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Crazy Lady!

Overview

Increasingly alienated from his widowed father, Vernon joins his friends in ridiculing the neighborhood outcasts'Maxine, an alcoholic prone to outrageous behavior, and Ronald, her retarded son. But when a social service agency tries to put Ronald into a special home, Vernon fights against the move.

1994 ...

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Overview

Increasingly alienated from his widowed father, Vernon joins his friends in ridiculing the neighborhood outcasts'Maxine, an alcoholic prone to outrageous behavior, and Ronald, her retarded son. But when a social service agency tries to put Ronald into a special home, Vernon fights against the move.

1994 Newbery Honor Book Notable Children's Books of 1994 (ALA)
1994 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1994 Young Adult Editors' Choices (BL)
1994 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
Young Adult Choices for 1995 (IRA)

As he tries to come to terms with his mother's death, Vernon finds solace in his growing relationship with the neighborhood outcasts, an alcoholic and her retarded son.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Once again, an adolescent is having trying times. Vernon is having difficulties in school. He doesn't want to cause his dad any grief, but he wants to fit in with the rest of the guys. This is a tall order for a preteen. He strikes a balance in hanging with the guys, keeping his grades up, and doing selfless acts of kindness. Vernon's internal emotions, needs and desires combine with the story of a community, long ignored, coming together. There are some powerful issues in this book -alcohol abuse, mental retardation, foster homes, community service-all things that today's adolescents need to be aware of. Newbery Honor Book.
Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Crazy Lady by Jane Conly (HarperCollins, 1993) is a gem of a story about outsiders, loss, friendship and growth. It deserves the thoughtful and perceptive performance that Ed Begley, Jr. gives as he narrates the story of Vernon, Maxine, Ronald and their neighborhood. Begley's voice has just the right amount of wonder, insecurity, and pathos as he shares Vernon's observations, self-accusations, and occasional outrage. He changes his voice only slightly to portray the weary wisdom of Vernon's father, and the almost hysterical anxiety of Maxine when she is on a "binge," but he clearly differentiates between characters and enhances Conly's characterizations. The only jarring note is the music that occasionally appears to emphasize a mood, be it a carnival or an anticipated conflict. Begley's reading is so effective that the music appears more as a distraction than an enhancement. Readers who loved the story will be moved by this version and feel the pain of the characters perhaps even more intensely than before. Those who missed the book should be directed to this audiobook.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Washington, DC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Leslie Jane Conly's Newbery Honor winner is a heart-warming tale of how one boy's view of the world is changed. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064405713
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Series: A Trophy Bk.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 386,945
  • Age range: 13 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Leslie Conly's first novel, Rasco and the Rats of NIMH,an ALA Booklist Children's Editors Choice, and its sequel, R-T, Margaret and the Rats of NIMH,were included on a multitude of state library masterlists. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Trout Summer (an ALA Notable Children’s Book and Best Book for Young Adults) and the Newbery Honor Book Crazy Lady! She lives in Baltimore, MD.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Sometimes I still dream about them, even though it's been two years since it happened,- I told Miss Annie. "I dream she's walking down the street, right in the middle like she always did, with Ronald on her arm. She's wearing dark glasses and a funny hat and purple pants, and she sways back and forth when she walks. Ronald looks like himself -- tall and thin. He's all pop-eyed, like he's scared someone's going to hurt him. And his mouth opens like he wants to talk, but he can't."

"I remember that look.- Miss Annie nodded.

"Then the kids come, and she starts shouting, and they do, too: 'Crazy Lady!' And she'll cuss them and hold on to Ronald, and they laugh and cuss right back.I stopped. -I must have had that dream a hundred times," I confessed.

Miss Annie nodded again, a quick little nod. She looks like she'll break if she moves more than just a bit. Lately her dark skin is stretched tight across her bones, as if it shrank in the wash and didn't stretch out again. But her mind is sharp.

