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Crazy as Chocolate

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Overview

"Izzy and Ellie's mother danced in the dark rain, gave them long midnight baths, and invented exotic maladies for herself. Loony but magical, her crazy stunts and bold lies were the source of both shame and pride for the girls. Then on her 41st birthday their mother commited suicide, shattering their young lives." Now on the eve of her own 41st birthday, Izzy struggles with the realization that she will be older than her mother ever was. Further complicating the situation, her widowed father, unstable sister, and precocious niece descend on the
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Crazy As Chocolate: A Novel

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Overview

"Izzy and Ellie's mother danced in the dark rain, gave them long midnight baths, and invented exotic maladies for herself. Loony but magical, her crazy stunts and bold lies were the source of both shame and pride for the girls. Then on her 41st birthday their mother commited suicide, shattering their young lives." Now on the eve of her own 41st birthday, Izzy struggles with the realization that she will be older than her mother ever was. Further complicating the situation, her widowed father, unstable sister, and precocious niece descend on the emotionally charged weekend.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Izzy's world is about to turn upside down. Tomorrow is her 41st birthday, a particularly momentous occasion because the day her mother turned 41, she committed suicide. As Izzy puts it, "I was about to enter virgin time, the second half of a life unlived, a life my mother never knew." Her unpredictable sister, Ellie, and their quietly suffering father are flying to Colorado to help her cross this critical threshold. Hyde (Monoosook Valley) impresses with her nimble use of language, humor in the face of tragedy and an uncanny ability to portray the fractured life resulting from being raised by a mother with severe emotional problems. Like Anne Tyler, Hyde captures the quirky, heartbreaking core of a character and puts it on the page with shining prose. The story, from Izzy's viewpoint, alternates between her present-day difficulties keeping a wary eye on her sister, who seems to be slipping into the same madness that claimed their mother, and juggling life with her husband and her legal practice and the past, in which the story of Ellie and Izzy's childhood unfolds. A picture emerges of a life filled with adventure and bursts of spontaneity, as well as shattering embarrassments and emptiness. The experiences of a 12-year-old girl handling the tragic circumstances of her mother's death and the ensuing funeral glow with clarity and empathy. Throughout, the author maintains a delicate tension as Izzy comes to terms with her difficult sister's life and her own guilt about their mother's suicide, in a novel full of originality and sparkle. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Hyde's third novel (after Monoosook Valley) and her first to be published in over a decade tells the story of two sisters whose mother committed suicide at the age of 41 after a long struggle with depression and mental illness. The younger sister, Izzy, is now turning 41. As she prepares for a visit from her sister, Ellie, and their father, Izzy remembers her childhood, revisits the trauma of her mother's suicide, and assesses her perceived guilt and complicity in the tragedy. Hyde explores relationships between siblings and between parent and child, considering how events of the past and memories of them can dictate present actions and relationships in both positive and negative ways. Hyde's description of the immediate and long-term trauma suffered by Izzy, Ellie, and their father is vivid and convincing. An engrossing read; recommended for all public libraries and large academic literature collections. Rebecca Stuhr, Grinnell Coll. Libs., IA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A page-turner with well-molded characters. Isabelle, the narrator, is on the brink of her 41st birthday-particularly auspicious since that was precisely the age and occasion when her mother committed suicide 25 years earlier. Thoughts of her mixed-up childhood are rampant as she prepares for a visit from her father and sister, who are flying to Colorado for her birthday. Her older sister comes bearing raw memories, a woeful marriage scenario, a precocious seven-year-old daughter, and some shades of the same unsettling behaviors that their mother possessed. Although not always apparent, everyone tries to make Isabelle feel at peace with this milestone, including her husband with whom she recently reconciled after despairing that they could not have children. Flashbacks of her youth are infused with vivid description. She recalls impulsive and pernicious road trips, plus the confounding daily events that represented the unique mothering she received in her home state of Washington. The past and present bump along logically, leaving room for conjecture and hope. This is a quick read that has the potential to spark discussions about mental illness, family relationships, and the realities involved with growing up.-Karen Sokol, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What to do when you're facing the same birthday that prompted your mother to kill herself is the grim premise for this surprisingly upbeat tale of a ruinously dysfunctional family, the third from Hyde (after Monoosook Valley, 1989). Isabel faces her 41st birthday in Boulder, Colorado, having just tried a separation from her husband Gabe after long, frustrating years of trying to have a child. Back together, they prepare for an unusual celebration as her older sister Ellie and their father are flying in to offer solace through a painful weekend. No amount of preparation can keep Isabel from remembering, however, as images of her mother-the misfit, the manic-depressive, the larger-than-life presence, and the pathological liar-come crowding into her consciousness. Her mother danced with abandon in the rain; she planted an entire steep hillside, the front yard of their Seattle home, with daffodils; she put out cigarettes on her arm; she tried to commit suicide more than once, finally succeeding as her family made plans for her birthday dinner. The remembrances are overwhelming, but Isabel's weekend has its share of truly traumatic moments as well, as Ellie loses her young daughter briefly at a street fair, long enough for the girl to have an accident that sends them to the emergency room, and whispers to Isabel that she's getting a divorce. Plus, Gabe finds out that the expensive fertility-drug treatment Isabel had the year before was secretly financed by her sister. The divorce becomes something more, though, when Ellie's husband calls and reveals that she is more like her mother than anyone had previously suspected. All of which puts a strain on Isabel as well as her long-suffering father,but somehow, by weekend's close, there's still plenty of love left to go around. A gutsy feel-good story, flecked with pain and panache.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596922006
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 1,046,493
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    There are hundreds of books you could say were amusing, or you found funny, but 'Crazy as Chocolate' leads the pack. It's on the top of the list! Izzy and her sister, Ellie, are the classic sisters who cope through loss together, but have experienced life in a tragic, yet hilarious way. I laughed, I cried and I'll continue to read 'Crazy as Chocolate' for years to come just to remind myself how important, however comical life truly can be sometimes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

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