Title: Other Broken Things
Author: C. Desir
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 12th 2016
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Nat's not an alcoholic. She doesn't have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like get in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over. Unfortunately her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat. But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, smart, and calls her out in a way no one ever has. He’s also older. A lot older. Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she's been desperate to forget. Now in order to make a different kind of life, Natalie must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.
From the moment I saw the cover for Other Broken Things I knew it was something I was going to read. Other Broken Things is raw and gritty, showing the destruction that alcoholism and recovery caused in one girls life, but also her determination to get better.
Natalie is an alcoholic, she may not think she is. But she is. At 17 and busted for DUI she is now mandated to court ordered rehab, AA meetings and community service. When Natalie is first introduced as a character she isn't in a good place in her life. She is freshly out of rehab and vulnerable. Her plan is to play the system, because to her there is nothing wrong. I really appreciated Natalie's character growth from beginning to end. At first she doesn't see that there is anything wrong and she doesn't have a desire to get better. But over time she realizes that she doesn't like the direction her life is going and accepts to help that is being offered to her.
Desir introduces Joe into the story early on, when he pretty much calls Natalie out on her plans to play the system. He's been in the system for five years now, but sober for three. She also introduces Kathy (Joe's ex-sister-in-law) who becomes Natalie's sponsor. Both characters are vital to Natalie's treatment and help push her along the way. It wasn't until the last third of the book before things get messy though.
When Joe was first introduced and his age revealed I quickly shut down my hopes of any romance in this book. He is 38, over 20 years older then Natalie is. Despite Natalie's constant flirting and innuendos they remain friends. He is someone who is helping Natalie in her treatment. It isn't until Natalie goes to him for her fifth step of treatment that things get messy. In her fifth step Natalie has to open up to all her resentments in life, something that leaves her open and vulnerable. After everything is said and done Natalie and Joe sleep together. Kathy mentioned to Natalie earlier on in the novel that they get addicted to other things when they are in recovery. I want to say that Desir was trying to put across that Natalie has become addicted to Joe, but I just don't know. I'm at a lost for words.
Overall, I did really enjoy Other Broken Things despite the whole sex issue. Natalie's story is one that will stick out in my mind for a long time. I wish there would be another book for Natalie. I would love to see how she is doing now and if she is happy.