Good not Great
This is a heart rending story of the struggles of a mentally ill addict and the struggles of a family. Del, the Mom, lives in constant fear of what will become of her son, Mark, while trying to live some sort of life of her own. Not really tough love material, Del has a hard time letting the chips fall for her son, but an almost harder time continuing to support him. Mark does not make it easy to do either.
As moving as this story is I found myself, for some reason at times, a little annoyed with the Mom and sick of Mark. Del's love of Mark seems to have a desperation about it, and for good reason we learn as the tale unfolds. Despite this I still found myself impatient with the development of the plot. There were parts of the book when I could not put it down, and then parts where I found myself skimming a little.
In the end I would categorize "Night Navigation" as a good read on many levels but average when compared to some of the more mature books of this genre.
Rated of 5
by Wendy (Kalamazoo MI)
This is an interesting book detailing the lives of a drug addict and his enabling mother. The plot moves through a short time period in their lives and clues to familial relationship that may have led to the son's addiction bubble to the surface throughout. I enjoyed this but the book left me with unanswered questions about the family history. It was also a little slow starting.
Rated of 5
by Vicky (Torrance CA)
Interesting Portrayal of Addiction
I really enjoyed the dual perspectives from mother and son on the son's addiction as well as mom's response to the addiction. I found that I wanted to keep picking the book up and read it later into the night than I should have. Even the peripheral characters had depth - mom's boyfriend as one. There was a lot going on - with their lives- the addiction, mental illness and past relationships with other characters and deceased family members.
I'd recommend it for book clubs since there are many decisions - good and bad - and consequences. We'd probably all see a part of our selves in someone.
Rated of 5
by Carol J. (Isle, MN)
Tough, realistic read
Not an easy book to read due to the topic, but realistically written. Even without a child with an addiction one can identify with Del's desire to fix her son's life. I believe the author accurately portrayed the ups and downs of the life of the addict and those around him.
I would recommend the book for anyone dealing with addiction, personally or peripherally. Some interesting insights as to the ripple effects of addiction.
Rated of 5
by Betsy R. (Gig Harbor, WA)
Night Navigation is reality
The book Night Navigation is a novel but reads as a memoir. It is a difficult book to read, but its honesty about the cycles of despair and hope inherent in a relationship with someone who is addicted is dead-on. Mark's diagnosis of bipolar disorder is an understandable one that often comes with addiction. Because of my own experiences, I related deeply to Del, Mark's mother, who both hated and loved him enough to help even while she often made things worse. This is an important book but its dark and graphic subject matter may mean that not enough people read it. I hope not because it provides insight that most would not get otherwise.
Rated of 5
by Karen (Troy IL)
A difficult book to read because of the sentence structure but if you are able to get past that the story line will keep you reading. An enabling mother and drug addicted son lead a life that few in my circle can relate to (or will admit to). The book made me think about what I would do if my child was an addict and dependent on me and me on him (in a strange way) - would I go to the extremes that Del does? What do we owe our adult children when they are addicts and are keeping us locked in their world and unable to live our own lives?
Rated of 5
by Leann (Springfield IL)
Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard
This book as a memoir was unflinchingly honest in its portrayal of drug addiction and how it affects everyone connected to the addict. The seemingly never ending cycle of hope, anxiety, disappointment, guilt, fear, despair and back to hope when the relapsed addict eventually runs out of other options and once again reaches out for help. For those whove been there, its all too real.
Unfortunately, its as wearying to read about as it sounds. Which is why, as a novel, I think it fails. No one is transformed, no one grows, nothing is learned. We end up at the same place we started in except maybe were a little more ground down from the struggle. Im not saying that I have to have a happy ending or even a nicely packaged resolution. I really dont. However, from a novel that addresses something as serious as this subject, I expect a little more. I want some insight, some transformation, some growth, something for my effort. I just dont think this delivered the deeper qualities that a novel should.
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