OF MARGARET AND MADNESS by Stephen Jon and Guia Diño Postal Postal

OF MARGARET AND MADNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A disturbed Toronto teen draws a young American hippie into her crazy world.

Inspired by the tragic life of Margaret Gibson, a Canadian novelist who suffered from severe mental illness, the Postals take artistic license with their examination of author Stephen’s life and loves. In the dedication, Stephen Postal claims to have had a close relationship with Margaret. Written with his wife, the Postals deliver a beautiful young woman who thrives on drama in this interpretation of her life. Enter Margaret Carrington, an imbalanced teenager who is happiest when surrounded by a cast of cockamamie characters. Much of the narrative focuses on the relationship between Margaret and her lover Steve Mansfield (presumably modeled after Stephen Postal). Steve is always up for a lark, so when prospective jobs within the Canadian library system become available for him and his wife, the Mansfields head north from Florida in search of adventure. After landing a job at the Scarborough Library System, Steve meets Margaret, who, at that point, is an oversexed high school dropout yet to venture into literary pursuits. She latches onto Steve with an iron grip, and he willingly gets sucked into her wild existence. Margaret seems to only have one speed–fast–and one volume–loud. Much like the book’s main character, there is little subtlety or nuance in the writing. Set during the Vietnam War, the authors take on such meaty themes as draft dodging, homosexuality, rape and mental illness but do not capably tackle these serious subjects with the requisite skill and gravity readers would expect. The authors also take many liberties–the book is chock full of sex, drugs and madness, but little else. Marred by incoherent and unintelligible passages, this potentially engaging narrative’s substance is often buried in garbled prose.

A look at life and love that falls short of expectations.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4343-6229-2
Program: Kirkus Indie
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