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Caught stealing supplies from her workplace, a bereaved woman is given the choice to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or lose her job.It's been less than a year since tragedy struck Lucy Peterman: A car accident killed her husband and led to the miscarriage of what would have been her first child. She's been soldiering on in her job as a reconstructive surgeon for women who have lost breasts to cancer. On the outside, she seems to be doing well; yet she can't stop pilfering medical supplies and lifting small items from the grocery store. Lucy doesn't understand it herself, as she explains to the hospital administrator who confronts her: "I don't even know I'm taking it. I mean, I know I'm taking it, but it's like I'm watching someone else and I can't get her to stop." To keep her job, Lucy must attend AA meetings, the best free choice for addressing compulsive behavior in her small town. She also follows instructions to get counseling, although "she found therapists to be overly personal people prone to making generalizations and wearing clogs." Deeply skeptical—in denial, some would say—Lucy nevertheless makes connections in the group, especially after she adopts a stray dog. Slowly, Lucy comes to terms with her past and her new future. Garvin (On Maggie's Watch, 2010) is insightful about grief and the pervasiveness of denial. Those familiar with 12-step programs will recognize the brand of tough love depicted here. With humor and compassion, Garvin shows how recovery depends on honesty—often with other people who share an addiction, whether to booze, drugs or shoplifting—and on helping others, whether stray dogs or stray people. Lucy's current problems are well-accounted for; one character, a troubled teenager, is an excellent foil for Lucy to re-examine the privileges she has enjoyed and overlooked. Even minor characters are brought to life, such as the malaprop-prone supermarket clerk who has a crush on Lucy (and is given a respectful outcome).Hopeful but not saccharine, this novel offers a deeply sympathetic view of recovery from grief.