Sunday, July 08, 2007
The first time Leia pulled the lever on the slot machine she hadn’t felt much, other than maybe a twinge of guilt, knowing how much her husband despised any kind of gambling. After all, she’d just been killing time while nursing a busted leg at the slopes. Several months, thousands of clicks and tens of thousands of dollars later, she’d long since replaced the rush of adrenaline that came with a win with the roiling realization that she’d gone too far. The last time she pulled the lever, she hung on for dear life, knowing that without a win, a very big win, her life as she knew it was over.
Addiction is a difficult thing, and Going for Broke is a fabulous glimpse into the life of a decent person who develops a compulsion to gamble until she no longer recognizes herself. Much like cocaine or heroine, the compulsion will eventually take over and swallow the person whole. The author does a wonderful job of accurately portraying how someone can sink so low and go so far as to being willing to do just about anything for their "fix." The rationalizing thoughts, the desire to be secretive, the withdrawal from friendships and support systems...it's all there.
Like one of the endorsers wrote on the back of the book, this story is addicting. I stayed up late and woke up early until I finished. The tension just kept building and building, but not once did Leia become unlikable. Of course the reader will want her to snap out of it, but the author takes you to the place where you develop compassion for Leia, and that's not an easy thing to do. I didn't get the urge to slap Leia. Not once. I had thought about slapping her husband, though, and beating his friend senseless, but you have to read the story to find out why.
Overall, I'd say that Going For Broke is the best story I've read about the cravings that addicts have for gambling or any other vice. Gambling destroys lives and dignity and this story brings the reader right to the edge with Leia. What I liked best about the story was the honesty. There were no quick fixes, and while God holds people accountable for their mistakes, He will redeem anything and will meet us where we are if we would only trust in Him and not ourselves. I love edgy stories that illustrate how God even uses the muck in our lives to create something beautiful that will glorify Him. Going for Broke did that, and then some.
Going for Broke was published by River Oak and released in May 2007.