Author: Renee Ebert
Title: Until The Darkness Goes
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Until the Darkness Goes offers readers a fascinating story of a young woman’s choices as set against her troubles, the expectations of her friends and co-workers, and her mother’s own decisions in the past.
While chronicling Molly Morris’s journey through grief, loss, drugs, and addiction to the other side, the book shows more interest in her emotional viewpoint as she recovers and engages in life than in the actual feelings of her addiction and sorrow. Thus, the book reads easily, moving the plot along rather than trying to create a narrative mood or evoke certain experiences for the reader.
Molly lives in Long Beach, a multiracial community that is diverse and welcoming, troubled and yet home. Javier, her Mexican-American lover, and Nugent, the African-American and Latino boy she fosters, fit in nicely with her neighbors, but Molly herself wonders why she’s there at times, feeling out of place as she rediscovers herself and her purpose. And Molly’s Jewish mother is quick to remind her that she doesn’t belong somewhere like this—that she was raised for something better.
The book takes its time revealing all sides of Molly and her family. Readers experience her mother’s love and criticism, Javier’s care and yet his own troubling reactions to the loss of their infant daughter, and Nugent’s lack of respect and cautious enthusiasm as time goes by. Molly’s falling into drugs and addiction is similarly shown for what it is, an easy, dangerous step that could happen to anyone in difficult circumstances, to where the story reads as a cautionary tale and yet full of hope, showing that life can be pieced back together even though some things may never be the same again.
And the book effectively manages to bring romance into the story without letting it take over, as Molly is faced with deciding whether she stays with Javier or moves on to someone new in the the rich, successful, and yet similarly troubled Michael Dunn, a SONY lawyer. The pacing gives Molly plenty of time to discover her feelings and find herself while offering her assistance in the form of her Narcotics Anonymous group, her therapist, and others without denying her any of the dignity, heartache, and agency that a person in her position would possess.
The ending could feel a bit abrupt, though, to where some might feel that a few more pages or an epilogue would help, especially after sharing so many important moments with the characters and wishing them well for so long.
Those who like realism and concrete details will appreciate this story, from the snippets of Spanish that are sprinkled throughout to the characters’ outlook on life, given what they’ve seen and experienced. The narration is fair and yet clearly comes from Molly’s point of view, offering a balanced perspective for navigating the entire neighborhood without switching to someone else and allowing readers to deeply know the main character without feeling intrusive. Effortless and heartfelt, this story will capture readers’ imaginations and leave them rooting for a happy ending for Molly and her resilient companions.
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