Welcome to Part One of our participation in the Fate Ball Book Tour — a brief interview will follow in a couple of minutes. Hope you enjoy both of these posts half as much as I enjoyed this book.
by Adam W. Jones
PDF, 279 pg.
Wisdom House Books, 2016
Read: April 14 – 15, 2016
Parents always seem to think that saving the day is a good thing, but really it just postpones the inevitable. Sometimes, they should just let their kids crash and burn, so they learn their lesson the hard way. Parents can be the biggest enablers of them all when they’re acting out of love and kindness, but that usually just makes things worse.
That’s not the most dazzling piece of writing in Fate Ball, nothing catchy or inherently memorable, like I try to start with — but this is the heart of the book. People trying to help an addict not ready to be helped, and inadvertently making things worse.
In the prologue, Able Curran receives news that Ava Dubose has died — Chapter One takes us back 14 years to 1980 to meet her. In Chapter Two (one of the best chapters I’ve read this year), Able meets her — and falls for her almost instantly (and many readers will, too). Over the next few chapters, you see the two falling deeper and deeper in love — one of the cutest couples you’ve read.
All the while, you know that things are leading to the fateful phone call Able receives in 1994. We start to see some signs of trouble (well, those started before this) long before Able does. When he finally gets clued it, it destroys him — and they don’t see each other for some time. From there we watch these two lives intersect from time to time over the next 15 years (usually, Able trying to help her), as well as getting glimpses of their lives between the intersections.
This is really the story of two addicts — one who lets their dependency control and destroy them. The other who learns how to live with the problem, controlling and eventually overcoming. And even as you know it’s happening, you still hold out hope for Ave to shake things off, to achieve the serenity — or at least the contentment that she so desperately needs. Things get worse and worse — yet Jones is able to keep things from despairing, there’s a lightness to the prose that keeps things moving. While things fall apart for Ava, they move on for Able and their friends — success, new love, children, life.
In some hands, you’d be beaten over the head with the contrast, Jones doesn’t do that however. It all spools out naturally, easily (the kind of ease that takes work to pull off). You like everyone here enough that you’re pulling for them, no matter what stupid choices they make. Jones as come up with a perfect blend of humor, romance, drama, and tragedy.
There are plenty of little touches along the way to keep things light, to immerse you in the world — which is good because the book could become too fixated on Able and Ava.
His mother was always asking, then answering her own questions. That’s why she was always right. She could have a whole conversation with herself, even a fight depending on the subject matter, and no one had to say a word. All Able needed to do was just nod his head once in a while and she would take care of the rest.
This is not the best book I’ve read — not even the best novel on addiction. But it works well enough that it doesn’t matter. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, or there are glaring problems — but objectively, I just think it could be better. But when you’re reading it? It delivers everything you want, and some things you don’t expect. I really enjoyed this and think you will, too.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the kind folks at Wisdom House Books in exchange for an honest review.