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Brownie Fix Paperback – August 28, 2011
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From the Author
Ellen Cardona wrote Brownie Fix to help deal with the postpartum depression she experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark chocolate and even darker humor. Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.
About the Author
Ellen Cardona wrote Brownie Fix to help deal with the postpartum depression she experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark chocolate and even darker humor. When Ellen is not writing, she teaches literature to college freshmen and attempts to help them understand the writing process, though they think she’s crazy because of her love for literature and writing. Ellen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a PhD in Humanities with a specialization in Literature. Even though she has published several academic works on Ezra Pound, she could not ignore her true passion as a fiction writer. Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.
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When the voices clamor too loudly, she begins to seek other distractions, like support groups for moms.
But no matter what she tries, nothing seems to work. The voices point out her failings and seemingly pound her ego until she is almost a total mess. She even begins to mutilate herself. At times she seems suicidal. At one point, with no apparent difficulty, she shares a deep secret from her past with her husband. This part did not ring true for me.
Cardona tells the story in Brownie Fix from Persey's viewpoint, and there are moments of light-heartedness in between the darkest thoughts. But the flipping from one mood to another suggests a definite mood disorder. Eventually, Persey seeks help through therapy, but there is very little accomplished there, and she comes to this decision as one of many other things she tried. Perhaps the author chose not to focus on that process. The fact that she did not shows me that she either believed that Persey could find her own solutions, which she seemingly did in the end; or it exemplified the author's choice to focus primarily on Persey's strengths winning out over her weaknesses.
It was definitely an unusual portrayal of Postpartum Depression, and I would not recommend against it. However, despite the glowing ratings by other reviewers, I could only give this one three stars. Potential readers should check the other reviews and draw their own conclusions.
Brownie Fix is a tragic yet poignant story about a woman dealing with the daunting role of being a new mother while having a severe and debilitating case of postpartum depression. Persey has a wonderful life: a loving and supportive husband named Hayden, a wealthy lifestyle and an artistic career as a painter. But for all that is good in her life, Persey has dark personal issues from her past that continue to plague her psyche: a horrible childhood trauma and voices in her head that inflict emotional and physical pain. Persey lost her first child to a miscarriage, and the grief and loss she felt from that tragedy persists as her second pregnancy advances, she fears that this baby will also die. With the successful birth of their son Ryan, Persey feels like she isn't ready to become a mother, and the frightening tentacles of postpartum depression wraps itself around her. Persey's coping mechanism is eating chocolate brownies (usually the raw brownie mix) and the disturbing act of cutting herself. When she begins to gain weight and her self-infliction escalates and her condition worsens, Persey has to make a choice between allowing the debilitating condition to completely control her, or fight back and reclaim her life.
Brownie Fix was a very difficult book to read, it's disturbing look into the seriousness of postpartum depression and deep traumatic personal issues had me feeling the full spectrum of emotions. While I think that the story was well written, I felt that the book description was misleading, as I did not find anything funny in the portions that contained dark humor. This tragic yet poignant story pulled at my heartstrings, no one should ever have to struggle and suffer through such a debilitating condition. I applaud the author's intention to provide insight and help for other mothers that may be going through postpartum depression through loosely sharing her experience and that of the fictional character's experience, in the hope to show them that they too can get through this traumatic condition.
Brownie Fix is a story of personal turmoil and the battle to fight back, it is an insightful look into a debilitating condition written in a thoughtful way that provides much food for thought.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event.