Prozac Highway

Persimmon Blackridge, Author, Persimmon Blackbridge, Author Press Gang Publishers $14.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-88974-078-5
It is impossible to describe this novel without mentioning that its heroine is an Internet-savvy lesbian performance artist who's taking trendy antidepressants. But the book is so much more humane and self-effacing than those fashionable factoids would tend to imply. The lesbian performance artist in question, Janice Johnston, aka Jam, lives in Vancouver and is having an increasingly hard time making ends meet as she edges reluctantly into her 40s. The first-person narrative covers a few eventful weeks in her life, real and virtual, as she fights against a terrifying depression, struggles with writer's block (and her performance partner) and pursues a touchingly querulous online romance with a woman in Baltimore whom she knows only as Fruitbat. Blackbridge (Sunnybrook: A Story with Lies) writes humorous, intimate, wonderfully restrained prose perfectly attuned to her narrator's vivid inner life. Her description of Jam's online community (a listserv for mental-health outpatients called ThisIsCrazy) is a tour de force. Although the novel ends somewhat abruptly, it is on the whole a beautiful portrait of an intelligent, engaging, difficult woman at a difficult time of her life. (Dec.) FYI: Press Gang is reissuing Blackbridge's illustrated novel Sunnybrook in paperback.
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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