Exchange student Ilya has just arrived in the balmy heat of Louisiana from the frozen tundra of Russia. Smart, hardworking, and thoughtful his journey was to be the opportunity of a lifetime. But he can’t seem leave his home behind, or the brother he would do anything to save. In Lights all Night Long, Lydia Fitzpatrick juggles a coming of age tale; a murder mystery; and social commentary on addiction, drug use, and corruption. And it works. Beautifully. She somehow manages to avoid all the predictable tropes of each to create this sparkling world full of hope, friendship, and the power of family in all its forms.
This is not just another addiction memoir. But don't worry—that's the point. Jamison's own story is told in fragments, interspersed with the stories of many others (names you already know, others the world never will), brilliantly structured much like the AA meetings that ultimately helped her get sober. Each story is a drop in the bucket, a part of the whole. It is Jamison's voice—unflinching, self aware—and not necessarily her story that captivates. She is not tone deaf to the experiences of others, which serves her well as she presents so many stories alongside her own. I was so ready to dismiss this book, but I simply couldn't. I couldn't put it down; nor could I put it out of my mind.