When we left Suzanne Vale at the end of Carrie Fisher’s bestselling Postcards from the Edge, she had survived drug abuse, rehab, and Hollywood celebrity. The Best Awful takes Suzanne back to the edge with a new set of troubles—not the least of which is that her studio executive husband turned out to be gay and has left her for a man.
Lonely for a man herself, Suzanne decides that her medication is cramping her style, and she goes off her meds—with disastrous results. The “manic” side of the illness convinces her it would be a good idea to get a tattoo, cut off her hair, and head to Mexico with a burly ex-con and a stash of OxyContin. As she wakes up in Tijuana, the “depressive” side kicks in, leading Suzanne through a series of surreal psychotic episodes before landing her in a mental hospital. With the help of her movie star mom, a circle of friends, and even her ex-husband, she begins the long journey back to sanity.
She has done pretty well at staying off the drugs, until…Yes, going off of the bipolar medication is a familiar tale for those with the illness. Life seems less wonderful when the journey turns flat and joyless.
How does Suzanne’s quest for a new man, while enjoying the ups and downs she experiences without the medications, turn into disaster? How does she find herself sliding down the surreal rabbit hole once again?
The Best Awful is a fictionalized tale filled with some of the author’s own experiences. As a result, we are gifted with an authentic journey through the meltdowns, the chaos, and life in a mental hospital. Fisher knows firsthand what her protagonist is going through, and we are rooting for Suzanne as she struggles. I enjoyed this book, although it wasn’t my favorite from the author. 4.5 stars.