Male Bipolar Characters in Bipolar Romance Novels

Being bipolar myself, I have a natural interest in reading stories about mental illness in fiction and nonfiction. My mental illness shelf on Goodreads is one of my most populated. So today I want to talk a little bit about some of these bipolar characters in fiction. Who are they? How is their illness expressed? And where are their female counterparts? One of the frequent tropes I see, especially in romance-driven fiction, is the bipolar male dream boy. I just finished ¬†and it left me devastated for Theodore, the teen male lead with bipolar disorder. I get very protective about people like me, people who struggle with mental illness, so whenever I read about or see them in pain, it hurts. It feels personal, like it’s happening to me. I imagine this is somewhat akin to twin-sense or when twins can feel pain in the other twin. So Niven’s novel really upset me so, so bad. Yet I think the presentation of bipolar disorder was actually fairly appropriate. She could have made him into the “Manic-Pixie-Dream-Boy” a la Augustus Waters, but she didn’t. Theo’s illness was never romanticized or made out to be something the female lead, Violet, was attracted...

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