As Maddie returns to school and tries to adjust to living sober, new characters are introduced who begin to explain why she did drugs and was called “Mad Dog Maddie.”
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
It’s January, and with Maddie’s return to school, after months of being away, comes a lot of people asking probing questions about where she has been. The first one named though is Tara Peterson, a huge dork, in Maddie’s words, who becomes one of the first named and first quickly forgotten.
As Maddie tries to keep a low profile, Emily Brantley, a cool girl and someone who Maddie formerly considered a rival, brings up Maddie’s rehab stay and asks a few questions. Which, from what Emily tells us, isn’t done in order to tease Maddie but more so because she thinks she may end up there. Though this perhaps should be taken jokingly.
Alongside meeting her old rival, we also meet Maddie’s (former?) best friends. First is Jake, who is a smooth operator and is very flirtatious, Raj who seemingly was the group’s drug contact, and Alex who isn’t talked about much in detail. Out of all of these names, though, it seems Jake maybe the only one who could or used to, matter. If only because Maddie talks about him in the way someone would if they did, or currently do, have a crush on them. Though considering she has Stewart, and a girl named Marissa is trying to get with Jake, perhaps Maddie noting how cool Jake is should be taken with a grain of salt.
After seeming MIA since Maddie returned to school, Stewart calls! However, the call is rather awkward and nothing is said worth noting. Both in terms of giving an overview and how Maddie feels the call went. Still, it is one of the few positive things going on in Maddie’s life. After all, in trying to stay sober she had to sort of alienate herself from her former friends and with the only social gathering she has being Dr. Bernstein’s “Teens at Risk” group, she is starting to get lonely and seemingly has nothing to do besides a semester’s worth of homework.
With a new phone from her dad, since he feels like he got his girl back, and desperation settling in, Maddie decides to finally get around to calling Trish. Something Trish is quite happy about since all she has been doing really is applying to jobs. But while calling Trish may have been a desperate move, nonetheless they hang out immediately and talk about everything but Stewart and how Trish has gained weight and now looks puffy.
It seems with including Trish in Maddie’s life, things are slowly getting better. In fact, even with Stewart, things are on the up and up since they have a real conversation this chapter. For one, we are told he is getting out soon and will be moving to Centralia, Washington, which is 50 miles from Portland, and that he has become cool with Rami, the laundry room supervisor, since Maddie has left. Also, he reveals, Rami knew the two were in there sometimes but didn’t say nothing.
What we ultimately are left with though is Maddie questioning if things are going just a bit too well. For with Trish being a decent friend, Stewart being a decent boyfriend, and no real incidents, or reported squiggles, things just seem too good. However, despite her feeling what could go wrong easily would be Stewart getting out and him finding a better girl than her, she commits to the idea of letting herself love him despite the various possibilities.
Enter Martin Farris, an obnoxious geek who seemingly is the first long-term character of part 2. He is annoying, to say the least, inquisitive, and they share yearbook class together. Let’s see what he may become in the long run.
Maddie’s favorite counselor Cynthia reminds us of her existence and in her communications with Maddie she learns Maddie is doing quite well. However, being that Maddie’s issues were with more than drugs, but also alcohol, it has been recommended that Maddie go to AA meetings. Something she decides to do with Trish who loves the boisterous and alternative looking boys at the meeting. Thing is, she looks horrible but feels she badly needs to get laid. Thus setting up the argument for when Maddie finally tells Trish about Stewart. Which, at first, was an argument dealing with Maddie not telling her, but then it evolves as Maddie paints Trish as someone sex obsessed and that really sets Trish off.
Back at school, Martin picks with Maddie as she tries to sleep through yearbook class. Thus leading to a conversation he had with Kaitlyn about Maddie going to rehab which, at this point, is such a boring and tiresome subject that Maddie couldn’t care less who knows, what people say, or anything dealing with Evergreen High school.
Despite this, though, Martin seems to want to volunteer his friendship to Maddie. Something she doesn’t want, and with that being said it seems Martin tries to lick his wounds and make it seem he was going to be her friend out of pity. If only because it is obvious she doesn’t have friends at school, but now it seems he realizes it is because she is mean.
Despite their fight, Trish returns to the fold and she is asking Maddie to join her on a guilt trip to see Haley. Someone who Trish visits often, but seemingly isn’t a welcome sight. For with Haley looking at Trish in fear, and her being unable to really move due to being paralyzed from the neck down, the whole visit is insanely awkward. Though it can’t get much worse than Trish trying to talk up Maddie as a possible friend for Haley, and the nurses seemingly knowing Haley doesn’t want to see Trish, but not having the permission likely required to keep her away from the girl. Anyway you slice it, though, it becomes quite clear Trish’s guilt heavily weighs on her and maybe what may threaten her sobriety.
With Maddie settled in school, Trish returning to the fold, Stewart leaving updates, and perhaps a new reoccurring character in Martin, it seems the tone for part 2 is set. Which is unfortunate since I’m still in that realm of questioning what led ABC Family to want to adapt this book? For, while following someone through rehabilitation, and maintaining sobriety, seems like a good idea, I must admit the lack of sensationalized content is getting to me.
This is probably due to each chapter, as noted many times before, seeming very to the point, diary style, and seemingly more so written as an outsider looking in, trying describe what someone else may have went through, rather than us truly hearing Maddie’s side of the story. To put it another way, it is like Martin asked everyone he could about Maddie, and somehow got some information out of Stewart, Trish, and a few others, and decided for the yearbook to write Maddie’s story. That is perhaps the best way to describe the book at this point.
Though there remains hope. Stewart will eventually be out of Spring Meadows and we can see Maddie pursue her first official relationship, and with Trish in the mix, I expect some drama. What I’m really hoping for however is Maddie commenting more on her recovery since she was still having the squiggles a few weeks before she left Spring Meadow and now apparently they don’t exist. Plus, considering how she has completely ignored her old acquaintances and friends, I see temptation being presented in the future for, as chapter 5 slightly hinted to, things are going well and it seems like eventually the only way to go maybe down, and the way down for her may not at all go smoothly.
“Dorks are physically uncoordinated. Geeks have specialized knowledge of complex systems.”
— “Part 2/ Chapter 6.” Recovery Road