Review: Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Title: Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As the weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhoods, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.


Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer is a heartbreaking yet thought-provoking novel that sensitively and realistically portrays addiction.

As children, Lexie Vidler promised her father she would always take care of her younger sister, Annie. For the past six years, this promise has been increasingly difficult to keep as Annie’s drug addiction worsens. Two years ago, Lexie finally cut off all ties with Annie but when her sister makes a frantic 2 AM phone call, she cannot refuse to help. Because this time, Annie is pregnant and her unborn baby is in jeopardy. So with her fiancé, Sam Hawke, at her side, Lexie is drawn back into the chaos that always surrounds Annie.

Neither Lexie nor Annie are particularly likable characters (which is painful to admit since the storyline is so captivating). Lexie is a successful doctor but her relationship with Annie is so incredibly dysfunctional.  Lexie is determined to  take care of her sister’s latest mess on her own despite the fact that Sam is willing to help and should be included in making decisions since what is occurring directly affects him as well. Lexie’s stubborn refusal to let him help becomes tiresome as does her conviction that cleaning up her sister’s messes is HER responsibility not Annie’s.

It is always frustrating when an adult refuses to see that a childhood request to take care of a sibling is not a lifelong sentence or commitment.  This is especially true since Annie’s addiction is NOT Lexie’s responsibility and she has become the worst enabler as she makes excuses for her sister and refuses to hold Annie accountable for her actions.  Lexie has put herself into incredible debt as she continues to pay for rehab and while it is understandable that she desperately wants to help Annie kick her addiction,  she refuses to acknowledge that ANNIE has to decide she wants to get sober. Without this commitment and a dedicated effort to understand why she turns to drugs to cope, Annie will never maintain her sobriety.  Annie’s journal entries provide incredible insight into her past and how her inability to deal with her horrific ordeal set her on the path to addiction.

Before I Let You Go is a deeply affecting novel with a topical storyline about opioid addiction. Kelly Rimmer never downplays the effects of addiction on the addict’s family and she accurately portrays the heartrending withdrawal that is experienced by a baby born to a drug addicted mother. This insightful glimpse of drug addiction and its effects on the addict’s loved ones is an engrossing novel that is emotional, heart wrenching and ultimately, healing.

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