Monday, 6 June 2011

Review: Mad Love

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Published: 6th June 2011
Publisher (UK): Bloomsbury

30 books in 30 days challenge book 1

**Warning** Review will contain some personal information and experiences. If you're not comfortable with that, I'd advise against reading this review.

Description from Goodreads:

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 thoughts:

My mother has bipolar. That was my main reason for reading this book-not enough fiction covers the sticky subject of mental illness these days, especially not bipolar which is so heavily stigmatised and misunderstood. Ms Selfors covers that element of the book spectacularly, educating about bipolar in a way that does't come off overly preachy or as though you're reading a psychology textbook. 

I really liked Alice, she tried hard to keep everything in her life together, and her reactions to all the problems thrown her way were very believable. Her fears that she had inherited bipolar -which has a genetic component- were so realistic and I could really relate to them. I know what it's like when you worry that an 'off' day is the start of your illness, or evaluate whether your happiness could be construed as mania. Selfors highlighted these fears wonderfully. 

I loved the supporting cast too. Her neighbours were lovely and supportive which, whilst idealistic, was enjoyable to read. Realm was one of my favourite characters actually, she was such a misunderstood girl and I really felt for her. Errol was fantastic. I loved his character, his desperation was so well written. I felt the amount of time Alice spent doubting who he was and thinking he was crazy was overly long-she was in total denial for a good part of the book which kind of annoyed me. Despite that though, I really liked the relationship between the two of them.

The writing was fantastic, it was just so funny. I loved Alice's brand of humour, I took to it straight away. 
The plot could be slow at times but the concept was really unique and I loved the greek mythology thrown in and the way the accepted version of events didn't quite match up with the truth. The scene with her mother at the end was a bit too mushy for me, but the message it portrayed was an important one. The way the Errol storyline ended was perfect, it couldn't really have gone any other way.

Overall, this book sends an important message to the world that mental illness can hit anyone, at anytime, and it isn't something to be afraid of or to be negatively judged. Selfors manages this beautifully whilst telling an entertaining and heart-wrenching story in an achingly believable and humorous manner- 5/5 


  1. This is a book that I am really interested in reading for myself.

    I have a very close friend that is bipolar and you are right it is still too often a topic shied away from in literature of all genres.

    Great review x

  2. Sounds like a very interesting book. I don't actually know anyone who has bipolar disorder, but I do know that it is not a topic widely used in literature, even though it is all around us.

    Lovely review and it was even better for the fact that you used your personal experience to let us know why you connected to the book.

  3. I think the books you can connect to on a personal level are the best kind of books. This book sounds really interesting and I'm glad this author tackled the subject of bipolar disorder and an educational but fun way.

  4. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this one or not, but I really love the cover... (that should be enough for a cover whore like me right?)

    Great review chick!!

  5. Agreed with not enough books covering mental illness. A family friend recently got diagnosed with bipolar...
    The whole book looks really good and the Greek mythology looks interesting. Want to read this.

  6. I love the sound of this book-- it reminds me of A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler, have you read that? Blue was beautifully written if dark and emotional, but I'm glad to hear this one is sometimes funny as well. I'll definitely be picking it up-- thanks for the review. :)

    Kat @ A Myriad of Books

  7. Wow, I hadn't heard much about this book but it definitely sounds like one where the cute cover belies a moving read. Great review; I'll have to check it out, thanks! :)

  8. Helen (Bipolar Bear)7 June 2011 at 12:34

    Looking forward to you bringing this book home from uni so your Bipolar Bear Mummy can read it.

  9. I love authors who can write a bout a hard subject, and manage to make the reader laugh while reading. I've never heard of this book before, but it sound interesting, and I love the cover!

  10. I only read Mad Love because both you and Stephanie loved it....


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