Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Review: Invisible As Air

Invisible As Air - Zoe Fishman

Sylvie Snow knows the pressures of expectations: a woman is supposed to work hard, but never be tired; age gracefully, but always be beautiful; fix the family problems, but always be carefree. Sylvie does the grocery shopping, the laundry, the scheduling, the schlepping and the PTA-ing, while planning her son’s Bar Mitzvah and cheerfully tending her husband, Paul, who’s been lying on the sofa with a broken ankle. She’s also secretly addicted to the Oxycontin intended for her husband.

For three years, Sylvie has repressed her grief about the heartbreaking stillbirth of her newborn daughter, Delilah. On the morning of the anniversary of her death, when she just can’t face doing one…more…thing: she takes one—just one—of her husband’s discarded pain pills. And suddenly she feels patient, kinder, and miraculously relaxed. She tells herself that the pills are temporary, just a gift, and that when the supply runs out she’ll go back to her regularly scheduled programming.

But days turn into weeks, and Sylvie slips slowly into a nightmare. At first, Paul and Teddy are completely unaware, but this changes quickly as her desperate choices reveal her desperate state. As the Bar Mitzvah nears, all three of them must face the void within themselves, both alone and together.

I struggled through this one mostly because I really, really, really didn't like Sylvie. Paul was alright and, don't get me wrong, he had some pretty terrible tendencies and secrets in the aftermath of Delilah's death, but Sylvie... whoa boy, baby.

Now, I have never had a baby who was stillborn. I haven't. I've suffered a pretty awful miscarriage, I have died in childbirth and been irrevocably changed, but I've never handled a stillborn baby. Sylvie internalized her grief, and Paul kind of does too, and their then 9 year old son Teddy was kind of left in the wind, so to speak. Sylvie lashes out when people try to talk to her about Delilah because she believes SHE is the only one entitled to grieve as she is, and then gets mad that they aren't grieving enough and showing it. Sylvie and Paul's marriage is in a rut, Teddy is in middle school and completely awkward and trying to find his way and it all kind of begins imploding the day Sylvie takes one of the pain pills Paul was prescribed for his ankle.

At first Paul and Teddy don't notice anything other than she's happier and not lashing out at them as often. Once the prescription runs out Sylvie, fully addicted and in complete denial, starts making desperate choices, which leads to everything coming to a head.

Out of all the characters, I felt the most for Teddy. Maybe because he's my son's age and I know how confusing life is for a boy with puberty and all of these social changes but add on to that your mom basically being an addict and feeling like you have no control of anything, and I just wanted to give him a hug the entire time.

I also have to mention that in a way, I could relate to Sylvie in the beginning. The rage of knowing who didn't reach out at all, the ones who dropped off a meal and really quietly disappear from your life, the ones who don't really want to know when they ask how you're doing, or the ones who just awkwardly ignore the fact anything happened in the first place. Don't get me wrong, for as much as I didn't like Sylvie, I absolutely understood the desire to just be numb and slip away for awhile, to be able to turn off all the noise.

Overall? I'm going to give this one 4 stars. It has a few hiccups in it but I flew through this one because you constantly want to know what's going to happen. It flips from Sylvie, Paul, and Teddy's point of view so you can see all sides of this train wreck before it happen. An absolutely appropriately timed book given the crisis to prescription medication addiction and how the everyday addict is now becoming the PTA mom, the mom who leads the playgroup, your coworker, etc. I highly recommend this one.

A good option is to head over to the HarperCollins website to pick this one up- it would make for a really great book club read.

A huge thank you to William Morrow Books, Harper Collins, and TLC Book Tours for having me on this review tour. This post contains affiliate links. 

1 comment:

mypixieblog said...

Interesting. Thanks for this review, Sara. I haven’t heard of this book and agreed—drug addiction is such s timely topic in this country so it does sound like a book that would hold my interest. Poor Teddy though 😥