Title: Mental Pause
Author: Anne O’Connell
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary Woman’s Fiction
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble
About the Book:
Abbie Slocum, a forty-something, average, middle of the road, housewife and mother of teenage twin boys, tries desperately to keep her outwardly idyllic life together while spiralling into a dark pit of menopausal insanity. Her mind races with suicidal, murderous thoughts so outside of her normal character that it frightens her. The only person she can share the graphic images from her hormonally addled mind with is her best friend, Rachel, recently separated, and the mysterious and titillating Joan, a new friend from Rachel’s singles support group.
Women have survived this female passage of life since the beginning of time! Why was Abbie having so much trouble handling it? As the battle to maintain her sanity rages on, Abbie, Rachel and Joan stumble into unfortunate, borderline comical, circumstances that lead to wild nights, experimenting with drugs and two suspicious deaths. Abbie’s cop husband, Conrad, tries desperately to understand what’s happening to his normally sweet wife. While vying for promotion, his family gets embroiled in a media frenzy that swirls around a murder trial in which Abbie is the primary suspect. Abbie takes the reader on an old jalopy ride of uncharacteristic outbursts and wild escapism that leads to tragedy and finally, into court where she just might have to plead ‘temporary insanity’.
This debut offering from independent author Anne O’Connell is poignant, funny, shocking and provides a moment of “maybe I’m NOT the crazy one here” for readers. Abbie is peri-menopausal with all of the symptoms that are alluded to, but never wholly defined or described to women in a way that every reader can empathize, sympathize or nod their head in agreement. Wholesale personality changes have taken over the formerly competent and functional wife and mother, and no one seems to understand why: least of all her.
Sometimes completely sobering then venturing into almost farcical situations, Abbie and her cohorts wander into situations and circumstances as they ‘go with’ their curiosity and let their impulses take command of their adventures. Unfortunately, being the chief suspect in a murder trial doesn’t soothe Abbie’s frayed emotions or ally her symptoms, and everyone is wondering if she truly is insane.
Mixing humor, real life symptoms and extreme reactions, O’Connell manages to create Abbie into a character that speaks to many, stronger than she appears yet wholly fragile and driven by impulses that she doesn’t always understand she is delightfully wacky and fun while still maintaining a sense of realness. The outrageous circumstances behind the murder charge, and the husband that is a cop and completely confused but trying to be supportive are well-played and keep the reader entertained even as we know that she is not the murderer. Friends also play a large part in this story: finally at the point where women are less about ‘competition’ and more about support and real friendship – it was nice to see a portrayal of female relationships that didn’t digress into mean-girl syndrome: where the bond and the support were more important to all of the friends.
I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
Author and freelance writer, Anne O’Connell, has been an expat since 1993 when she and her husband escaped the cold of Toronto, Canada and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They enjoyed the sun and sand for 14 years, while she worked in the PR field, and then decided it was time for a new adventure. Heading for even more sun and sand, they moved to Dubai in late 2007 and then on to Thailand in 2011. Anne has been working as a freelance copywriter, writing coach and consultant since 2007, specializing in social media, marketing, corporate communications and public relations. She is a regular contributor to Global Living Magazine and Expat Focus. In between clients she squeezes in time for her newly found passion – writing fiction. She and her husband have a passion for travel as well and that adventurous spirit has taken them all over the world. Anne grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has a bachelor of public relations from Mount St. Vincent University. She is the author of @Home in Dubai… Getting Connected Online and on the Ground; 10 Steps to a Successful PR Campaign – a Do-it-Yourself Guide for Authors; and Mental Pause, her first novel.