Objects of My Affection, by Jill Smolinski
What do you do when your 19-year old son has a serious drug problem? For Lucy Bloom, the answer is simple and clear: Whatever It Takes. For Lucy, getting her son into a rehab program literally takes everything she has, including her relationship with the love of her life.
After she sells her home to pay for the rehab and her relationship ends because her partner does not want his life turned upside down by a teenage drug user, she finds herself broke and living with a friend and her family. When she is offered the job of helping an eccentric and somewhat notorious artist clean up her house, the job looks like a lifeline. Unfortunately, Marva Meier Rios is as cantankerous as she is eccentric and she blocks progress on the project at every turn.
Lucy's efforts to clear out the clutter is resisted at every turn, but Lucy is determined to finish the project. For better or worse, the job throws her back into contact with her ex-lover and in conflict with secrets Marva herself is determined to preserve.
And then Lucy's son leaves rehab and demands that she pay for treatment at Betty Ford and Lucy's plans for a rosy future for herself and her rehabilitated son collapse again.
In a strange way, this is a kind of "coming of age" story. Lucy has to give up her fantasy future with her son and come to terms with the boundaries between her life and his. It is a deep challenge many parents have to face and, perhaps, especially wrenching for a single parent.
This is a good story, well written and well told. I especially liked the parallel between the things -- and people -- we hang on to and the ones we finally have to let go.