Alice’s mother is the queen of romance novels. Literally. She has an award and everything. While the idea of a famous mother is great, reality isn’t quite the same. Instead of having a wonderful and exciting life, Alice is forced to forge autographs on books, reply to fan mail and to deal with her mother’s publisher, who have no idea what’s really going on.
When Alice finds out that her mother owes the publishers another book or will have to repay the huge advance, she knows she has to do something drastic. She is going to have to write the new book herself. Just when Alice thinks she is doomed to fail, help turns up in the form of a mysterious boy, Errol, who claims to be Cupid himself. Cupid doesn’t really exist though…does he?
What I thought
Mad Love was a book I had never heard of before and from an author I had also never heard of before but as soon as it came through the door, I was very curious about it. The cover, pink, red and white, immediately backs up what this book is about. Love. I don’t think there could be any mistakes about this due to the colour theme and the title.
While this is a book about love, it also addresses a serious issue, mental illness. Alice, the main character, is having to hold down the fort for her romance writer mum who, unknown to hardly anyone, has bipolar disorder. With her mum in a hospital for treatment, Alice is pretty much on her own with the exception of a few good neighbours who are trying to help her out as much as possible. What they don’t know is that the publishers want (more like demand) a new book from Alice’s mum as they have already issued her advance. With all of this going on around Alice, she struggles to cope and finds that her strong will to get by alone isn't working out so well for her anymore.
Then comes Errol. He claims to be Cupid and originally wants Alice’s mother to write the story of his life for him. His love story. When he finds Alice at a book signing her mother was meant to attend, he has no choice but to ask her to do it instead. Errol, seeming quite insane, doesn't make the best first impression on Alice and she is reluctant to help him, until he shoots her with a love dart. Although he claimed to be Cupid, I wasn’t expecting this at all, for him to use his gift for selfish reasons but it turned out to be extremely funny. To see Alice infatuated with Errol and willing to do anything for him and to anyone who got in her way was hilarious and really gave the book a lighter feel.
The secondary characters in this book are really what makes it great instead of good. Living in the same apartment building as Alice are a whole range of characters, both young and old, who are all so different. Realm is the only person around Alice’s age but they are compete opposites and the two don’t really get along very well, giving some great tension and bickering between them. Mrs Bobot is like a mother to Alice, always being there when she needs help and trying to keep things as normal as possible under the extreme circumstances. Then there is Tony, Alice’s skateboarding crush who she watches out of the window at the same time each day. There is so much more going on in this book than Errol’s story and Alice’s mother having bi polar. Secondary characters each have their own little stories going on which tie in nicely with the main plot and merge everyone together.
I initially thought that Mad Love was going to be a basic romance story but it was so much more than that. It is about opening to new ideas about love, opening up to let love in and to love other people but also about unconditional love for those who are not so easy to love at times, even if they are family members. Mad Love is a touching story about love lost and love found that manages to mix serious with hilarious. Highly recommended.