Book Review: Brownie Fix – Ellen Cardona

Brownie Fix
About Brownie Fix (2011)
Brownie FixChocolate. Love. Sex. Really, what else could a woman want in life? For Persey, the heroine of Brownie Fix, her days are fun-filled until what is normally one of life’s most fulfilling experiences, the birth of her son, leads her straight into a dark state of postpartum depression.

Wandering in her own postpartum hell, Persey meets people that are absurd, like the swinging neighbors who want a little more than a cup of sugar and a group of mothers who become whipped up in worship to a climactic furor. On top of the madness, she keeps seeing a yellow-toothed old man who acts like he wants to breastfeed from her. Or is it her imagination? Add the voices in her head that become louder and louder, and it’s little wonder that Persey reaches for brownie mix to soothe her insanity.

Buckling under the pressure and lack of sleep from motherhood, Persey experiences the five stages of grief that lead her to uncover a buried secret, and gradually she begins to heal with the help of her family, friends, and, of course, brownies.

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Review: Brownie Fix

Persey is a woman who seems to have it all but life takes a terrible turn when she loses her first child to a tragic miscarriage. Many months later, she is blessed with a healthy baby boy but a combination of grief and postnatal depression make it impossible for her to cope. Instead, she turns to things that she must know cannot help her long term but which are doubtless momentarily satisfying: brownies and self-harming. Unfortunately, when the brownies lead to her putting on weight and the guilt about her self-harming accumulates, her situation only worsens. As her family struggle to know how to cope and provide comfort, Persey has two choices: let grief and pain overwhelm her or begin the immense fight to get her life back.

Reading Brownie Fix was an unusual experience of pleasure and pain. The book is remarkably well written. Funny, tragic and poignant, this story portrays so much anguish and suffering in such a brutal way – and yet every word, every letter, rings with truth. Persey’s story is presented without judgements or moralising but simply with the clearly underscored message: how can you possibly understand that much pain until you have felt it.

Ellen Cardona’s tale of Persey’s travel through a personal hell to get to the other side is a remarkably accomplished book. If you have had any experience of depression, you will doubtless find this difficult to read and yet, at the same time, revel in the fact that someone has captured those darkest thoughts and dared to present them in a way that defies condemnation. This is a book that has been written with heart and soul and should be read with both to fully appreciate it.

Verdict: 4/5

(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)

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Donna Brown

Ever developing teacher and learner (online and offline!). Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.
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