Review: Night Navigation

Night Navigation, by Ginnah Howard

Somewhere along the way, on the book highway, A Reader's Respite took a fairly dark turn and ended up reading Ginnah Howard's debut novel, Night Navigation.

This is a story of the pain and despair of drug addiction. This is the story of a mother's worst nightmare: caught between the love for your child and the knowledge that you cannot fix them.

Meet Del, a middle-aged widow, and her grown son Mark. Mark is an addict. Del wants nothing more than to save her son. The odds are against them both. Suicide, mental illness and family dysfunction are all an important part of this story that takes you into the depths of a family's anguish.

There can be no doubt that author Ginnah Howard has personally experienced the journey described in this novel. No one could possibly write this painful and poignant tale without living it first. Her sparse, yet somehow still lyrical style draw you into her world, into her characters, until you find yourself a de facto member of this dysfunctional and desperate family.

There is a price to being drawn into a tale such as this. It leaves the reader with the emptiness, no --- make that the hollowness, that comes from living with continually dashed hope. Eventually, only numbness remains.

Yet if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a parent of an addict, this novel is the closest you'll ever want to come to finding out. Despair? It abounds in this novel, but so does understanding and the depths of a mother's love.

Does we recommend the novel? That depends. If you have the fortitude to delve into dark subject matter out of a genuine desire to understand, then yes. Otherwise, you'd best skip it.

A Reader's Respite made it through to the end. And now, please pass the Zoloft. And a happy book.

And now, as is our custom around this joint, this is where we offer our brave readers a chance to win this novel. Leave us a comment and we'll draw a random winner (international peeps welcome!) on June 5th. Be sure to check back and see who won!

Title: Night Navigation
Author: Ginnah Howard
ISBN-13: 978-0151014323
304 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: April 14, 2009

Need more reviews? Look no further than:

Shelf Life
The Drug & Alcohol Scene
Curled Up with a Good Book
The Reviewer


  1. Sounds like the author dug deep, through icky mucky stuff. I can appreciate a well-written book that takes it all out of you, but I'm not sure I WANT to know what it is like to have a child that is a drug addict. It's like trying to decide if I want to know what it is like to lose an arm in a piece of machinery or almost drown in a boating accident. I think I'm going to pass on the giveaway, but will thank you for braving this one for all of us!

  2. This book sound very interesting. I don't think I have read a book that deals with drug addiction in a long time. Especially not from the mothers point of view. I would love to be entered into the giveaway.

  3. Sounds really good. Any book that can evoke such strong emotions is worth a look. However, I'm passing on the giveaway -- not only do I have a lot stacked up here to read but I don't think I want to be dragged into the depths. Great review.

  4. I would be interested in reading this book so please enter me in the giveaway. I like heavy books. I certainly hope to NEVER have this experience but I think it is a worthwhile book to read -- if only to understand what parents who experience this go through. I had a co-worker whose daughter was addicted to heroin and she was always having terrible experiences. It was heart-breaking and she felt so hopeless all the time.

  5. The book does sound very heavy. I'll enter and figure if I win that means I'm supposed to read it. milou2ster(at)

  6. Definitely sounds like an interesting book. Please enter me.

  7. Wow. Not ready to endure someone else's angst.

    Pass on the gritty path but thanks for offering. I enjoy seeing the big pink puffy clouds. lol.

  8. This book sounds great! Enter me please!

  9. Sounds like a great book,
    count me in.

  10. sounds like a gripping book thanks for the giveaway

  11. I would like to read this novel. The mother-son relation in this story is quite intriguing. Please count me in. : )

    linna.hsu (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. This sounds like a good book

    lavery328 at yahoo dot com

  13. Usually life's darkest and most difficult hardships are the things that make great reading material. Painful to read? Yes. But I'm a sucker for an emotional punch, be it dark and gritty or sweet and sappy. I'd definitely like to give this book a chance. Thanks!

    mishtakes AT gmail DOT com

  14. Sounds like a great book


  15. This sounds interesting. I'd love to read this book.

  16. It sounds like a very interesting and deeply moving book.


  17. I would be interested in reading this in order to gain an understanding of what some friends and family are going thru. sharonaquilino(at)hotmail(dot)com

  18. Please enter me. mrs.mommyyatgmaildotcom

  19. I would love to read this. Please enter me. Also, I would love to subscribe by email only. Cannot find a spot to do it.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  20. Sounds like a good book.

  21. Looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance


  22. I would love to read this book! I read "A beautiful Boy". It's about a fathers point of view of a drug addicted son. The son Nic wrote a book too called "Tweak". They go into alot of details in these books,which made a really great read! So I would love to read about a mothers point of view. thanks!

  23. Thanks for the opportunity!

  24. I read the review and this sounds like a very heart-breaking book-please sign me up

    tiramisu392 (at)

  25. Wow, I want to read this but I guess I better have tissues handy!
    believedreamcourage (at)

  26. I think that it sounds like a really interesting book. I'd love to read it!!


  27. Sounds like an interesting read.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. I would like to read this, please enter me.

    Thank you!

    janetfaye (at( gmail (dot) com

  29. I'd love to win it.

    Thanks so much.


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