- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Groundwood Books; Reprint edition (June 30 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0888996950
- ISBN-13: 978-0888996954
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 18.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Crazy Man Paperback – Aug 4 2005
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...Potter's free-verse narrative explores prejudice, fear, and disability with quiet grace. (Book Links 2010-02-10)
...it's deceptively simple, rewardingly rich. (Quill & Quire 2005-12-05)
...[a] moving, gritty story...accessible to a wide range of ages and reading abilities. It is amazing how much emotion and character Porter manages to convey with so few words. (VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) 2006-02-01)
...a rich, full story of growth and questioning... (Toronto Star 2005-06-01)
...a touching portrait of a real-seeming girl, set in a well-delineated time and place. (Horn Book 2005-01-01)
A richly written character study containing echoes of To Kill a Mocking Bird's Scout Finch and Boo Radley and Of Mice and Men's Lennie, The Crazy Man, which explores prejudices in many forms, is a quick read meriting several rereadings. Highly Recommended. (Canadian Children's Literature - CBRA 2005-06-27)
Among the pleasures of this novel are the muted longing in the young girl's expression, the explications of the 1960s definitions of crazy - and, perhaps most impressively, Porter's play with a verbal colour palette that tempts us to read this initiation narrative as impressionism, studied in its composite detail, and intelligently sentimental. (Canadian Literature 2006-09-01)
Powerfully told in poetic verse, this story is fast paced and heartfelt. (Brandon Sun 2005-12-01)
Subtle in its themes and organization, this book is pure pleasure, offering lessons about love, loyalty, and loss. (School Library Journal 2006-12-06)
The marvel of this novel is that language as plainspoken as Porter's can be as revelatory as those prairie plains themselves....Porter cultivates her characters and her plot with huge deftness and tenderness. (Globe and Mail 2005-11-05)
About the Author
Pamela Porter was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and she lived in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Washington and Montana before emigrating to Canada with her husband, the fourth generation of a farm family in southeastern Saskatchewan, the backdrop for much of Pamela's work. She is the author of three collections of poetry, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals across Canada and the US as well as being featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. She is also the author of a number of children’s books, including Sky and Yellow Moon, Apple Moon (illustrated by Matt James).
Pamela's first novel in verse, The Crazy Man, received the TD Children's Literature Award, the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award for Children, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the Governor General's Award, as well as several children's choice awards. It was also named a Jane Addams Foundation Honor Book and won the Texas Institute of Letters, Friends of the Austin Public Library Award for Best Young Adult Book.
Pamela lives near Sidney, B.C., with her husband, children and a menagerie of rescued horses, dogs and cats.
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The reason that the communism issue bothers me so much is because it is an accepted "truth" now in popular novels and films that fear of communism is something to be made fun of. One hopes that brilliant writers transcend truisms.
Which leads in to a second irritation. Em seemed too "good" -- she didn't have prejudices yet her mother was intolerant of Mei and her family. That didn't ring true to me. I could see her having initial hesitations and then finding out she was wrong, but it seemed a bit too pat that she had no hesitations.
The incident about Prime Minister Pearson/President Johnson annoyed me too, because the author was playing up Canadians' nationally accepted form of racism: anti-Americanism. I thought it was a cheap shot. And seeing that the author is American-born herself, you'd think she'd be more sensitive, but perhaps she's like the reformed smoker. <s>
These are small nits though. In all, it was a wonderful read. I'm still thinking about Em and Angus.
As I believe I said elsewhere once, I was at the book launch & unaware this was KidsLit.
Having grown up on the Prairies, I found myself plunged into the authentic landscape. The compassionate way Pam aims a magnifying glass on the common occurences of farm life---loss of limb, animal death, the negative labeling of unusual people, the community grapevine---startled & enlightened me. She has the voice of a farm kid dealing with significant life issues down pat. I feel like I know Em's family, like she could be any of the families I grew up with.
A single metaphor for the book in my own experience is the time I visited neighbours & opened the wrong fridge. I was startled to find huge jars of blood. This was casually explained as hogs', for making sausage. Such are the realities of farm life. Things are often brutal, but just are.
Yet any city person could identify with the emotional heart of the story.
The writing style was another revelation. I didn't know so much rich content could be conveyed with such spare language. It was a writing lesson as well as a great read.
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