The Bad Dream Notebook Review


This book review is going to be a hard one to write. And I'm going to be super honest and transparent with you on why...and we'll see what you think when I'm done.

The copy of The Bad Dream Notebook by Linda Dahl that I received from Booksparks to read and review is an Advanced Reader Copy...or what people in the sphere of bookish things refer to as an ARC. It's an uncorrected galley proof, which means this copy may not be the final finished product...they may still be tweaking the book some, and there might be mistakes inside.

Now, this is not my first ARC...but it's the first one that felt like an ARC. I commented on another blogger's Instagram photo and said "I have to find a way to remove the fact that this copy put the Uncorrected in the phrase "Uncorrected Proof" from my assessment of the content"...if that makes sense. But I think that the mistakes were more glaring because the book just didn't seem like a finished product. To me the whole thing had the feel of a rough draft, and I find that sad because the story is something I would normally find really interesting.

But I'm going to try and review the story, leaving out the fact that I was bothered the entire time I was reading by the fact that she referred to her dog by the wrong name in a paragraph about 1/4 of the way into the book...because I'm sure the copy you would buy in a store would NOT have that glaring mistake! But I'm human, people...and sometimes when I try really hard to forget something, it just screams louder in my head.

The Bad Dream Notebook is a story of addiction and grief. Erica Mason-Grey is struggling. Her husband John just passed away after a long battle with cancer. And now her teenage daughter Mona is falling deep into a pit of drug addiction. Although Erica knows what Mona is going through, as she's been a long-time member of AA, she can't help but get sucked into a cycle of enabling, bartering, ignoring and hopeful thinking when it comes to her baby girl. The two women continually circle each other, while despair and heart-ache keeps them from making any progress in their lives. Will Mona be able to take control of her own life? And will Erica find her verve, vitality and lust for life again?

This book definitely shows what I feel is a fairly accurate portrayal of addiction and it's impact on your loved ones. Try as she might, Erica just can't cut her daughter off...mainly because she feels that Mona is all she has left in the world. So Mona continually lies and steals from her, causing one heartache after another...and Erica just takes it. They argue, make up...and then it starts all over again. It is not a lighthearted story, and if your life has been touched by addiction at all, it will probably hit close to home and might not be an easy read.

But the novel didn't move me in the way I thought it would. I expected to have an emotional response, and instead I found myself nitpicking dialogue and I never quite got fully immersed in the story. It just didn't suck me in like it should have...and I love reading dysfunctional family stories. It had the feel of a first draft, and not a finished product. And I feel like a horrible person putting that thought out there for the world to read, but the idea was great...plot was great...it just wasn't executed as tightly as it should've been, in my opinion.

I hate writing less than stellar reviews. I'd much prefer to tell y'all how magnificent I thought something was.

But, if you find the story line interesting, I'd definitely give this book a shot. It's not a bad book by any means, I think maybe my response has more to do with how much I LOVED the books I read around this one than anything else. And I would still give it a 3 out of 5.

A huge thank you though to Booksparks for sending the book my way! I can't wait to read the next selection.





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