IF YOU LEFT by Ashley Prentice Norton & Giveaway


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. Ashley Prentice Norton has written such novel, IF YOU LEFT (MarinerBooks) and it’s been published this week. It’s a courageous narrative, especially since Ashley’s open about having the disease herself.

“When Althena was released from the hospital this time, she wasn’t exactly sick, but she wasn’t exactly well. She facetiously said she was just swell when asked. She would have to go back to the hospital for after-care outpatient treatment that would supposedly give her life skills to function like a normal person.”                                                         IF YOU LEFT (MarinerBooks)

Althea Willows attempts to kill herself for the fifth time at the beginning of IF YOU LEFT. Her husband, Oliver goes through the routine of packing her bag, taking her to the hospital and waiting several days until she can leave. Once released, he proceeds with his part of the relationship, by silently punishing her. He openly cheats with other women and acts passive-aggressively towards her. Althea and Oliver have been married for six years.

Althea suffers from clinical manic depression and is on a cocktail of anti-psychotic drugs. Oliver has stayed by her side since the manic episodes started two years into their marriage. Althea doesn’t understand why he stays, but she’s afraid to ask. They have a ten-year old adopted daughter, Clem who Althea is afraid of. Clem is very smart and prone to irony and sarcasm.

They decide to decorate their beach house and Oliver offers Claire from the office to help. Althea is not happy with the idea, but goes along with it, until she doesn’t. Claire is sent back to the City, Oliver is angry and heads back, too, Clem and Althea stay.

Soon a young 21-year old boy named, Maze is hired to paint several rooms at the Willows’ beach home. Well, you may think you know where this is going, but don’t be so sure. I thought I did and I was wrong.

Miss Athena’s choices surprised me at the end. I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad. I want to believe she mentally grew and became a stronger person that summer out in East Hampton. You’ll have to decide for yourself, when you read IF YOU LEFT.

Pop this one in your beach-bag and take it out to the pool or down to the shore. Don’t forget your sunscreen.


For all things Ashley, check out her Facebook page and Twitter @AshleyPNorton

Ashley Prentice Norton is married with three wonderful children and a career. She lives in NYC.

Thanks to Ashley and her very cool publicist, Leyane, we have one copy of IF YOU LEFT to give away (US only, please). Leave a comment about what comes into your mind when you hear the word depression. I think of antidepressants. We’ll choose a winner Monday.

If you or anyone you knows feels depressed, its important you reach out and speak with a family member or a doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, there are anonymous crisis phone numbers you can call. The Lifeline Crisis Chat is: 1-800-273-TALK. It’s completely anonymous.

20 thoughts on “IF YOU LEFT by Ashley Prentice Norton & Giveaway

  1. When I hear the word depression, I immediately think of one of my closest friends. She suffers greatly from depression, and the last few months have been excruciating for her.


  2. When I hear depression, I think of my career (psychologist). I treasure books like this that open up conversations about depression and hopefully help everyone who experiences these feelings know they are not alone. Thanks for sharing this book with us, Cindy.


  3. When I hear depression, I realize how many people suffer while being told to “get over it” and how that has to change …….hopefully soon.


  4. What do I think of when I hear the word depression? I think of myself and how the last 6-8 years have been nothing shy of a hellish nightmare. With depression, people tend to have anxiety, fears, panic, and OCD. Some even have them all…hooray for me.
    So, when I hear depression, to sum it up, I guess I think struggle. It needs to be spoken of a whole lot more than it is because right now, there’s such a horrible stigma attached. I’m glad to see that Ashley Norton and so many other authors are writing about it and sharing their stories with the world.


  5. When I hear the word “depression,” I think back to my Chicano Studies course in college. I learned that it has to do with a chemical imbalance. It’s sad knowing many people go through it.


  6. When I think of depression, what comes to mind, is being in therapy, taking medications, withdrawals that happen instantaneously if you skip two days without taking your medicine. I know this because I’ve suffered from depression since I was in 5th grade. I recently stopped therapy back in April after 5 years of therapy with the best therapist I have ever met! I stopped because it was time and my therapist needed to take care of herself! She had to because she was going through a difficult time and she was also getting married. I remember my first time with her, my mom was in the room, we both sat on opposite ends of the couch, sobbing. The first couple sessions, all we did was cry. Thanks to therapy, I have come so far! I’m proud of the woman I am today and also the woman I’m still becoming.


  7. When I hear the word depression , I think of help. Helping friends when they need it, them helping me or helping friends get professional help they need.


  8. When I hear the word depression, I think of a person that doesn’t know if they have the strength to face the day ahead of them. Everything feels to overwhelming to them, they just want to stay in bed and sleep or simply just watch TV. They are down in the dumps and don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. They probably suffer from anxiety, deep bouts of dark depression, social phobias, and many other things. Their hygiene probably is lacking as well. It is hard to see someone you love suffering through these symptoms, but it is very important to talk to them and to make sure you get them some help. Getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself if you are depressed.


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