book blog

Under the Influence


Helen has had to live with the consequences of her actions for many years. When drunk driving takes away her son, and dissolves her marriage, she is left with nothing. In Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard, Helen has to overcome what her past has caused in order to regain her future.

Then she meets Ava and Swift, who bring her into their world of extravagance, and she learns that giving back can be just as fun as getting. After Helen meets a new man, named Elliot, there is a fallout between her, Ava and Swift because the couple doesn’t find the man to be interesting enough, or up to par with their ideals. When the couple entices Helen with hopes that she will get her son back, she has to decide which is more important, her new relationship or the couple that has taken her under their wing.

Even though I felt that this book was not the best that Joyce has written, I did find the characters to be completely endearing, and they definitely came to life for me. You can see how vulnerable and desperate Helen is through out the novel, and how she will do anything to get her son back. Also, even though Ava and Swift are charming and seem like a fun couple, there is something in the back of your head that tells you they aren’t telling the whole story.

You can feel the fogginess in this book, and you can tell that something bad is going to happen, you just don’t know when. That says a lot about the author, she can create an air of unease, yet continue to have you root for the characters. This book was a good one, and it will leave you feeling like you experienced the events yourself. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


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