What Looks Like Crazy On an Ordinary Day and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading What Looks Like Crazy On an Ordinary Day on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day [Hardcover]

Pearl Cleage
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

Dec 1 1997 Oprah's Book Club

Acclaimed Playwright, essayist and columnist Pearl Cleage breaks new ground in African American women's literature--with a debut novel that sings and crackles with life-affirming energy as it moves the reader to laughter and tears.

As a girl growing up in Idlewild, Michigan, Ava Johnson had always heard that, if you were young, black, and had any sense at all, Atlanta was the place to be. So as soon as she was old enough and able enough, that was where she went--parlaying her smarts and her ambition into one of the hottest hair salons in town. In no time, she was moving with the brothers and sisters who had beautiful clothes, big cars, bigger dreams, and money in the bank.

Now, after more than a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living, Ava has come home, her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth. Ava Johnson has tested positive for HIV. And she's back in little Idlewild to spend a quiet summer with her widowed sister, Joyce, before moving on to finish her life in San Francisco, the most HIV-friendly place she can imagine.

But what she thinks is the end is only the beginning because there's too much going down in her hometown for Ava to ignore. There's the Sewing Circus--sister Joyce's determined effort to educate Idlewild's young black women about sex, drugs, pregnancy, whatever. . .despite the interference of the good Reverend Anderson and his most virtuous, "Just say no" wife. Plus Joyce needs a helping hand to make a loving home for Imani, an abandoned crack baby whom she's taken into her heart.

And then there's Wild Eddie, whose legendary background in violence combined with his Eastern gentility has stirred Ava's interest. . .and something more.

In the ten-plus years since Ava left, all the problems of the big city--drugs, crime, disease have come home to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away. Now she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Things are getting very interesting in Idlewild these days. Besides which, the unthinkable thing has started happening: Ava Johnson is failing in love.

A remarkable novel sizzling with sensuality, rollicking with wild humor, and humming with gritty truth, in What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day. . .Pearl Cleage has created a world rich in character, human drama, and deep, compassionate understanding.

As a girl growing up in Idlewild, Michigan, Ava Johnson had always heard that, if you were young, black, and had any sense at all, Atlanta was the place to be. So as soon as she was old enough and able enough, that was where she went--parlaying her smarts and her ambition into one of the hottest hair salons in town. In no time, she was moving with the brothers and sisters who had beautiful clothes, big cars, bigger dreams, and money in the bank.

Now, after more than a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living, Ava has come home, her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth. Ava Johnson has tested positive for HIV. And she's back in little Idlewild to spend a quiet summer with her widowed sister, Joyce, before moving on to finish her life in San Francisco, the most HIV-friendly place she can imagine.

And then there's Wild Eddie, whose legendary back ground in violence combined with his Eastern gentility has stirred Ava's interest...and something more.

In the ten-plus years since Ava left all the problems of the big city--drugs, crime, disease--have come home to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away. Now she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Things are getting very interesting in Idlewild these days. Besides which, the unthinkable thing has started happening: Ava Johnson is falling in love.


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon

Oprah Book Club® Selection, September 1998: What makes Pearl Cleage's novel so damned enjoyable? At first glance, after all, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day seems pretty heavy going: HIV, suicide, sudden infant death syndrome, and drunk driving all figure prominently in the lives of narrator Ava Johnson and her older sister Joyce. It isn't long before crack addiction, domestic violence, and unwed motherhood have joined the list--so, where's the pleasure? The answer lies in the sharp and funny attitude Cleage brings to her depiction of one African American community in the troubled '90s. Ava Johnson, for example, might be HIV-positive, but she's refreshingly forthright about it: "Most of us got it from the boys. Which is, when you think about it, a pretty good argument for cutting men loose, but if I could work up a strong physical reaction to women, I would already be having sex with them. I'm not knocking it. I'm just saying I can't be a witness. Too many titties in one place to suit me."

Ada has spent the last 10 years living in Atlanta. When she discovers she's infected, she sells her hairdressing business and heads back to her childhood home of Idlewild, Michigan, to spend the summer with her recently widowed sister before moving on to San Francisco. Once there, however, she finds herself embroiled in big-city problems--drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, and an abandoned crack-addicted baby, to name just a few--in a small-town setting. Ava also meets Eddie Jefferson, a man with a past who just might change her mind about the imprudence of falling in love.

In less assured hands, such a catalog of disasters would make for maudlin, melodramatic reading indeed. But Cleage, an accomplished playwright, has a way both with characters and with language that lifts this tale above its movie-of-the-week tendencies. In Ava she has created a character who not only effortlessly carries the weight of the story but also provides entertaining commentary on African American life as she goes. Discussing the insular nature of the black community in Atlanta, she recalls, "I'd walk into a reception room and there'd be a room full of brothers, power-brokering their asses off, and I'd realize I'd seen them all naked. I'd watch them striding around, talking to each other in those phony-ass voices men use when they want to make it clear they got juice, and it was so depressing, all I'd want to do was go home and get drunk." Later, she describes the preacher's wife's hair as "pressed and hot-curled within an inch of its life.... Hardly anybody asks for that kind of hard press anymore. Sister seems to have missed the moment when we decided it was okay for the hair to move."

