to depict the struggles of a drug addict on those around them. Although I can't say that this is a perfect depiction, it was an interesting read, albeit at times somewhat predictable.
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Thank you netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. While thought provoking this book was not for me. The story of two sisters Lexie & Annie struggling to cope with Annie’s addiction. I struggled to engage with Lexie’s character and as most of the book was from her POV this was a major hurdle for me. Her partner Sam seemed to good to be true. I found it difficult to believe in the situation he found himself in he didn’t have his moment of meltdown. Annie’s side of the story was far more compelling but not developed enough to offset the disengage I felt while reading the rest.
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Book Blurb…

Your sister needs you. But her child needs you more... A moving page-turner with a heart-pounding dilemma: Your sister or her baby. Who do you choose? Fans of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes will love Australia's Kelly Rimmer.
As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leather-bound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears... 
As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict - a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie's newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

My thoughts…
Wow, another great Australian Author.  This is the first Kelly Rimmer book for me. It is so well crafted and researched. Really interesting and lots of 'unexpected' in this novel - in a good way. 
The plot is mainly told from Lexie's point of view, however we see the life lived by Annie through a journal.
A fascinating read that informed me as much as it did entertain me. I do love an author who can do both. 
A must read for 2018.
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This is a story of two sisters, who are polar opposites, bound by love and co-dependency. Lexie, the older sister, has everything to lose: her medical career, her house and her fiancé Sam. Annie is a heroin addict and has lost everything: her self respect, her job, her house. When Annie turns up, Lexie’s world turns to chaos. Last time Annie turned up needing Lexie’s help, Annie’s behaviour almost cost Lexie her job. But Lexie is all Annie has. She can’t turn her sister away.

After two years of silence, Annie rings Lexie at 2am in urgent needs of help. Annie is heavily pregnant, still using heroin and showing signs of pre-eclampsia. In Alabama substance abuse in pregnancy is a criminal offense. Annie knows she is really sick but is too afraid to go to hospital because she will fail the drug test and be prosecuted for using drugs whilst pregnant. This puts Lexie and Sam, who are both doctors, into a difficult position as they try to help her get appropriate treatment and navigate the legal consequences of this. There is also conflict between Sam and Lexie, as Lexie tries to protect Sam from the chaos, while he tries to support her and be included in decisions that will significantly impact their future.

The chapters alternate between Lexie’s narrative of current events and Annie’s journal entries to her counsellor in detox. This is a clever technique that adds background to current events and reveals how intricately the sisters lives are woven together. Annie’s journal entries personify her. As I read them I began to share Lexie’s perception of Annie, as a person who is an addict, and also Lexie’s hope that she may overcome the addiction. The awful history behind Annie’s addiction and self-destructive behaviour becomes evident through the journal entries. The reader alone understands the full story and thus holds the keys to understanding Annie, which everyone else is grasping for. This caused me to feel heavily invested in Annie’s recovery.

Before I Let You Go is a moving story about the social implications of prosecuting pregnant women who are battling a substance abuse. It explores the implications for the woman herself, her baby who will spend weeks withdrawing from the substances it was exposed to in utero, and her family. Rimmer skilfully depicts the conflicting feelings of love, anger and revulsion that Lexie experiences towards her sister and the implications of her addiction for the baby. As a doctor Lexie has insight into the way other health care professionals and law enforcement professionals view Annie, the addict, and shares their disgust, but she also sees Annie, her sister, whom she is devoted to. Lexie also reflects on the depersonalisation of Annie that occurs when the legal focus is only on the welfare of the baby and the impact of this on Annie’s rights. 

The bittersweet ending is realistic and effectively brings closure for the reader who is drawn into Lexie’s agonising journey to help her beloved sister, Annie, fight addiction and have the opportunity to raise her own child. Before I Let You Go is an emotive and memorable story.
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Kelly Rimmer packs a powerful punch in her novel 'Before I Let You Go', expertly covering themes of dysfunctional families, drug addiction, family relations, sects and she clearly has an in depth knowledge of hospital and legal procedures.

Sisters Lexie and Annie's world fell apart after the unexpected death of their father at a young age. Their mother found it difficult to cope and fell into depression leaving her open and vulnerable to a religious sect. The sisters lives veered in opposite directions - with Lexie a successful doctor and happily engaged to a loving surgeon. A few years had passed since Lexie had heard from Annie and when the phone call came at 2am, Lexie's life was about to be turned upside down. Drug addicted Annie is sick and pregnant, and once again Lexie is expecting to bail her out.

The story is told from Lexie's point of view while Annie's story is told through her journal entries whilst in rehab. As the story unfolds we learn about the influences in Annie's life which lead her to make poor choices and decisions. Through Rimmer's wonderful and insightful writing we are able to empathise with Annie and understand the true nature and consequences of drug addiction, not only for the addict but on family, friends, the community and innocent babies. This is one book that stays with you long after you finish reading.
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‘It’s remarkable how one person’s presence can disrupt every little thing that is ordinarily secure.’

