Summary (Caution Mild Spoilers):
Crystal lived through hell and emotionally, she’s still there. She views herself as overweight, worthless, and unloved. She blames herself for everything that happened in her past. She fantasizes about an exercise addiction to take her mind off of everything she wants to forget and she’s been trying to do that with her inexpensive gym membership.
On the anniversary of one of the worst things that happened, she loses it with a customer. On a forced one-week vacation, she gets the opportunity to try the hottest new gym in Little Rock, Arkansas: Mount Olympus.
Mount Olympus isn’t the same as other gyms. The members never leave. Is this the addiction that Crystal wants to forget her problems, or will she discover that there’s a more healing path than selling her soul to a gym membership?
“Ambrosia” is the best Modern Southern Gothic novel I’ve read this year. It took me a long time to decide if I would call “Ambrosia” Modern Southern Gothic because I recognize the level of controversy associated with that genre. By Study.com’s definition “Southern Gothic literature is a genre of Southern writing. The stories often focus on grotesque themes. While it may include supernatural elements, it mainly focuses on damaged, even delusional, characters.” Based on this definition, and my own understanding of the genre, “Ambrosia” qualifies in the most flattering ways possible.
If you like elements of Gillian Flynn’s stories or if you enjoy the writing style of “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter, you will like this book. Wheatley brings a little more dark humor thrown at gym culture and if you need the catharsis of a good reason to not be at the gym during a global pandemic, then you need to buy this book now.
Crystal’s story is captivating for anyone that has had a gym membership and blends dark humor with serious topics such as drug addiction, trauma, miscarriage, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and family disownment. Easy to connect with, the reader resides inside of Crystal’s head seeing her epiphanies and delusions as they happen.
The pacing of the book is fantastic as well. While being a fulfilling read, it is paced very well to be finished in a single evening or two. This is perfect for those looking for a great read without lengthy commitment.
There are elements of the story that are culturally relevant beyond the locker room and emotional gym baggage. The author references drug abuse that was happening in the fitness culture of the United States. I give a lot of praise to the author for putting enough research into her story to make sure everything checked out before the supernatural elements are introduced.
As a fun aside, there is a passage that has been quoted saying that the author predicted the current pandemic. I’ll leave that as a fun Easter Egg for y’all to find (seasonally appropriate, right?).
This book does not contain overtly LGBTQA+ characters, but I think this book is valuable to the LGBTQA+ community (and every other community) because of the content discussed.
This book is extremely close to meeting the 1 error per 10,000-word editorial standard. The few errors I found did not interrupt the reading experience.
Learn More About The Author:
Madison Wheatley is a poet and fiction author. You can visit her Twitter here or her author website here. This book was published through Authors 4 Authors Publishing and based on this book I would encourage others to look into their services. To purchase a copy of this book, you can do so via Amazon here.