Review: Necessary Madness by Jenn Crowell

Necessary Madness by Jenn Crowell

Necessary Madness is a character-driven novel about a woman in London surviving after her husband dies from cancer. Gloria Burgess lives with her 7 year-old son, but she’s doing a poor job of everything due to her grief. She’s planning a retrospective of his artwork with his colleague. There isn’t much plot in the present. Every other chapter is a flashback to the past. The reader gets to see Gloria’s unhealthy relationship with her father, her refusal to talk to her mother after her father’s suicide, and her development of her relationship with Bill, her husband.

I am not a fan of character-driven books, but I did find Gloria’s unintentional following in her parents footsteps (in some ways) to be intriguing. I also had to keep reading to see how things would develop with her current relationships with her son, her mother, and her husband’s colleague. This book was short, so I didn’t get too frustrated with the large percentage of text devoted to the back story. If you enjoy characterizations, you may like this one more than I did, but ultimately, it didn’t stand out to me.

Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.

Necessary Madness
Jenn Crowell
Carnelian Press
September 5, 2016

After nine short but blissful years of marriage, American expat Gloria Burgess's world shatters when her British artist husband dies of leukemia. Estranged from her mother, utterly alone in her adopted home of London, she must now struggle to raise her young son on her own -- and fight the temptation to sink into the self-absorption of grief that once drove her father to suicide.

As she puts on a retrospective of her late husband's work, Gloria finds solace in the form of an empathetic friendship with a charming widower, and agrees to let her mother cross the Atlantic to stay with her for their first visit in a decade. The reunion could drive the wedge between them deeper ... or offer Gloria a priceless opportunity for regaining equilibrium and wholeness. Will she seize the opportunity, or turn her back on a new beginning?

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