When Lexie and Annie were young, living with their parents, life was good.  But after their father died, their mother’s inability to cope meant that Lexie grew up quickly. She took care of Annie, looked after laundry and meals, got them both to school.  Lexie and Annie were close.

But twelve months later, their mother remarried.  His name was Robert.  Life changed again, as Robert tried to control Lexie and Annie as well as their mother.  Lexie had a dream, and when she turned sixteen she left home to pursue it.  Annie had to stay behind.

Now adults, Lexie and Annie have taken very different paths.  Lexie is a physician, engaged to a surgeon.  Annie is an addict who will lie and steal to support her habit.  Annie had caused Lexie grief in the past, but Lexie feels responsible for her younger sister.  Even though they’ve not had contact for some time, Lexie has kept the same ‘phone number so that Annie can call her.

Early one morning, Lexie’s ‘phone rings.  It’s Annie.  She’s unwell, she’s high, and she’s pregnant.  Annie wants Lexie’s help because: ‘If she fails a narcotics test, it’s quite likely that she’ll be charged with chemically endangering a child—and that’s a felony in Alabama.’

As Annie tries to beat her addiction for the sake of her baby, Lexie needs to learn to ask for help as well.  Can Annie beat her addiction?  Will the baby survive?  Lexie finds it hard to share the responsibility she feels for Annie with her fiancé, Sam.  

The story alternates between Annie and Lexie.  Annie’s diary provides much of her story, while Lexie is in the present focussing on supporting Annie and trying to get the best possible outcome for the baby.  It’s complex.

Once I started this novel, I found it difficult to put down.  Ms Rimmer’s depiction of Annie’s addiction held my attention, while Lexie’s struggle to try to manage everything earned my sympathy.  This is a finely developed story, mostly in shades of grey, as two women struggle to do what they believe is best.   Both women need to revisit the past, and this is rarely easy.  Sometimes the best solutions are not obvious.  Sometimes there are no best solutions.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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The day Lexie and Annie's father died was the catalyst to change - nothing was the same in the aftermath. Their mother was unable to cope, and Lexie, being the older of the two sisters, took over. She prepared meals, got them both ready for school, did the laundry - she grew up quickly.

Twelve months later Robert appeared in their lives; their mother married him and Lexie and Annie had a step-father they hated. But the bond between the two girls continued to grow with Lexie always there for Annie. When Lexie turned sixteen, she left Annie and her mother, determined to make her way into the future. But what would Annie do? How would she manage without her sister by her side?

Lexie's determination gave her a career where she was a successful doctor, and her fiance Sam was also a doctor. She was happy; contented with her life - but when Annie rang her for help, chaos and trouble followed. Annie's life of addiction was one she hadn't been able to beat - now pregnant, she needed Lexie's help more than ever...

What would be the outcome for Annie and Lexie? For the little baby who would have neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) when born? Being doctors, both Lexie and Sam knew and had seen babies affected with NAS - it was horrific. But could Annie put her baby first?

Before I Let You Go by Aussie author Kelly Rimmer was an outstanding, emotional and ultimately horrific story of how life can change in an instant. How love and guilt are entwined forever, and how the decisions one makes can make or break - that fork in the road is never clear. A fast-paced, suspenseful novel that I couldn't put down, Before I Let You Go is one I highly recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and Hachette AU for my digital ARC to read and review.
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This is going to be one of my best reads if not my best read for 2018.  There are those occasional reads that leave an imprint on you for long after you finish reading it.  This book is going to be one of those reads.  Just thinking about it's subject matter and the whole emotional rollercoaster I've just been through makes me tearful now.

Rimmer knows her subject matter and displays it in all it's glory in this masterpiece.  I don't believe I have the words to do it justice to be honest.  Her raw and honest account of the trauma a family goes through when they are dealing with a drug addicted loved one is so real I swear Rimmer has been touched personally by this particular issue.  If not, her skill is breathtaking.  This book had me sobbing in parts.  I found it hard to read outside of the comfort on my own home as I just didn't know with all the twists and turns when I might end up in a blubbering heap.

This novel portrays the sheer push and pull and heartache that a drug addiction causes in a family.  In particular, focusing on the relationship between two sisters.  Childhood traumas manifest in different ways with these two sisters.  One becomes a high achiever, the other flounders and never quite lands on her feet.  The older sister takes on the protective role of the parent.  And so begins the slow unravelling of this tragic situation.

I don't want to reveal anymore as this may spoil it for others, but this is a must read for 2018.  For anyone that doesn't understand the spiral of drug addiction, for those that have been unfortunate to have to deal with it, for everyone, this book offers a warts and all account of what it is to deal with this issue.  Hopefully it will also breed some compassion and understanding along the way.

Thank you for the privilege of reading this masterpiece, I am truly humbled.
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