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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rich and Mad

Rich and Mad by William Nicholson

Source: ARC from firm/Egmont

Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Maddy decided she’s going to fall in love and nice, sweet, jubilant Joe seems to be the perfect candidate. But Joe has a girlfriend yet he is sending Maddie signals!? Maddie has a friend, Grace, who is gorgeous and well adorned by the male population at school including (but definitely not excluding) Rich. Rich is an odd one though.
Rich and Mad’s written style had a style I particularly enjoy: short, clipped sentences with plenty of dialogue. Excessively long paragraphs of descriptions detailing the things that make my eyes glaze off are not found here—yes! Amber tinted eyes, long fringes, luscious, gorgeous, honey locks? Puh-lease. We are talking about real people with real flaws: wide-set eyes, blemishes/acne, lack of breasts, chicken legs, etc.

Rich and Mad provided a different perspective of teenage hormones, love, and sex. Can love exist without sex and vice versa? Yet the novel also points out acts of homophobia where being gay is a good reason to be fired and defending your “gay” teacher only makes you a “gay loser freak”. Rich and Mad was first published in 2009 in the UK yet I wonder how far society has come in this topic. (Speaking of the UK, slang and jokes in British-English in novel. Was lost, but still happily kept going!)

I do so love the characters in this novel. I love the rapid fast dialogue and jostling and butting and the ability to communicate to friends:
“Max Heiblorn joined them. He was eating a packet of crisps.

“I’d offer them round,” he said, “but I want them all for myself.”

“Also you need feeding up,” said Cath.

“Small is beautiful,” retorted Max.

“Them you can’t join our club. Can he, Rich?”

“No, I think Max can join.”

“What club?”

“The losers club. It’s seriously exclusive. We’re going to have a T-shirt.”

“You now what?” said Rich. “I think we should have two levels in the club. Ordinary members would have T-shirts saying LOSER. But the really top losers would have T-shirts saying GAY LOSER FREAK.”

“Like a gold card.”

“Or going to first class.”

“Now wait a minute here, guys,” said Max. “I can see why me and Rich count as losers. But how’s Maddy a loser?”

“Trust me,” said Maddy. “I’m a loser.”

“You sure you’re not just saying that to impress me?”

“Hey! Hey!” said Cath. “This is all getting out of control. Back to basics, guys. How to spot a loser.” She pointed at her own face. “Ugly mug.” She pointed at Max. “Little creep.”

“That’s nice,” said Max, offended.

“The rest of you are just self-pitying phoneys.’” —pages 200/201 of ARC
Rich, in particular, is one of most interesting male characters I have read. He writes in his diary a poetry observation of the world and his inner world that shocked me:
“Unrequited love — like carrying a jug of pure cool water. I must take care not to spill it because this is what I have to give. I will give it to the one I will love forever. The jug of water gets heavier each day. My greatest fear is that I’ll let it fall and all my love drain away before I find her.”—page 40 of ARC
William Nicholson is a male author so this cannot be blamed on the female delusional mind of the “perfect” boyfriend.

Both Rich and Maddy think about sex quite often because it’s all in the hormones, but the novel provides a much different approach. In the realistic world of Rich and Mad there is the abusive relationship where some girls like to be beaten and that is what turns guys on; there is the fear of commitment and the fear of not being worthy of love at that; there are relationships much deeper than what the eye can see and only seen through the beholders. And there is Maddy and Rich, two virgins, desperately connecting love with physical connection because it is as close as close can be. I think what makes this relationship work is the level of comfort in each other’s presence that seeps through from the novel where the spoken truth is as easy as breathing. It wasn’t that instant love connection or that dark brooding nature that calls for chemistry, but a simple understanding and capability.

However, Rich and Mad packed in a lot so some parts are skimped and some parts are left in the dark (Grace anyone?). I wanted to analyze the characters and their actions yet I want to laugh out of loud. Rich and Mad is clearly not for the young as scenes can get quite graphic. Let's just say William Nicholson is not afraid of the word: cock and clitoris.

Cover B-/C+
Ka-Yam pointed out the fish-lips and now that's all I can see in the cover. Grrr you ;P

I definitely encourage you to attempt Rich and Mad: Amazon / Indie Bound / Book Depoistory


  1. Great review, I'm a little anxious to read this one. It's been on my list forever and haha about the fish lips. Shucks, now that's all I see. Thanks a lot! =)

  2. I think this cover is so cute. I had never heard of it before. Will have to look into this one. Thanks for the review.

  3. Great review, this sounds really entertaining. I'll have to check it out.

  4. I loved this one too. Ace review!

    (OH, and it's interesting that the Britishisms lost you, lol).

  5. wow, it initially seemed like a book, I wouldn't pick but the review was a lot of fun!