Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Madapple was a gift from one of my very favorite bloggers, Deslily. And what a gift it was. This was one of those books that just seemed to be written for my exact taste in books. It was dark and melancholy and philosophical at times and piqued my interests non-stop. The amazing cover of this book truly captures the feel of the novel and kudos to Jonathan Barkat for putting it together. The picture to the left is the entire dust jacket with the text removed.

Madapple is the story of a young girl named Aslaug who is seemingly born a virgin birth. She’s raised by her mother who shelters her from the world during her youth and is a bit eccentric if not cruel at times. But there is love there beneath it all. Together they live in a home without electricity and their lives rely on the various flowers, plants, saps, and seeds that grow near their home. Maren, Aslaug’s mother, uses various plants for their homeopathic purposes and uses them for everything from medicine to food to a way of escape. Her way of escape is Madapple, aka Jimson Weed, a plant that poisons the body to induce a high.

Madapple, the plant, becomes the center of the story as the alternating chapters of the novel switch to Aslaug on trial for the death of her family and some other things that I can’t mention without spoiling the novel. The people who died were found to have been killed by Madapple poisoning and when it is known that Aslaug would help her mother harvest the weed, she is tied to the killings. This is really a horrible description of the book, but I can’t say much more at all without giving it away. But it’s so much better than this review.

While gloomy at times and certainly disparaging at times, this book remains warm to me. I get an instant feeling of nostalgia and warmth every time I think of this book and would feel the same way each time I picked it up. There are extreme religious themes to the novel as well, but they are not ideas that are shoved down your throat and they’re not their to persuade you towards a religion. Nor do they focus on one particular religion. The ideas of paganism, early christianity, mythology, and eastern religion are all combined in a riveting story that at times reminded me of The Thirteenth Tale and The Historian in it’s atmosphere and history. If their is a point to the religious subtext, it is that religion can be a dangerous thing when it is exploited and abused for one’s own personal desires.

This is a book that I highly recommend to anyone and though it is a little over 400 pages, I think it would be great for the read-a-thon with it’s short chapters and fast paced story.


I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for not totally bashing my pumpkin :p That poor, poor cat was just never given a fair chance by my hand, but you all made me feel better during a week that has just sucked. Work has been so busy! It literally has not stopped and to top it all off I was told that I have to work this Friday which I had requested off at the beginning of September so that I could rest up for the read-a-thon. The good thing is, I still have off Saturday. The bad thing, I hope I can stay awake the whole time now! Coffee will indeed be my friend!


15 Responses

  1. This book has been sitting on my TBR list since I first heard of it. I love that you shared a photo of the cover sans text. Where did you find it? It’s so – moody.

  2. Jeane, Hey! I just googled “Madapple” under an image search and there it was! I’d love to have a framed copy of that cover. Isn’t it great?

  3. Well you devoured that book fast!! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. I think the fact that much was dark and dreary with whats going on in my life right now didn’t help me love the book lol.. I did like it but felt I would not read it again so I am glad that you enjoyed it so darn much!!

  4. Wow, that book sounds absolutely wonderful! I want it, I want it, I want it! And when I buy it, I guess I’m going have to give both you and Deslily a point, aren’t I?

  5. I just finished this one up. I’m still at a loss for words on how to describe it.

  6. DEBI: ACK!! no no! lol… this one is all on Chris! hahahaha

  7. Ooooh, Madapple sounds absolutely irresistible. I already wanted to read it, but I want it even more now!

    I plan on drinking obscene amounts of coffee during the read-a-thon 😛 But I suspect I will take a nap at some point too. It’s okay to rest, the important thing is to have lots of fun!

  8. This book sounds amazing. I was already very interested and then you made the comparison to two books that I love so obviously I have to get this one now.

  9. You know, I may have to stop surfing reading blogs… I’m on a serious budget at the moment and there’s little room in it for books yet, I really want to read this one.


    I guess it’ll go on my list for some day reading.

    And your cat was just fine!


  10. That pumpkin is a piece of abstract art. Just keep telling people that. 🙂

    I’m so out of touch with without proper internet, and now I keep reading about the readathon. Is it over already?

  11. Deslily, I’m sorry you didn’t love the book as much, but I can certainly understand it being a not so good read considering everything you’ve been going through. And you certainly should get a point from Debi! You made me want to read it too!

    Debi, Yay! A Point!!

    Becky, I was at a loss for words to describe it too after I finished it…Still am really. I don’t think I did the best job with it :p

    Nymeth, I think coffee will be everyone’s friend during the readathon!! I know I’ll have a pot constantly going! lol. Hope you enjoy Madapple when you get to it, I know you will.

    Lisa, The atmosphere of this one is great! You’ll certainly enjoy it.

    CJ, Boy don’t I know that feeling! My TBR pile has grown so out of control that it’s not funny, lol

    DO, Yes! It’s abstract art! I love it! lol…Readathon hasn’t even begun! It’s tommorrow 😉

  12. Great review! I am definitely adding this to my wishlist. And what a beautiful cover, I think I may just use that as my computers wallpaper 🙂

  13. *sigh* the cover alone is worth the price! and then how you describe the book, well, I’m going to be seeking out that book shortly!!! great review, Chris.

  14. Amazing review. I really love the cover as well, and I want to read this novel. Moreso now then I did before however!

  15. […] Stuff as Dreams are Made On Becky’s Book Reviews Bookshelves of Doom Mom is Just a Nickname Maw Books Blog […]

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