Thursday, 16 May 2019

Juliet The Maniac by Juliet Escoria @julietescoria BLOG TOUR @melvillehouse #JulietTheManiac

It's 1997, and 14-year-old Juliet has it pretty good. But over the course of the next two years, she rapidly begins to unravel, finding herself in a downward trajectory of mental illness and self-destruction that eventually leads to a 'therapeutic boarding school' in rural Oregon. 
From there, deep in the woods of the Northwest, comes an explosive portrayal of teenage life from the perspective of The Bad Friend, and a poignant reflection that refuses the traditional recovery arc. 
Like Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Cat Marnell's How to Murder Your Life, Juliet the Maniac offers no clear answers, no definitive finish-line, just the wise acceptance of the challenges ahead. This punchy debut marks the breakout of a bold and singular young writer.

Juliet The Maniac by Juliet Escoria is published today (16 May 2019) in paperback and ebook by Melville House Publishing. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

This is a stark, to the point and often very difficult novel to read.  Not only is the structure of the story unusual, but the contents are at times horrifying and brutal.
Told, in the main, by fourteen-year-old Juliet; the reader is exposed to her innermost thoughts as she battles the mental illness that almost kills her. For it is a disease and it is the disease that kills, regardless of if the actual killing is carried out by ones own hand.

As the main character's name is the same as that of the author, it's often easy to imagine that you are reading a true account, rather than a novel, and I'd suggest that this author may have taken experiences from her own life when writing this book. 

Juliet the Maniac is divided into the four parts of Juliet's life, as she sees them when looking back as an adult. From the inital downward spiral into the black hole of addiction and mental illness, through various forms of treatment and rehabilitation and two failed suicide attempts, the reader is there, alongside Juliet, and in her head, all of the time.

Powerful and at times, beautiful. There's a poetic quality to this author's writing, but this does not diminish the brutality of some of her descriptive prose.

A story that will linger and haunt the reader. Never easy to read but incredibly moving.

Praise for Juliet the Maniac

"Juliet Escoria has created a propulsive, addictive story... told with a singular honesty; it can feel brutal--it burns--but it's also illuminating, and a necessary counterpoint to all those teenage stories that marginalize the girl we actually want to read about."--NYLON
"[An] exciting first novel... Juliet the Maniac is one of those coming-of-age stories that will feel so darn personal, you'll wonder if Escoria had a secret recording device in your own teenage heart."--BUSTLE
"An author to watch"--Michael Schaub at LA TIMES
"Juliet the Maniac is a late-nineties Bell Jar, GirlInterrupted in gloomy sunny Southern California, an autofiction from a former reform-school pirate princess. Teenage girls forever (and other people who exist, too): Read this book." --Katherine Faw, author of Ultraluminous
"Writing about emotional turmoil and addiction with a sharp, charged eloquence, Juliet Escoria... is an up-and-coming author."--THE A.V. CLUB
"Achingly accurate language, stripped down but beautiful, makes this story fresh and forthright."--LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Searing... reminiscent of Eve Babitz's work... Escoria's novel is a moving and intimate portrait of girlhood and mental illness." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

JULIET ESCORIA is the author of the poetry collection WITCH HUNT (Lazy Fascist Press 2016) and the story collection BLACK CLOUD (CCM/Emily Books 2014), which were both listed in various best of the year roundups. 
Her writing can be found in places like Lenny, Catapult, VICE, Prelude, Dazed, and Hobart and has already been translated into many languages. 
She lives in West Virginia with her husband, the writer Scott McClanahan.

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