As the trials and tribulations pile on, the experiences of Cleage's characters prove to be universal: death, love, second chances. Ava's acerbic, smart-mouthed narrative keeps the story buoyant; by the time this endearingly imperfect heroine and her cohorts have negotiated the rocky road to a happy ending, readers will be sorry to see her go, even as they wish her well. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

In her first novel, Cleage, a playwright and essayist, focuses on an HIV-positive woman who seeks solace and refuge for the summer in her hometown with her widowed sister.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
i'm sitting at the bar in the airport, minding my own business, trying to get psyched up for my flight, and I made the mistake of listening to one of those TV talk shows. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sister No Matter What the price........ May 28 2004
Format:Paperback
Ava and Joyce this a pair that I won't forget. This book has many twist and turns because one the sisters had to endure alot of issues such as losing their parents at an early age, AIDS, losing a spouse, and falling in love again renewing their spirts together from a community that was supposed to be the black Mecca turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the both of them. By the end of the book you will be saying go girl in one breathe and in another saying God DON'T LIKE UGLY so be careful what you wish on others (...)
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks Like Crazy.... A MUST read May 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ava Johnson was the typical everyday woman until a trip to the doctors changed her life; she was diagnosed with AIDS. As a result of all of the stress that comes with living in a big city (Atlanta) and living with AIDS, Ava decides to make a pit stop at her sister's home, while on her way to move to San Francisco. However, once in Idlewood, Michigan, at her sister, Joyce's, everything changes. This book tells about the summer from Ava's point of view. At first, it seems like a pretty harsh book, with AIDS, teen pregnancy, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. However, the way Cleage ties all of these realities together makes the book even more eventful. Her use of first person allows you, as the reader, to feel as though the book is talking directly to you. Overall, the book is a great example of real life turned into a fiction novel that is a must read for everyone.
Was this review helpful to you?
1.0 out of 5 stars You've Got To Be Kidding April 7 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
391 reviews and this book averages 4 stars??? Give me a break. The story is flat, predictable, and full of cliches. The way in which the 3 main characters are written just doesn't seem real, and that is why I found it hard to care about what happens to them. So, with only 50 pages left to the end, I put it down. Don't waste your money because this book is highly over-rated.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! March 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry reading this book, so I did a little of both. At times witty and urbane, the writing turns dark and foreboding the next, but not in a bad way. I'm reminded of McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood" or some of Vonnegut's novels in the way that Cleage handles her material. A bit rough at times, this book is nevertheless worth every cent. Never preachy, but rather informative and clever, it's nothing but enjoyable.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars What looks like crazy.... March 15 2004
Format:Paperback
This novel is about a woman {Ava Johnson} dealing with the fact that she has HIV and her promiscuous pass that lead to her having gotten it in the first place. Cleage also writes about Ava's day-to-day journey of living with this disease and the prejudices and the ignorance of people. I'm talking about those folks that don't know how HIV is transmitted, so they make things up as they go. Ava returns to her hometown of Idelwild, Michigan seemly just for a visit to her sister on her way though to San Francisco. Where she was determined to make a new life for her self... Idelwild is not the small country town she remembers. Not only did things change but they have changed for the worse. Drugs, break-ins, teenage pregnancy and other gang related incidences seem to be the normal occurrence now.
Secondary plot revolves around Ava's sister Joyce. Joyce is on a mission to spread the word and educate teenage girls and young woman all over about the importance of safe sex, self-love and self-respect. Joyce, a single woman, has decided to adopt a child. Having lost her husband and two children by tragic means. This child is special and the adoption is not so easy, as you will come to see the more you read into the novel. You will get more than a few twists and turns in this novel folks... Very good read, I promise...
Ave is also fortunate enough to have found true love with a man {Eddie} while in Idelwild. Eddie too has had to dealt with the skeletons in his own closet and came out on the other end of life just fine... Eddie helps Ave realize that just because she has this terrible disease that life without true love isn't necessary.
My first taste of Pearl Cleage. I must say I am very impressed with this author style of writing.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it - what more can I say? Feb. 16 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
AMAZING book, just amazing! I loved this book so much , just can't recommend it highly enough. It's one of those books you will never regret owning. My copy has pride of place in my bookshelves while Pearl's voice still dances in my head.
I also recommend "Second Glance" by Jodi Picoult. A very different type of book, but mesmerising also. Enjoy!
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars 3-1/2 Stars, Rounded Up Nov. 24 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
I listened to the audio version of this book, which is undoubtedly a much different experience than reading the book. The stereotypes in the beginning of the book were tiresome (every non-black woman as "that white woman", geographical biases, etc.) and muddied the story of an HIV-positive woman with AIDS. They decreased eventually. The language is also a bit rough all the way through. But the story itself is interesting. It was a "light listen." The characters are a bit unevenly defined. Eddie was unreal. The Reverend's wife was also quite unreal, but the author still made me want to smack her, so I guess she succeeded in making her villainous to some degree. Overall, a good, light read with some important messages to be gleaned - if you don't miss them due to some of the author's mistakes.
Was this review helpful to you?
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback