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It’s been a long time, but with Recovery Road finally having a premiere date, it is time to get back into the saddle and cover Maddie’s life. For this round, it is all about the build up, and the first few days, of Stewart leaving Spring Meadow.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
With some hesitation, Maddie decides to hang out with Martin Farris at the mall. A move which turned sour for a little bit, because Martin feels slighted when Maddie doesn’t want to be alone with him at the movies, but it ends well. For between them going ice skating together, which Maddie claimed to have hate the idea of, but grew fond of it, and then going to the downtown area, it seems they have become some semblance of friends. Now, whether this whole occasion was just to pass the time? Well, the line on page 104 “By the time I’m inside I’ve forgotten the entire evening.” pretty much answer that.
Chapter 11 is all about reminiscing. For, as Maddie notes in chapter 10 briefly, she has come a long way. She isn’t causing scenes in coffee shops, she isn’t messing around with boys and having drunken sex, and best of all, cops aren’t in her life as they used to be. Now her life is like her neighborhood: peaceful, quiet, and a bit safe.
Though with it being so close to Stewart’s return, while the world outside of Maddie’s head is quiet, internally there is as much noise as a train engine. After all, Stewart is the first guy she ever truly loved. Correction: loved while sober. So with that comes a sort of different side to Maddie. One which seems to be into the girly romantic stuff, into maybe having a traditional relationship, and is just simply in a beautiful place while dreaming of the future she may have with her boyfriend.
It is the day Maddie and Stewart are reunited, and despite her trying to not seem like a schoolgirl with a crush, she still finds herself running toward him and leaping into his arms. All the while, Stewart plays it cool. Thus leading to Maddie’s prince, the boy who made Spring Meadow worth remembering, entering into what is Maddie’s real world.
Stewart’s return means perhaps a jolt toward Maddie’s recovery.
Though it may not last with Stewart back, Martin could become useful in helping Maddie catch up in school and be a good confidant who is rooted in some form of normalcy.
I will never enjoy the fact some chapters are, at most, 2 pages.
On The Fence
While memories of what happen thus far are strong enough to remember essential details, I must admit as I read Maddie gush about Stewart, a part of me wishes to know his side of things. For as excited as she seems, he seems so nonchalant that it seems he is just going with what she desires to not hurt her feelings.
As we chug along, it seems we are starting to see that perhaps this new Maddie may hold. Granted, Stewart may very well play a role in how long this may last, but one can only hope her sobriety could survive heartbreak done by Stewart.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
It’s a date! One which for Maddie is like a fantasy come real but seems a bit awkward on Stewart’s side of things. For as Maddie tries to be the ideal couple, Stewart seems to just be doing as she wants. Something Maddie notices for she herself feels like a love sick puppy who is just being humored. But she is used to him being awkward so she doesn’t take too much note of it. After all, he just got out of Spring Meadow and is still getting adjusted.
The next day starts like any other, Maddie goes to school, tries to keep a low profile, but then Martin Farris, everyone’s favorite geek, has other ideas. He decides upon himself to go to Taco Bell, get him and Maddie some lunch, and coerce Maddie to meet amongst the student population. An idea which she, as you’d expect, isn’t for what so ever. However, after a snicker or two, she learns to enjoy it by just amusing herself with people watching.
After the school day, of all people, Emily Brantley decides to have a chat with Maddie. Mind you, Maddie isn’t that fond of Emily since she was the one who assumingly made a joke at Maddie’s expense, but you know Emily is quite curious about the whole rehab thing. Though, despite her being well known for partying, it isn’t for her. Rather, it is for her little sister Ashley. Someone who seemingly is way worse than Emily, and has the same bad tendencies to pass out in public like Maddie used to.
But, being that Maddie is fresh from rehab, and arguably her sobriety could easily end if Stewart broke her heart, she isn’t the best one to be asking questions of. Still, to be somewhat friendly, she listens, tries to provide some semblance of advice to ease Emily’s worries, and shows that perhaps she has truly progressed from the Mad Dog days.
