Review: Disconnected: An eShort Story by Jennifer Weiner

DisconnectedShannon Will is twenty-eight and has made six trips to rehab (not that anyone’s counting). But this time, she swears, will be different. She’ll clean up her act, go to meetings, find a sponsor, and make a clean break with her past—starting with a new phone number.
But old ties aren’t so easy to sever. When Shannon’s new phone starts getting messages she was never meant to see, Shannon has to decide whether to risk getting involved, or stay safely disconnected.
Gripping, suspenseful and smart, Disconnected is a riveting tale of addiction and obligation, secrets and redemption. – Goodreads

Friends, allow me to begin by saying that I am a huge fan of author Jennifer Weiner; I have been her loyal follower from the moment I cracked open her debut novel, Good in Bed, way back in 2001. Apparently, two years ago Weiner started the tradition of releasing a short story each Halloween season, specifically with darker themes attached to them. In 2011 there was Recalculating, and in 2012 there was A Memoir of Grief. This year, in 2013, Weiner’s Halloween release was an eShort story titled Disconnected.

When we begin Disconnected, Shannon has just finished her sixth stint in rehab – literally, as in, she’s walking out the door. Her first stop is a wireless phone store – she needs a new phone, and a new phone number; in rehab she was told she needed to “disconnect” herself from all of her former friends and acquaintances. She gets a cute little touchscreen, and the cute salesman leaves his number in her new contact list. Hmmm – new romance so soon? Oooh, so NOT recommended by AA, Shannon! Shortly after returning to her empty apartment, Shannon receives a picture message – it’s a bottle of OxyContin, one of her former drugs of choice. Soooo not chill, folks.

The next day, Shannon hightails it to visit Devonte at the T-Mobile store. He explains that the text was likely meant for the previous owner of her new phone number, and advised her to ignore it. Unfortunately, that night, a series of further texts arrive on Shannon’s screen. Creepy and disturbing messages and pictures, that remind her of somewhere she’s once been herself. Shannon is overcome with the sense that someone is in trouble and needs to be saved – by her specifically – but what to do? She’s a former drug addict with no car, no friends, and no money! Of course, she calls good old Devonte from T-Mobile and requests a ride around town while she hunts down the damsel in distress. What follows is vindication, followed by dreaded awareness, followed by a new awakening.

I did enjoy Weiner’s story this Halloween. For some reason I felt a connection to Shannon that I hadn’t felt to the characters in her other eShort stories in the past (pun not intended). Weiner did an excellent job detailing the dreadful downward spiral that addiction causes in one’s life by replaying flashbacks of Shannon’s past before her downfall. Obviously, one can’t expect a huge amount of depth to this work – it is a mere 38 pages. All in all, Disconnected was a nice little tale of loss, suspense, heroism, and redemption all rolled into one enjoyable quickie. Bravo, Jenn, bravo!

One last tasty little tidbit, friends: this year’s eShort story has a special Halloween treat — it features a character that will make an appearance in Weiner’s highly anticipated forthcoming novel, All Fall Down, due for publication on April 1, 2014!

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Atria Books {via NetGalley}


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