These Things Happen

Girl Friday Bks. Nov. 2023. 7:45 hrs. ISBN 9781959411475. $17.95. F
Eon’s gripping debut follows 32-year-old Daniel Zimmer, whose fragile sobriety is tested in the wake of his brother Max’s suicide attempt and the devastating losses that follow. The story alternates between two timelines: the 1990s, after Daniel finds his brother and reckons with their shared traumatic past, and the brothers’ unstable childhood in the 1970s. Quinton Morton, a newcomer to the narration scene, offers a companionable reading of Eon’s book. Although his congenial tone is sometimes at odds with the unsettling content, listeners will be swept up by the dramatic tale, which navigates weighty issues, including intergenerational trauma, substance-use disorder, mental illness, and domestic violence. Eon’s nuanced treatment of the road to recovery resonates. His representation of the many people seeking support through Alcoholics Anonymous is affecting, and the community he depicts defies easy categorizations. Some listeners may question the portrayal of Daniel’s girlfriend, Brie, whose saintliness strains credulity, but other characters, including Daniel’s abusive father and Daniel’s ex-fiancée Jill, are satisfyingly layered.
VERDICT A heartfelt novel, detailing the costs of addiction while keeping the ever-present possibility of recovery at the forefront. Recommended for listeners seeking a hopeful take on breaking free from harmful cycles of addiction and abuse.
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