Rating: 4.5 stars
You’d Be Home Now focuses on Emory, the youngest child in the Ward family and the one who is always overlooked. A car accident reveals her brother Joey’s drug problem, severely injures her leg, and kills her classmate, Candy MontClaire. With Joey back from rehab and school starting back up, Emory has to figure out how to navigate her new life and keep her brother on the straight and narrow. This book hit hard for me because I am Emory. As the younger sister of two brothers who struggle with drug addiction, I found her such a realistic and relatable character. When she talks about feeling invisible, all I could think was “That’s me.” Honestly, it was painful to read but also so comforting. It was hard to re-live it all. But seeing it represented in a novel, out there in the world, and knowing that someone else understood what I experienced was so comforting.
I also loved Glasgow’s characterization of Joey. It’s painfully realistic. He’s not a bad person, not doing anything out of maliciousness, and not trying to hurt anyone. He’s sick. Glasgow really hammers home that treating people struggling with addiction as criminals only hurts them. We see this in the parents’ treatment of Joey. Their list of rules and taking away his door only do harm. He needs to be treated like a person who has a disease. Because he is a person with a disease. She also depicts how easy it is to relapse even when a person wants to get better. Just as I saw myself in Emory, I saw my brothers in Joey. It was painful. But it was also a relief that people are now talking about this, and that there is a book like this out there that can act as a lifeline to people in similar situations.
There is a lot that happens in this book. There’s everything with Joey, naturally. There’s also the other consequences of the accident, such as dealing with Candy MontClaire’s death. Emory deals with a secret relationship and making new friends. There is a community of homeless people living on the edge of town. There are issues with Emory’s parents. And all of this intersects in one way or another. For the most part, Glasgow handles all of this well, and I was satisfied with the book’s conclusion. There was one moment toward the end where I said to myself, “Okay, this is a little much.” It’s not that it was unrealistic; it’s fairly common in one way or another actually (I’m not going to say what it is to avoid spoilers). But it’s done in a rather dramatic fashion that made it feel like there was one too many events happening. But it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book or the power of it’s message, so it’s easy to overlook.
Overall, You’d Be Home Now is a raw and powerful portrayal of drug addiction and what it’s like to watch a loved one go through it. It has the potential to be helpful for so many people struggling with this very real issue. I know it helped me.