B O O K T O U R : Getting Clean with Stevie Green by Swan Huntley

Thank you to Over the River PR and Gallery Books for including me on the book tour for Getting Clean with Stevie Green by Swan Huntley (on sale 1.25.22) and for an advanced reading copy.

I enjoyed this quick, humorous, and ultimately moving read about Stevie Green who, since an “inciting incident” in high school showed the cracks in her outwardly perfect exterior has moved from city to city without a career, spending too much time drunk and sleeping with random men.

Now in her mid-thirties, Stevie returns to La Jolla, California, her hometown, to help her mother downsize. She was so good at organizing that she started her own decluttering business. She’s stopped drinking, employed her sister, Bonnie, an Instagram star and dog lover, and started seeing her high school boyfriend, Brad, a surfer and David Beckham lookalike, hoping to achieve the contentment that has so long eluded her.

However, the specter of Stevie’s past looms over her relationships. Her anger festers as she contemplates the person responsible for her initiating her downward spiral, and she ignores whispers that maker her question her sexuality. While she has nurtured a grudge against her ex-best friend Chris, she still craves receiving her text messages, and she is still reluctant to process her father’s death.

Although most of the book is told through Stevie’s point of view, interstitial chapters from the perspectives of Bonnie, Chris, Brad, and Kit (her mother) provide interesting perspective and show flaws in Stevie’s assumptions. An inevitable confrontation about ultimate truth of the “inciting incident” fuels the narrative and challenges Stevie to take the advice she gives clients—to get clean to find out who she really is. But the temptation to lean into a carefully constructed façade or to numb her feelings with alcohol makes it hard for her to make peace with the past—and present.

Although flawed, I enjoyed Stevie’s voice, both wry and insecure but determined to project confidence. Her relationship with Bonnie and their frequent bickering amused. Kit has interesting reflections about parenthood, plus she’s an artist who decided to draw a TV rather than draw one. And, there’s a dachshund named Weiner!

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