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If You Left

3.01  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A seductive novel about a privileged but damaged Manhattan wife whose main source of stability — her marriage — comes under threat, from forces both without and within.

For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. T
...more
Paperback, 241 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Mariner Books
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Morelia (Strandedinbooks)
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A big thank you to Netgalley for an early copy!

Okay, I really can't stop thinking about this one. I really enjoyed it! This is the first book I've read that deals with mental illness.

Althea is a privileged woman with a bipolar disorder who relies on her marriage to get her through. She soon decides that she should try to be there for her husband, Oliver, and spice things up in her marriage as well as become a more hands-on mother with her daughter, Clem.

I really enjoyed getting into Althea's min
...more
Ema
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it
If You Left/Ashley Prentice Norton A seductive novel about a privileged but damaged Manhattan wife whose main source of stability — her marriage — comes under threat, from forces both without and within.
For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving
...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, fiction
"If You Left" is the story of Althea, a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder. She is married to Oliver, a man who up until recently has seemed to tolerate Althea's illness well. Sure, he cheats on her constantly and approaches women in front of her but he seems to not be bothered by her illness and the way she acts. A lot of the book centers on Althea falling apart when she thinks her marriage may finally be over and she takes a lover of her own.

Althea is a fascinating character. I really lik
...more
Sophie
May 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars
ARC was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

As You Left is a novel that follows Althea; a married, wealthy, New Yorker. Althea suffers from manic depression disorder and the only stability in her life is her husband Oliver. Due to her disorder, her marriage suffers and she decides that she will finally become the perfect wife and mother. Time passing has shown that things have changed, Oliver is distant, Clem (her daughter) is only 9 years old and has grown to be sel
...more
ElroyStrongjaws
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was so good when it was about being a neurotic artist and being stifled by marriage. I just can't get behind any sort of passion narrative that involves listening to The Dave Matthews Band as being something sexy.
Cindy Roesel
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading fiction is a wonderful way to learn about the problems many of us encounter in REAL life. For instance, more people talk freely about domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse now that it’s in the public conscience, and a frequent topic in popular fiction. But I haven’t read anything about clinical depression, also known as manic depression or bi-polar depression, especially from the point-of-view of the person with the disease. IF YOU LEFT (MarinerBooks) by author, Ashley Prentice Norto ...more
Stephanie
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
IF YOU LEFT Made Me Want to Go
http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201...

Please remember while reading this that "Liking" is entirely subjective.

Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


I was going to use my “ho-hum” icon for this book but I realized that “ho-hum” or “meh”were not strong enough to describe my dislike of this story. Really, I had to create a “Dislike” icon for the very first time.

I liked n
...more
June J.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to June by: Review Requested by Publisher
Althea Willow is the 38-year-old main protagonist of "If You Left", a disturbing novel by Ashley Prentice Norton. Her moods wildly pendulum back and forth between extreme poles of depression and elation. What she calls, respectively, the Tombs and the Visions. She is, in fact, bi-polar. As long as she stays on her meds, she’s fine. Most of the time. Except when she forgets.

Her husband, Oliver, a bit of a prick, is a most attentive caretaker. Most of the time. But he does treat Althea like a chil
...more
Jennifer Garnick
Jul 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
I am going to be completely honest. I did not like this book at all. Normally, I can find at least one or two things about a book that I can say “Oh, well at least that part was good.” With this book there wasn’t a single redeeming quality.

It starts out with Althea Willow, a wealthy housewife with several mental illnesses. Being someone who is familiar with mental illness, that part did not bother me at all. The first chapter begins with a suicide attempt that Althea survives even though she end
...more
Mary
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Althea Willow has suffered with bipolar disorder most of her life, with her husband Oliver being her primary caretaker/stabilizer. She has been hospitalized many times during their marriage, and Oliver knows exactly what to do, which things to pack, and how to explain her repeated absences to their nine-year-old daughter, Clem. Althea tries to be the perfect wife and mother, as expected in their upscale Manhattan circle, but she fails miserably time after time.

Deciding that a remodel of their su
...more
Jael
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every year I read at least one book that I am totally floored by. It's so good, that it's hard for me to find fault. So far this year, If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton is that book. It might not be the popular opinion, but I loved this book.

Althea and Oliver Willow's marriage is on the brink. Althea suffers from mental illness. She has her somewhat good periods, called the Visions. And she has her really bad periods, called the Tombs. She has been in and out of mental health facilities. She
...more
Kimmy
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
WOW were the characters in If You Left unlikeable. I mean, damn, I don't know if I've ever stumbled across more self-centered protagonists in my entire reading career! Luckily, I'm not one of those people who needs a character to be "good" in order for me to like the book. This one pulled me right in and kept me reading so much so that I finished it in three sittings. It probably didn't hurt that there was a solid 20 pages or so that were basically straight up erotica. I wish I could put into wo ...more
Cheryl
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
First off I am not knocking anyone who id dealing with a mental illness like Althea in this book. In fact, I thought that she was the only interesting person in this book. The rest fell flat as did the story for me. At first I was intrigued by the story but after the first couple of chapters my excitement quickly went away and I found it harder to read this book. I got almost half way and put the book down. From what I did read however if I had been more engaged in the rest of the characters in ...more
Beth
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Two words: sophomore slump. The crackling promise of the author's first book is not realized in this second effort. There are three potentially interesting story lines tangled together here, but none of them are realized in any substantive way and the result is a frustrating...a tepid effort, with flashes of hot brilliance that make you realize what could have been.
Meghan Becker
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Highly disappointing. I loved this author's first book, The Chocolate Money, and had high hopes for this one but it didn't live up.
Nicole Price
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Awful
Jill Black
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very good description in helping understand mental illness.
Diane Yancilla Zuchnik
This is an honest look at subjects that often do not appear in at least books I have read. The main character suffers from bipolar mental illness and is the voice of this story. It is a contemporary look at the daily grind of coping with it in a real time way. Parts of it were funny and a bit caring worthy! I could relate on a number of levels.
Michelle
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Pretty intense book. The main character, Aleitha, is exhausting.
Miriam Downey
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

