As Stewart and Maddie grow closer, and begin to allow the other person in, the rules of Spring Meadow seemingly become a serious obstacle.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
In this chapter we learn Spring Meadow is located in the middle of nowhere, Stewart is from Contralia; Maddie from West Linn and that Stewart’s grandmother was what kept him grounded. Hence the reason he ended up in rehab since she is no longer with us. Though with them sharing their backgrounds and a moment in which they are tempted by alcohol while in a convenience store, it seems their shared vulnerability, and issues, are kindling something. Hence why, by chapter’s end, they kiss.
After that kiss, it seems Maddie is slowly falling in love with Stewart and, within the idea of finding love, brings hope. For with all of Maddie’s past experiences with intimacy being tainted with intoxication, finding Stewart and being intimate with him, and him intimate with her, without drugs or alcohol clouding judgment, almost makes the situation pure. Thus leaving us with a Maddie who seemingly may turn things around.
Well, at least it seemed like she would be able to. For with Cynthia noting the two of them shouldn’t, and can’t, date while in the program, it throws a serious monkey wrench into things. Though considering, as Cynthia said, how vulnerable the two are, and how part of what is bringing them together is lack of options, arguably what could be bringing them together is swapping one addiction for another. Though, unless I’m missing something, it hasn’t been spelled out what Stewart’s list of addictions are.
Either way, Maddie blows up on Cynthia about her trying to police who Maddie can be with.
With Cynthia creating a major roadblock, it seems there main way of having relationship type moments may solely come from going to the movies. For while he wants her, and she wants him, neither really want to be kicked out of the program. Though considering Maddie has two weeks left, and Stewart will be out a month after, there is the chance they could have a post-rehab relationship. As for what they will be till then? Well, hand holding and occasional make out, buddies maybe all they can be.
As I play out the scenarios of this book in my head, I become so thankful this is becoming a show rather than a movie. For imagine all that would be lost in a movie version, due to a 90-120 minute time limit. We wouldn’t get to fully see Maddie evolve and get better, and soften her edges; we wouldn’t get the full experience of the coming and going characters of Spring Meadow, and certainly things wouldn’t be the same when it comes to how Stewart evolves as part of Maddie’s world.
Which is what I mostly feel like is worth praise right now. For as much as Stewart essentially remains a mystery, he is starting to make Maddie likable, and the book as well. For now, I actually feel invested and want to know what is around the corner, will they make it and, if they break up, would that mean both, or one of their, world’s coming apart?
Though it is highly beneficial for me, when it comes to doing these weekly reviews, I must admit I’m really starting to not like how short the chapters are, and the almost diary format of the book. If only because what we read truly feels like a point of view snapshot of Maddie recollecting about her day. Thus continuously leaving every character who is part of Maddie’s life bare. Which only bothers me for with every character with just a name and the most basic of backstories, it means more opportunities for the TV adaption to either make things better or fearfully worse.
As part 1 comes to a close, we are left wondering if Stewart and Maddie may make it through part 2.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
With their days numbered and Cynthia watching, it would seem the love birds are trying to be as low-key as possible. However, during the movie trips, they do their best to sneak away to a local Denny’s to eat, make out and have a little romance.
Which maybe all they may have for a while since Maddie’s time is running out and we are upon her last Tuesday in Spring Meadow. A day in which she learns Stewart, at one time, wanted to be a motorcycle mechanic and was supposed to go to Junior College to do so. However, with his addiction easing into his life, the money his grandmother gave him for college went to drugs, and we know the rest of the story.
Though with time running short, it leads Maddie to wonder if they may only have rehab relationship. Something which she tries to ease the idea of by asking about one or the other sneaking to see the other, which Stewart doesn’t think is a good idea. So, since Maddie seemingly is falling in love for the first time, she says she’ll be like a prison girlfriend and wait for him to get out.
With it being quite real now that she isn’t going to be seeing Stewart on a fairly regular basis, Maddie begins to freak out. For whether it is him staying sober without her, whether he will call her, or him being a little standoffish and awkward, her emotions are running wild. But, with him “lending” her his grandmother’s ring, as a promise ring, it seems her temperature flare cools down and she feels reassured. Though with this ending part 1, and her returning home, who knows what lies ahead for their relationship?
There is a sweetness to how Maddie’s time at Spring Meadow came to an end. She had secret rendezvouses with Stewart, got a little vulnerable, and showed a bit of her crazy side, and ultimately won me over. And while I’m not sure whether part 2 will keep us with Maddie, switch us to someone else, or a third option, it does leave me wanting more. Though, to be honest, I would like to learn more about the other people who live in Spring Meadows a bit more.
On the flip side, with how episodic each chapter feels, I’m hoping by the middle, or end, of part 2 I will understand the significance of each part. For, as of now, Part 1 seems like an extended introduction which didn’t really go anywhere. For while, yes, it introduced Stewart, arguably we didn’t learn much about him, nor Maddie and all the rest of the names thrown into the series came and went with hardly any roar nor whisper. Something which I hope changes in part 2 since, again, while Maddie has become lovable, and Stewart fits a good stereotypical dream boat, I need a bit more depth from this book.