I like how slowly, but surely, the cast is expanding. For while neither Emily nor Martin seem like grandeur characters who could steal the show, or make it, being that the show could very well make them into such, there is hope. Plus, depending how the show is formatted, they could be introduced season 2, or the 2nd half of season 1, and with them, we can fully see Maddie’s transition as she sort of settles into the “normal” life of a teenage girl. Well, at the very least, one which I’m sure her parents would prefer, i.e. her hanging out with friends after school, socializing with acquaintances, and having a respectable boyfriend.
On The Fence
As Maddie refers more and more to her “Mad Dog” phase, I must admit I become curious to know if some chapters, or an entire section, maybe dedicated to it? Much less, will there perhaps be a relapse in which we get to perhaps experience “Mad Dog” Maddie?
I have no idea what happened to chapter 16
The end of part 1 comes with a bit of fireworks, ones which seemingly will cement the idea that Stewart definitely loves Maddie, and that we should be seeing more of him in the future. Especially as he himself continues on his own journey down recovery road.
Chapter Summaries (with Commentary)
After a little bit of time apart, Maddie decides this time to come to Stewart. A trip which requires a train, a bus, and them him driving. But, she has plans to make it all worth it. For with Stewart seeming sort of distant, and this making Maddie uneasy, it seems she thinks sex may help things. Which, honestly, seems like a last resort, but not in a bad way. After all, what Maddie is trying to achieve is experiencing everything she used to while under the influence sober. So naturally when the boy she thinks is becoming distant is letting her come over, to his home where they will be alone, she is going to plan for perhaps one of the few ways a person can test if there is still a chance. Well, at least that is what the movies make you think right?
I digress though for despite Stewart starting off as awkward and quiet as ever, once the front door is closed he is like an animal. Issue is, him being so aggressive makes Maddie uncomfortable for she doesn’t seem used to him acting like that. Which isn’t to create the perception she felt threatened but just uncomfortable. Something which, when he stops for a second, he admits he is a bit too. Mostly because they are both too much in their own heads worried about making this perfect. Thus why he nearly falls off the bed taking his pants off, there is an issue with taking off Maddie’s bra, and everything is just going terribly.
But then there is laughter, at each other and themselves, and they begin to loosen up. With this, they find a way past the awkwardness and into ecstasy. Leaving Maddie quite glad she came.
Despite being depicted as a quiet, loner, and introverted type, it seems sex with Maddie cleared up whatever fog Stewart was in. In fact, he becomes quite talkative and animated. He entertains her with a post-coitus meal, which is him fixing some late afternoon breakfast; he talks about dying his hair and a possible job opportunity; and, on the way back, while there is no mention of the sex, he does speak about the ring and how glad he is that she has it. I mean, pretty much in this chapter Stewart becomes the guy Maddie has been dreaming about. Almost to the point, you have to wonder, as we end part 2, have we reached the top of the mountain and things may go downhill or is this simply where things plateau?
I liked the fact Maddie depicted her first time with Stewart as awkward. For between the way he has acted, and he dreaming up this fantasy, I feel like something had to go wrong, even if in a minor way. So him being a little too aggressive, after having Maddie take the lead in their relationship, seemed right and a bit cute. But perhaps the best part is that Blake Nelson made sure that despite their initial failings, they kept trying, learned to laugh, and were depicted as enjoying themselves once they found their rhythm.
How can you not like Stewart, finally, seeming fully comfortable around Maddie? Him attempting to speak French, seeming a bit energized, and like he wants to actively participate in the relationship, makes it seem not that perhaps he isn’t just going through the motions out of fear of what heartbreak could do to Maddie. It honestly seems now that he likes her as much as she likes him and is finally ready and willing to make mistakes and get messy.
On The Fence
Being that this is a multipart book, I’m quite curious to learn what each part is supposed to represent and whether they all are based on Maddie’s own recovery, her relationship with Stewart, or both? For, right now, part one mostly deals with her becoming acclimated to Spring Meadows, part 2 deals with her getting acclimated to the real world, and I can only fathom part 3 may deal with being in a relationship sober. Making perhaps the idea of Recovery Road, as a book, perhaps dealing with the step by step process of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Which perhaps is farfetched, but needless to say I’m sort of enjoying this book more now than I ever did.