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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

What is the greatest love story of all time? And do love stories necessarily need to have a happy ending? Sometimes I feel the tragic love stories are the most powerful stories. For example, I cannot seem to ever get through 'The Way We Were' without crying. I know how it ends. I've seen it a million times, but it doesn't stop the tears from flowing. I must say, though, that I do tend to prefer my love stories with a happy ending. It is more satisfying to me that everyone ends up with a happy ending. Life can be tragic enough. But there are some stories that may not have a happy ending ending, but they have the perfect ending. That to end the story in any other way would do no justice to the tale. Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors is one of those stories. While it is not a tragedy per se, there is a darkness to the prose, which at times blew me away. Yes, there is sadness, but there is also joy and the story ended in the only way it could.

Book Description:
Publication Date: January 4, 2011

When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother-and she needs one fast.

That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth-that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

My Review:
In my opinion, and it is only an opinion, Ms. Selfors weaves magic with her words. "Loneliness had moved into my apartment as if it had no better place to go. It rubbed up against me like a hungry cat when I stepped inside."

Alice is not strong, she's not brave and she's not confident that she is not losing her mind. At the age of 16, she has, it seems, the entire weight of the world on her shoulders. Her mother is bipolar and hospitalized, not responding to the medical treatmernt she is receiving. Alice is forced to handle all her mother's affairs in secret. The world can't be allowed to know the Queen of Romance is mentally ill, so she lives a lie. Her mother's next novel is past due and the publisher is threatening to sue. Their money has run out and the hospital is threatening to throw her mother out. She had to leave her private school to finish her high school degree online so she could take care of her mother's business. It's a lot to deal with. The only three people who know are the three tenants in the apartment building who were there before Alice's mom bought the building. And they don't know all the things that Alice has had to do to keep up the charade for the rest of the world. Alice lives in the shadows. She feels she can't let anyone into her life because they can't find out the truth. She promised her mother she'd keep their secret. Even when she gets asked out by a cute guy, she has to refuse because she can't let him in on her situation. So she shuts him out even as she wishes she could let him in.

The she meets Errol. He wants her to write his story, the story about the love of his life and perhaps the greatest love story ever told. There's only one problem; he claims to be Cupid. She refuses, but things start to happen in her life that she can only accept as proof that she has inherited her mother's condition. She is convinced he has mental issues as well, but decides to help him and in so doing, help herself. If she can manage to write his story, she can pass it off as her mother's new novel and their financial worries will be over. During the process, however, she finds herself starting to care deeply about his story and realizes maybe he's not so crazy after all.

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