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Book description

“They say they love you and then they leave.”O lord have mercy on my romantic soul, what a stroke of genius. W/ sensitivity & pinpoint accuracy, MC captures the unflinching snapshot of Bipolar aka Manic depressive disorder. U can tell she has done her homework. She illustrates so eloquently the harrowing experience, the symptoms & manifestations of this illness thru’ the visions of “Mad Jonas” & those around him. Compulsive shopping : check. Uncontrollable rages : check. Volatile mood swings : check. Restless desperation : check. Severe depression : check. It’s a fascinating character study & it’s bleak, haunting, poignant, heartbreaking & capped off w/ an achingly sweet ending. The book shows how the debilitating disease takes its toll, the wear & tear on friendships & relationships are not watered down. Yep, I’d consider this 1 of DIKs worthy of risking my Rhino skin & running back to a burning house for. Jonas is a temperamental (mental being the operative word) painter & doesn’t have a support system other than his BFF, Rico, who’s stood by him thru’ the ups & downs. Rico even fesses up that he needs to escape to Paris once a year to preserve his sanity. Scheduling / mapping out his life is a foreign concept to Jonas, ‘cuz he doesn’t know what’s gonna happen today / tomorrow. He doesn’t have the power to switch his illness on & off. Nobody does. When it strikes, it’s like a train w/ failed brakes. U sense the dread & the ominous feeling that when the shit hits the fan, those in the vicinity had bettah take cover ‘cuz Jonas becomes a menace to himself & whoevah is w/in the line of fire. 1 moment he’s there & the next, we witness from point-blank view his headlong descent into 1 of his vicious, tummy-flipping cycles. In a pit of despair, Jonas thought the only way out was to end it all himself, hence his missing left hand. He’s still a whisker away from giving in to the yawning abyss. U can search every nook & cranny of romancelandia, U’ll nevah find a soul more butchered than Jonas’s. Genie has always been branded as a perpetual failure & a misfit her entire life. She grew up in an oppressive environment where favoritism was alive & kickin’. Being excluded / ignored / belittled / derided has been her daily penance. Nuffink she did was evah good enuff & even after her sista Xpired from Cholera, she still came up short. Her sista’s fiancé was a user who only wanted Genie as his bed warmer. She’s always on the outside looking in, invisible & a non-entity. In a desperate bid to score higher in daddy dearest’s over-critical eyes, she’s determined to learn painting under the tutelage of Jonas. Just like all lifelong abuse victims, Genie’s dad has hammered @ her self-esteem. Unbeknownst to Genie, her Godfather – Jonas’s patron - coerces Jonas into accepting Genie as 1 of his students. Watching Jonas gradually consumed by Genie is a thing of a beauty. MC puts us in Jonas’s shoes in a fluid, concise, matter-of-fact way, the perilous journey to HEA is not simply a straight point A to point B. MC doesn’t veer away to preachyville & doesn’t go overboard in depicting his madness. All along the well-constructed road to HEA, we’re made to feel the agony & taste the tangible fear as we watch his wretched existence, his unpredictable lapses & his struggle in picking up the bits & pieces in the aftermath. H/h don’t exactly “click” on their initial meeting. His 1st impression of her is this non-descript chick’s simply a waste of his time & talent. He utilizes all kinds of arsenals in trying to shoo her away to no avail. He acts like a nasty SOB, picks her apart, launches not-so-constructive criticisms, employs intimidation tactics, mockery, ridicule, condescension, flirtation etc. Genie is flustered by his attentions but soldiers on. She surprises & intrigues him w/ her tenacity. She shows him she’s made of sterner stuff & she’s not going anywhere despite his sneaky ways. It unsettles & infuriates Jonas that Genie’s not a quitter & doesn’t shrink away from the challenges he throws @ her. Esp after Genie inadvertently sees his missing left hand, she starts to look @ him as just a vulnerable man & he loses his aura of intimidation.Like a bolt of lightning – ding ding ding ! Jonas realizes she’s the “it” gal, his muse, his Goddess, his butterfly & becomes obsessed w/ her. He finally catches a glimmer of hope that maybe… just maybe, he can have a future, lead a normal life, have a wife & kids. The palpable longing for what seemed impossible before is a gut-wrencher. Genie is the light in his darkness, even tho’ she’s ill-equipped in diffusing the uncomfortable situations Jonas puts her thru’. She doesn’t know how to keep his madness @ bay & halt his downward spiral. All she can do is being there when needed.For the 1st time in her life, Genie feels needed. Jonas shows to her in more ways than 1 that there’s more to her than meets the eye (cue Xtina Aguilera’s sappy ballad – “Beautiful”). After witnessing 1st hand Jonas in the grip of his manic episode, Genie starts to 2nd-guess herself & wonders if all the adulation is just his disease talking, if this disorder has colored his perception of her (she gets her answers by the verra end). She can relate to Jonas’s pain & isolation, she’s been a sacrificial lamb all her life, trying in vain to mold herself into someone she could nevah be, just to win approval. In the end, she realizes that she can nevah compete w/ Chloe’s memory no matter how hard she tries. It’s pointless anyway ‘cuz her father is dead-set on seeing her as a 2nd fiddle to Chloe. She finds herself @ a cross-road : A) She can take charge of her life & prove how indispensable she can be, simply by loving Jonas, or, B) She can nilly-willy go back to Nashville w/ her father & resume being her father’s mental punching bag.This timeless masterpiece is like manna from heaven, as I luv an Xtra dark romance filled w/ a tortured hero, a heroine worthy of being his lifeline & a message that “hope springs eternal”. It makes U count your blessings that we live in this day & age where Insurance covers for meds & there’s a plethora of more pro-active treatments. How amazing it is to realize how much your quality of life depends on a healthy mind. This disquieting romance was engrossing from the get-go & has a healthy dose of realism. The ending shows there’s no insta cure for the paralyzing disease. Jonas’s health & sanity may be dented but w/ Genie’s unconditional luv, he can survive anyfink.

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