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Electric and Mad and Brave (Tom Pitts, Picador)

In Tom Pitts’ debut novel, 28-year-old Matt slogs through painful memories while living in a mental health facility. The story of why he is unwell unfolds through diary entries, which are an attempt to process defining moments of his past. We’re taken back to the beginning of his story, when Matt meets Christina, an exciting, impulsive and adventurous girl. He’s 11 and she’s 12, and as they grow up their lives become entangled and their relationship becomes murky. The two feel an intense love for one another, and their friendships, schooling and everyday lives fade in comparison to what they feel. It soon becomes apparent that their relationship is destructive, and as much as they might have the best of intentions, their worlds crumble because of each other. Pitts’ writing is powerful: he confronts difficult topics such as mental health and memory head-on and does so with kindness and understanding. At first Matt’s diary entries are clear and believable, but as they go on we realise that perhaps we might not be able to trust what he’s telling us. In this way Pitts invites us to reflect on the fragile nature of our own memories, and what we’re willing to hide from ourselves and those around us in order to survive. Electric and Mad and Brave is insightful and beautifully written, and an accurate depiction of the intensity of adolescence.

Danielle Bagnato is a book reviewer and marketing and communications professional.

 

Category: Reviews