Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Mirror World of Melody Black

by Gavin Extence
294 pgs

The sequence of events that ended with Abby, a twenty-something freelance writer, being committed to a psychiatric hospital began with her discovering a dead body. She went across the hall to her neighbor Simon's apartment to borrow a can of tomatoes and discovered him dead in his chair.

Surprisingly, Abby didn't exhibit any emotions when she found Simon. She even smoked one of his cigarettes before she returned to her own apartment to tell her boyfriend Beck that she didn't get the tomatoes because Simon was dead. But shortly afterwards, Abby begins spiraling out of control. For the next few days Abby is extremely manic, followed by weeks of extreme depression.

Diagnosed as bipolar, Abby begins the slow road back to recovery with the help of her doctor and Melody Black, another patient in the hospital whom Abby forms a quick friendship with, and who shares with Abby a theory that gives Abby a unique perspective into her mental health and an explanation for her recent behavior.

As a sufferer himself of manic depression, I can't imagine anyone else better qualified than Gavin Extence to tell this story. It's a story that immediately draws you in and entertains. You quickly begin to care about Abby, and you feel for her as her behavior and decisions go from mere quirkiness to outright dangerous. Gavin Extence is a young writer, and this is only his second book. Based on it and its predecessor, I'll be reading books by him for many years to come.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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