Wednesday, June 22, 2016

If You Left + Giveaway

If You Left

By Ashley Prentice Norton
Published by Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Paperback: 256 pages
June 14, 2016; $14.95 US; 9780544263680


All relationships have their ups and downs. For Althea and Oliver Willow, the ups and downs are a bit . . . extreme.

Welcome to the bipolar marriage.

Althea is a thirty-seven year old upper crust Manhattan-ite on the brink of another breakdown—her fifth in nine years. Diagnosed with manic depression, she has spent her marriage oscillating between what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions”. Her husband Oliver has been there for her through all of it. It is Oliver who packs her bag for the hospital, who visits during visiting hours after each suicide attempt, and who takes care of their nine-year-old daughter Clem. It is Oliver who holds their family together.
Discharged from the hospital, Althea decides that this summer will be different—she will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the reliable, affectionate mother that Clem deserves. This summer, she will be “normal”. When the family moves to their East Hampton mansion for the summer, for the first time in Clem and Althea’s lives as mother and daughter there is no “summer girl” there to pick up the slack when Althea cannot face the reality that comes with being a mother.
But once they arrive, nothing goes according to Althea’s plan. Oliver becomes even more distant, and his relationship with their interior decorator is a bit too close. Clem also seems not to need her as a mother, and Althea finds that getting to know her own daughter is far more exhausting than she had though it would be. Into this scene enters the much younger, attractive, David Foster Wallace-reading house painter, who reaches something in Althea that has been long buried.
Fearless, darkly funny, and compulsively readable, If You Left, is a searing exploration of the limits of family and the unavoidable truth that sometimes in order to move forward we have to destroy the things we've worked so very hard to build.

My Review

First off I am not knocking anyone who id dealing with a mental illness like Althea in this book. In fact, I thought that she was the only interesting person in this book. The rest fell flat as did the story for me. At first I was intrigued by the story but after the first couple of chapters my excitement quickly went away and I found it harder to read this book. I got almost half way and put the book down. From what I did read however if I had been more engaged in the rest of the characters in this book than I actually may have stuck with it. I would be willing to give this author another chance in the future.

Author Bio:

Ashley Prentice Norton is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel The Chocolate Money, and a graduate of Exeter, Georgetown, and the creative writing program at New York University. She lives in New York with her husband and three children.
For more information visit his website at and connect with her on Facebook.

I do have a copy to giveaway to a US Reader if someone wants to check out this book. Leave a comment with your email and I will pick a winner Sunday, June 26th


petite said...

Your review was excellent. Thanks for this feature. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

traveler said...

If You Left sounds difficult but real. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com