If You Left by Ashley Norton is definitely not a beach read on a holiday weekend in the most beautiful setting on earth—Lake Michigan.

That being said, If You Left is a disturbing and realistic look at mental illness from the perspective of probably the most narcissistic and self-absorbed woman I have ever read about, with the possible exception of Madame Bovary.

Althea is bipolar and fluctuates from depressive and manic states. Sh
...more
Victoria Colotta
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book Review

If You Left is a raw, darkly witty, and poignant look inside the head and world of a woman struggling with bipolar disorder and the toll is takes on her family and those around her.

Althea is a woman that has her problems. Not only is she stuck in a marriage that should have most likely ended years ago, but is also has a severe mental disorder that clouds her mind when things get too much to handle. In this book you will follow her down a path that, though paved with good intentions, tends to get
...more
Michelle Regan
Feb 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ugh...another Book Club selection that was a waste of time!

The story:

I was intrigued at first with Althea and her life with being bi-polar. My first impression of her husband, Oliver, was dead wrong. The story just went down hill...spiraling down to a terrible ending.

The writing:

Awful sums it up. Switching back and forth between first person and third person, no quotations used for conversation, just italics. I often had to re-read portions to figure out if the character said something out lou
...more
Elise
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-authors
If You Left is a story of a struggling (read “failing”) marriage, but more than that, it’s a story of courage and freedom. When Althea, a bipolar photographer, realizes that her swings to and from manic/depressive states may be convincing her husband Oliver to leave her, she begins a last-ditch journey to develop a relationship with the daughter she has never learned to love. However, when spending her summer vacation with her daughter, a tight-lipped painter with a scarred bicep plants a seed w ...more
Diane
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it
If You Left is the story of a marriage, a marriage that begins with promise until mental illness surfaces. Oliver and Althea Willows seem to have a good marriage, at least to some outsiders. They live in Manhattan and have a summer home at the beach but, Althea has suffered from mental illness, bipolar disorder, for most of their marriage. Throughout each suicide attempt, and hospitalization, her husband has been her rock. Despite her illness, Oliver wants to have a child but, Althea's daily coc ...more
Tonya
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
A seductive novel about a privileged but damaged Manhattan wife whose main source of stability — her marriage — comes under threat, from forces both without and within.

For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the r
...more
Kristine
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Never pick up a book based on its cover, right? Well, this is what I did, lured in by the cover's pool setting and an inviting lounge chair. (In my defense, it was a hot day.) While I did read all the way to the last page, at times the book felt like a David Lynch film, filled with sexual tension, erratic characters and a fuzzy line between reality and imagination. Norton's snark and sense of humor are stellar and literally bring the book to life, particularly when paired with prose-like sentenc ...more
Rebecca
May 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. If You Left details a women named Althea and her struggle with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, none of the characters in the book were likable (except the ten-year-old daughter Clementine), which made it really hard to sympathize with their struggles. Althea's complete dissociation from her family, her husbands affairs, and the pettiness of the supporting characters made this book very difficult to read. I do feel that the author did a wonderful job of portray ...more
nukie19
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways, 2016
2 stars for this just being ok. I thought the idea of the novel was better than the execution and by the time anything finally happened at the end of the book, it felt rushed and a bit unfinished. The first 2/3rds of the book set up our understanding of the main character, a Manhattan wife with bipolar disorder. By the time the last 1/3rd actually allowed her to start living outside of that diagnosis, it was a disappointment to only get that amount of time watching her grow independently of her ...more
Lauren
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Norton's The Chocolate Money was one of the best novels I read last year. I still think about Babs, her wild character, as well as the vivid world she painted in high society Chicago. I was really looking forward to reading her next book, even if it wouldn't be quite as strong. If you Left seemed to be written by a different author. There were no memorable characters or descriptions. The writing did move along nicely and I wasn't bored, but was surprised by how unimpressive it ended up being.
MiniMe
Jul 18, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
The book blurb drew me in. The story didn't hold me. Initially, I sympathized with a woman struggling with her bipolar condition and suicidal tendencies. But, my sympathy waned as she revealed her internal landscape--which was so desolate it was depressing. I was about 1/3rd of the way in when I just couldn't read any more. Her inability to function. Her real or imagined philandering husband. Her adopted daughter she didn't like. It was just too dark for relaxing reading and certainly not a jour ...more
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