Thoughts from the front lines

Can Love Cause Physical Harm?


What fascinated me the most about the final book of the MaddAddam trilogy was Toby’s reaction to Zeb’s death at the very end of the novel. When Zeb left, and never returned, he was presumed dead by the rest of the survivors. This caused Toby to fall into a deep depression, affecting her physical appearance, and eventually, leading to her own unknown death.

Throughout both the second and third novel, I viewed Toby as a warrior. She seemed very strong, and unaffected by what was happening around her. She knew how to fend for herself, and didn’t seem interested in men at all. But when she got together with Zeb, this all changed. She became jealous, insecure, and most of all, dependent. My opinion of Toby shifted drastically, almost to the point of no recognition. She became a stereotype, and in a way, she reminded me a lot of Lucerne, which was amusing, since she always seemed to judge her for being so ‘feminine’. But much like Lucerne, Toby too became vulnerable, and though she tried to hide it, extremely jealous. This was totally out of character for her, which made me wonder, can love really change who you are?

Yes, in fact, according to Health, love changes your body chemistry. It releases dopamine, which increases your level of happiness, as well as makes you feel more energetic. It also raises your level of oxytocin, testosterone, and norepinephrine: all chemicals that have a direct link to how good we feel when we fall in love. Losing your significant other can feel like withdrawing from a drug, and can lead to major depression, and sometimes even suicide, the drop of emotions can be extremely overwhelming.

Zebulon definitely changed Toby, but not necessarily for the better. Love is a beautiful thing, but when it turns you into someone you aren’t, it becomes unhealthy, and for Toby, the loss of Zeb lead to her death. She fell into a pit of sadness, and started losing a ton of weight. In her words, she had a wasting sickness that was increasing, and soon she would not be able to walk (Page 389). Toby was definitely madly in love, and sometimes love can effect you physically. Zeb was definitely the love of her life, and in a way, he took her life.


Works Cited,,20568672,00.html

MaddAddam; McClelland & Stewart, 2013; Bloomsbury, 2013; Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2013.


3 thoughts on “Can Love Cause Physical Harm?

  1. Very interesting! I never knew that songs claiming that love is their drug can actually be true in some ways. I’m guessing Toby fell in such depression after Zeb’s death because she did not have anything left for her. She was not able to be a mother, and Blackbeard, who we could say became her surrogate son, has already grown up. We also have to remember that when she was stuck in the Anooyoo Spa, the only thing that really kept her in survivor mode was the thought of Zeb being alive and looking for her. She was practically holding on to a rope, and when the two reunited, she let that single string hold her up. Unfortunately, she relied so much on that one person that when Zeb died, she went died with him. Thus, for someone as lonely as Toby felt, one person determined her life.


  2. Interesting! I highly agree with your point that Toby deeply falls in love with Zeb, thus she cannot live alone without Zeb. It is a love burned into the bottom of her heart. throughout the trilogy, we can see that love stories always occupy a place through the process of human destruction. That is because love is essential, it is a human instinct. Furthermore, I really admire the love in the book—the love between Crake and Oryx, Oryx and Jimmy, Jimmy and Ren…maybe the love is not perfect—she loves him, but he loves another person, but the love in the book is the true love. The true love is once you love someone, that person becomes irreplaceable and no one in this world can be similar to him. Although that person may have a lot of shortcomings, but he is unique for you. The true love is what we lack.


  3. Love is such a beautiful feeling, but it can also be destructive. For example, the “first love” is always the most passionnate one because it is the first time experiencing those strong feelings and sometimes people do not know how to deal with them. I think it is the same for Toby. Love does change people especially and even more when the end was horrible. You have learned from it and can get more mature and grow or be destructed by that lost because you thought it would last forever. Love is really difficult.


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