Electric and Mad and Brave

Tom Pitts

Electric and Mad and Brave
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Electric and Mad and Brave

Tom Pitts

Matt Lacey is in a mental health facility recovering from a breakdown.

To work through his myriad of conflicting thoughts and feelings, he writes. He unwinds the story of his teenage years with the beautiful, impassive, fierce Christina.

As Matt tries to unlock the secrets of his past, he has to learn, finally, to look directly at the pain and love that have made him what he is now.

Shamelessly wearing its heart on its sleeve, Electric and Mad and Brave is a heightened and technicolour story about the soaring joy and numbing nightmare of being young and hopelessly in love.

Praise for Electric and Mad and Brave

An incredible debut, captivating and perfectly paced, Electric and Mad and Brave is everything we all love about Australian fiction. Pitts' writing is delightfully eerie, full of twists and revelations I never saw coming. We are reminded that the past never really leaves us and the most complicated relationship we ever have is the one with ourselves. - Jessie Stephens

‘Hauntingly beautiful, confronting to the point of despair and breathtaking in its originality.’ - Kerry Armstrong

‘A stunningly tender, brave debut from a deeply talented new Australian writer.’ - Clare Bowditch


Tom Pitts is a writer adept at conjuring up the emotional tension and grief that comes hand in hand with adolescence. Somehow, with great insight, he seems to have remembered exactly what it was like, those years of freedom and containment, and he has gifted us the memories. Electric and Mad and Brave is the story of Matt Lacey and how a particular shocking and tragic teenage experience shaped his life. Matt – like all of us, surely – is not a dependable narrator, and in a series of journal entries, he shares his love story with the wildly independent Christina until, gradually, the truth is revealed.

This story is told with a clarity that verges on rage. It is told with an alacrity that reminds me of my own teenage years; those years where everything hurts and expands so much, where every word is loaded and a nod or a mention from one person can make everything feel new and possible. This is a long-distance relationship confused by grief, guilt and parents. It is the relationship that becomes the building blocks for adulthood. Adding to the complicated and heartbreaking nature of this story is the fact that the protagonist writes from the shelter of a mental health facility in Melbourne.

Electric and Mad and Brave is not frightened to pull at your heartstrings, but it does so without any sentimentality. This story will remind you of your own teenage years – those coercive and convoluted years – but it remains its own unique story. Surprisingly, this is Pitts’ first novel, and it packs a punch. If you love reading novels by Trent Dalton or Emily Maguire, then take this home with you, and be reminded that sometimes, we chose our own memories, whether they existed or not.

Chris Gordon is the community engagement and programming manager

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