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
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: April 14, 2009
Need more reviews? Look no further than:
The Drug & Alcohol Scene
Curled Up with a Good Book