Have you ever struggled with something that no one seemed to understand? That’s the case with Maggie in Defective, who is just learning that her “drama” is actually Bipolar II Disorder.
There are two main plotlines that interweave to tell Maggie’s story. She’s in the process of finding out that her good days and her “episodes” have a name and medications that may help. She’s also just lost her fiance because of these “episodes” and is fighting to win him back despite the fact that he’s already found another woman. We follow Maggie through one heartbreak after another as she overcomes these obstacles and learns how to have a “normal” life.
We follow the life and struggles of Maggie, who is not only trying to finish law school, but trying to win back her fiance and find a way to be “normal” when her brain wants to act otherwise. Maggie has several supportive friends and family to help her through this time. And, of course, what’s not to love about Nick, the summer fling who pops up again. The best thing about the book was getting to know Maggie and join in her journey as she tries to figure out who she really is and what to do about it.
I do wish the dialogue were a little smoother. Some of the wording and the repetition of the character’s names in their dialogue made it feel rather stiff, but overall, Sofayov paints a very clear picture of what life is like as someone with Bipolar. She makes you feel Maggie’s frustration at her own mind.
If you ever struggled with a mental illness or know someone who has, this book is a great way to gain some understanding and perspective. As Maggie learns about her illness, then finds out it has run in the family, but was kept as a secret, she has to come to terms with her own limitations and those put on her by others. She wonders if she is lovable and if she should ever have children for fear that she might pass on her “defective” genes. I came away with a much greater understanding of how Bipolar II works and what someone living with it goes through.
The Goodreads Description
University of Pittsburgh law student, Maggie Hovis, battles an enemy she cannot escape-her own brain. Her family calls her a drama queen. Her fiance, Sam, moves out after she throws a shoe at his head. Maggie knows there is only one way to get him back-control her moods. So she takes the step most of her family is against: therapy. After a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder, Maggie begins to investigate her family tree-which is plagued by mental illness and hidden relatives-and develops empathy for her deceased Great Aunt Ella, who lived her life in a mental institution. But Maggie’s journey leads her into fear and insecurity, afraid she’ll end up like Ella and never get Sam back. But what about Nick, her super-sexy old flame, who wants to reignite their passion? And does it even matter, anyway? Won’t mental illness stop any man from loving her?
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Did you read it? What did you think?