The Best Awful tells the
story of a Suzanne Vale's manic episode, during which she runs off to Mexico
while high on drugs. She crashes and returns home to California and is
desperately suicidal. Her personal life is a mess, since her former husband
Leland left her for another man. Her young daughter Honey is worried by her
bizarre behavior. Suzanne reaches out to a number of people for help and of
course she eventually stabilizes.
Fisher's writing style is lively
and gives a strong sense of Suzanne's frenetic thinking style. Suzanne has a
strong sense of irony and a dramatic style. Her heroine, Suzanne is a former
celebrity who has become an interviewer of celebrities, so Fisher is writing
about a world she knows about. It is hard to know to what extent the novel is
based on Fisher's own life, but it is tempting to speculate. Given the book
has a Hollywood setting, it will be hard for most readers to directly identify
with its characters. Indeed, it is not a work that sheds any profound insight
on the nature of mental illness or coping with dysfunctional families, but it
is energetic and basically cheerful.
Fisher herself reads the audiobook,
and the actress is good at her job. The story moves along quickly, and
listening to Fisher's performance is enjoyable.
© 2004 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.