My Rating: 5 stars
Many thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the ARC! This book is being released today, June 14th 2022.
When Melissa Bond suddenly develops insomnia during her second pregnancy, all she can think about is how she can get some sleep. It never occurs to her to question the doctor who prescribes a high dose of Ativan for long-term use. Blood Orange Night follows Bond’s unknowing descent into benzodiazepine dependence and her harrowing journey to get off them. This book is difficult due to the content. We follow Bond through her sleepless nights wandering the house and her horrific withdrawal symptoms and thoughts of suicide. It’s heartbreaking at times, and it all feels incredibly real thanks to Bond’s excellent writing.
I didn’t know much about benzos before reading this book. Bond does a great job educating her readers on them, starting with the brief preface explaining the rise of Valium in the ’60s and ’70s. She also highlights the fact that treatment for drug dependence and addiction is not one size fits all. You can’t detox from benzos the same way you would heroin or alcohol. During her journey to get off Ativan, Bond repeatedly encounters skeptics who try to understand her situation through society’s usual lens of addiction. That simply doesn’t work for benzos, and this book is a great tool to help teach people this.
However, while this is a story of drug dependence and the strength and perseverance it takes to beat it, this is also a story of relationships. We see the breakdown of Bond’s marriage, the joy of her children, and the incredible support of so many friends. Bond does a fantastic job crafting each person in the story so the reader knows them just as well as she does.
Overall, Blood Orange Night is a wonderfully written memoir that provides an important glimpse into an often overlooked topic. I highly recommend it!