I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.South on Highland by Liana Maeby
Published by Little A on July 14, 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary Women, Literary
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Leila Massey, a young L.A. screenwriter, is on the verge of hitting it big when she falls into the grip of drug and alcohol addiction. Her descent into the narcotic underbelly of the city leads her to a commune in the desert, a filthy room at the Chateau Marmont, and, eventually, rehab. Will Leila continue down the dark path of addiction? Or will she make it as a successful writer? Based on the author's own life, Liana Maeby's brilliant debut novel is raw and haunting, and simultaneously incredibly astute and humorous. South on Highland explores true identity and questions our culture's response to addiction and sensationalism.
Leila Massey seems to have it all, a playwright by the age of 16, a scholarship to a prestigious film school, a gorgeous actor boyfriend and at 25 a major drug addiction. She tries to hide her addiction and keep up with the demands of a Hollywood writing career while rock bottom is inching closer and closer. With her path unclear, all she can do is fall.
I really enjoyed South on Highland. At first glance I thought it would be another addiction memoir (which I enjoy), but instead is a novel based on the author’s own life. The story, while based in reality, is fiction, and I think that is a bonus. The writing is slick and fast-paced in this novel and memoirs can sometimes drag due to the insertion of trivial facts. A good author can make you feel as if you are in the room with them and Maeby has this gift. This was a fast read as there was no extraneous detail, every scene was sharp and real. From the crazy highs to the deepest lows you still cared deeply for the character of Leila. Even when she was horrible, you still want her to succeed and prosper. This novel in no way glorifies drug use, instead it shows the reality of addiction, and how far an addict will go to score. Do not reach for this book if you want a sunny beach read, but if you want to truly get transported into another’s world, this is the one.