"Better All the Time" the 2nd book in The Darling Family series by Carre Armstrong. I had not read the first in the series, and it isn't necessary to read to "get" this novel. The series revolves around the Darlings, a large family with a Christian background, that seems to have a running theme of self-absorption and addiction. The first novel followed Ivy, the oldest sister; this follows the three younger sisters, Laura, Sephy, and Amy. Laura, who lives in Arizona, has replaced her addiction for pills in exchange for alcohol. Sephy is an overweight college girl with the inability to tell anyone no. Though her family insults her regularly for that trait, they also demand it from her as well. Amy is in the beginnings of getting a community art center off of the ground. A work-oholic, she has tunnel vision when it comes to others, cannot keep her opinion to herself (thinks she shouldn't either) and has gotten a little infatuation going with Mitch, a contractor at the center. Though they were raised by seemingly decent parents several of them have one form of addiction or another and all can't seem to see past their own point of view.
This is a well written book, difficult to put down. However, Armstrong had many different story lines going at once, and her characters lacked likability. The book would have been stronger had it focused on Sephy, the most likable of the group. Sephy decides to loose her excess baggage and develop some happiness while she is at it. Though in order to do both, she must find her backbone and use it; something she dreads doing. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale House Publishing.