If You Left
Author: Ashely Prentice Norton
Going to the beach?
Setting up an umbrella, sipping a drink, wanting a book to entertain you for a while?
If You Left by Ms. Norton will do just that. Flick to the left, and flick to the right, brush off the sand, and open the page and Althea, a 37 year old moneyed married woman from money and Manhattan will greet you with her fifth mental breakdown in nine years. Althea has bipolar disorder, and a husband who treats her like shit while pretending to be her “caretaker.” Cheap shots and infidelity are his sidekicks. On top of that Oliver, her husband, demanded that he and Althea adopt a child who is now ten years old, Clem. Althea can barely take care of herself with all the medications she is on, and never wanted a child. She knows that Oliver has been there for all of her suicide attempts and figures she will try because if she tries he won’t leave her but trying is Althea’s strong suit – succeeding is simply out of her reach.
As Althea leaves the hospital on her 37th year, she decides that this summer she will be what Oliver and Clem want her to be: a devoted mother and wife. As the family retreats to their East Hampton summer home, Oliver decides that Althea will get no summer help this year to take care of Clem. Althea will have to handle Clem herself. Althea cannot even go to the fridge and get a bottle of water – she is that depressed – but she resolves that she will change this summer.
As one plan turns into another, Althea struggles through the summer. First there is an amazing painter named Maze who simply turns Althea on. Oliver has found an interior decorator, Claire, to not only have an affair with but to bring home to live with them and redo the East Hampton house. Althea is getting exhausted. Until…
Darling and dark and funny, If You Left explores a dysfunctional family pivoting around a bipolar mother and as Althea gains strength to fight back, we back her up and shout out to her. Ms. Norton presents a novel both entertaining and rare and current, and as Althea comes out of her fog and becomes a woman for the first time, we all rage to rage with her.
Lovely and daring.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A”
We received a product to facilitate our review. All opinions are our own
- You can pick up this book on Amazon.com here: If You Left or at a bookseller near you.