Crazy Paperback – Feb 8 2012
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* Nolan leavens this haunting but hopeful story with spot-on humor and a well developed cast of characters, and she shows with moving clarity the emotional costs of mental illness, especially on teens forced to parent their own parents." - Booklist , starred review
* "In this distinct and effective blend of sorrow and humor, Jason, once invisible to his classmates and used to the chaos at home, suffers the effects of change when he's enrolled in a lunch-hour group therapy with other wayward teens and his father is taken away he slowly learns, with the help of his new friends and foster parents, normalcy and how to care for himself first." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
HAN NOLAN is the author of several books, including Dancing on the Edge which won the National Book Award and Send Me Down a Miracle, a National Book Award finalist. She lives with her husband on the East Coast.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Jason's life is a complicated mess. He's trying to keep up his grades, write for the advice column of the school newspaper, and keep an eye on his father. It had always been his mother's responsibility to keep track of his father's erratic behavior, but she's gone. Now, Jason is in charge of damage control when his father dons his Greek war helmet as he rants and raves against the Furies who he believes killed his wife and are out to destroy him.
The stress of juggling both his own life and his father's has Jason talking to the voices in his own mind. Giving him advice, criticism, and sometimes comfort are characters named Crazy Glue, Fat Bald Guy with a Mustache, Aunt Bee, Sexy Lady, and Laugh Track. They are his only "friends" - until he joins a therapy group at school and finds he does have other people who are there to provide support and encouragement.
It is not easy for Jason to open up to strangers, but when his fellow group members pitch in to help when it is revealed that his father has stolen a multi-million dollar violin, Jason learns the true value of friendship. When things get so bad that his only recourse is to admit his father needs medical help, his new friends continue to cheer him on.
CRAZY is the story of a young teen's struggle to keep together what's left of his family. Author Han Nolan uses the unique voices in Jason's head to vividly portray the emotional torment he experiences as he watches his own father crumbling before him. Readers will come to know and love Jason and admire his courage and determination to hold it all together under unbearable circumstances.
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book was a lot of fun, and although it had the heavy topic of a father with a mental disorder, and a teen who ends up in foster care, it still moved along at a quick pace and never really felt to heavy or emotionally draining. The words really flowed through this story and I would find myself sitting down to read for just a few minutes and having to make myself put it down after a full hour has past.
Jason is a great lead character, strong, independent, and yet still has to learn that sometimes you can't take care of everything all on your own. The "group" of real kids that Jason meets in therapy were a great cast and so much fun. They were a ragtag crew that I would have liked to hang out with when I was in school.
It was very easy to relate with one or all of the characters in this book. Even if you didn't/don't have to deal with the same issues they do, the point is, we all have something going on in our lives that we sometimes need help getting through. Overall, this was a fast and very enjoyable read and I will be looking for more books by Han Nolan in the future.
Jason lost his mother to a stroke and now is contending with a father who suffers from a swiftly-deteriorating mental illness. In a house with little food, heat, or cleanliness, the situation becomes dire and the "voices" become shrill. Jason, who invented the voices "for company" in 5th grade, knows them as Fat Bald Guy (FBG), Sexy Lady, Aunt Bee, Crazy Glue, and Laugh Track. Each has its own personality, by turns sarcastic, critical, supportive, nurturing, mocking, irrelevant, and funny. They help him get by as crisis follows crisis, and at times amuse the reader as well.
The narrative arc of the book follows attempts by Jason's high school friends -- Shelby, Pete, Haze, and school psychologist Dr. Gomez -- to help both Jason and his dad. Also in the mix are foster families, courts, and hospitals. But the real attraction is not so much the plot as the characterization. And, of course, the essential question: just who is crazy here and who gets to define what it looks like? Overall, this is a creative and compelling outing for Nolan which will appeal to readers interested in psychology, social workers, and teens under duress.
Jason can’t remember a time when his life wasn’t overshadowed by his dad’s odd behavior. Going as far back as age six when his dad tried to bury him alive “to protect him”, it’s always been a part of their lives. However, when Jason’s mom dies unexpectedly things begin to rapidly deteriorate. She was the one who always held things together, and without her their lives start to spin out of control. Money is tight, food is scarce, and their house is falling apart. Despite his best efforts to hold things together and keep their way of life a secret, his grades and behavior at school are being affected. When he’s sent to group therapy, he finds comfort in an unlikely group of friends who are living with family issues of their own. In a short span of time he’s forced to confront his own feelings of grief at his mother’s death, guilt at not being able to protect his dad, and fear that he, too, is losing his mind. He has to learn to accept help from others and to be a kid again after being the adult in his family for so long. There’s a hospitalization and a confrontation with social services before everything is finally resolved. Along the way, Jason is kept company by running commentary from a cast of characters he has created in his mind to help him cope with his dysfunctional life.
This was an amazing story from beginning to end. It could have been another run-of-the-mill story of teen angst and drama but Han Nolan inserts humor and emotion into every page. The ever-present conversation going on in Jason’s head has the potential to be annoying and distracting but instead is entirely believable, and you can see how that’s his one little lifeline to sanity. He’s never really confronted his grief at losing his mother, and he eventually realizes he harbors a lot of anger as well for being forced into the position he’s in. The author skillfully captures the voice of a young teenage boy in the reversed role of being the parent. It’s also a safe read for teenagers without speaking down to them, which is hard to come by these days. Five stars for me!
I wanted to read this book so much, and when I received it through NetGalley I was very excited.
Jason is the protagonist. He spent his day at school, then comes back straight to his house, to take care of his mentally ill father. His mother is dead, and nobody has to know about his father, because they will take him, and Jason will be placed for adoption. So it doesn't matter to him that he has to take care of his father, sell almost every item in his house to get food and medicine, and that they live without heat.
Then, one day, he starts failing in school. It's very silly, but he needs the attention. So he has to talk a few days a week with Ms Gomez and other kids with problems....
Jason is amazing, one of my favorite male characters of all time. He's just like any 15 years old boy, but he has so much responsibilities. He loves his parents, and his mind is awesome. He doesn't have friends, except the ones that live in his head and talk only to him. But that doesn't mean he is crazy, right? Right?
Desperation, love, fear, anger. Jason has to deal with this everyday, but when he finally made some real friends, in a way, it becomes easier.
Wow, I loved this book. Couldn't stop reading it!. This is a very powerful book, and I cried a lot while reading it because it's exactly as real life is: very unfair. Very intense, but also funny, between a bunch of imaginary friends, real teenagers friends, and a crazy person, you can imagine!
Excellent writing. It grabbed me from the first line. It's not usual to start a book with the protagonist inviting you to his life, like a talk show. Very original.
Really, you must read this book. I recommend it to everyone! Teenagers and adults. Believe me, you will like it, and you will learn a few things.