-Vernon,- she said, -you ought to tell that story to someone. Or else write it down. Not just the dream the whole thing."

I laughed. -You know me better than that. I'm not going to spend the summer writing something I don't have to. School is bad enough."

She looked out the window for a moment, as if the answer was there. "That's what those dreams want. They want to be told."

"A dream can't want something, Miss Annie."

"It can, too." She smiled. "Dreams can make you so scared or addled or miserable that you'll do whatever you have to just to be free of them."

"Not me." I shook my head like I had everything undercontrol. -I just tell them to go away and leave me alone."

-You might as well stick a seed in the ground and tell it not to grow," Miss Annie said. -It will come out of the dark one way or another."

"It won't either," I said.

But, of course, it did.

As for me, I grew up with a million kids. There are five just in my family: Steph, Tony, me, Sandra, and Ben. Steph lives out in the suburbs now; she's married, and she works in a lab. And Tony is in college. He's the first one in our family to go. He graduated from Tech last year and got a scholarship.

My family's Catholic. When we were little, we used to walk to church in a long line, holding hands. Somebody took a picture of that, and I love to look at it. It's like we're the whole world, we look so different: some blond, some dark, some with long hair, some real short, Tony already tall, and Ben sitting like a little puppet on Daddy's arm. My mom's in the picture, too. I've studied her face. Sometimes I put my finger on it like I could really touch her. The way she looks in that picture is just the way she was: kind and honest and brave. She had dark eyes and hair and she was heavy, so she usually wore pants and a baggy shirt, even to church. People say I look like her, but I'm not sure. I'm big for my age, and my eyes are brown, and my hair is dark brown, which is the way she was.

My mom died of a stroke three years ago. She was at her job, sitting at a sewing machine in a factory over in Hampden, and she keeled over. We kids didn't know anything about it. We came home from school and we played just like always, and ate up half the food in the refrigerator, which we weren't supposed to do. And she didn't come home, and we kept on waiting, and finally Steph said, "We ought to do our homework." So some of them-not me -were doing it, and Daddy came in. We knew something bad had happened then. He worked the three-to-eleven shift, so he'd come home right in the middle of work. And his eyes were red. I'd never seen him cry before; I'd never even thought that he could cry. And he told us.

We've gotten along without her, but it's been hard. My dad is a quiet person. He's frail-looking, and after Mom died he seemed to get paler and smaller. Sometimes we didn't even notice he was home, with all the noise us kids made. It didn't use to be like that. I remember times when he'd come in from work and put one finger to his lips to keep us quiet. He'd line us up behind him. We'd creep into the kitchen and grab Mom from behind. She'd shriek and swat at us, and we'd fall down laughing.

It's not his fault things changed. Daddy will do anything for you. He never yells, and if he sees something is bothering you, he'll try to make you feel better. He'll buy you a candy bar and slip it to you behind his back so the other kids don't see. He'll give you a dollar, or tell you something he overheard about the Orioles' latest trade, or he'll sit down and try to work your problem out one point at a time. He tries, but he can't be Mom.

You see, Mom could make you feel special even if you had a face like a garbage-can lid. She hugged you on the outside and the inside, too. I'm the one in the family who was bad in school...

Crazy Lady!. Copyright © by Jane Conly. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2007

    This book is nothing special

    I found this book very boring. I like to read alot of good books and this is not one of them. I do not recomend this for kids under 12. They will too find it very boring. Some parts of the book were okay, but for the most part, the book is not fantastic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    THIS BOOK WAS GREAT!

    The book, Crazy Lady, was sensational. I loved how while I was reading the book, i could actually fell what the characters were going through. I read this as a group book, and everyone in my 6th grade class thought this book was awesome. If you like books that teach life lessons, then you should read Crazy Lady.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2003

    IT'S AN AWESOME BOOK!!

    ok i dont really like to read but my grade had to do a book talk that had to do w/ prejuduce. im so glad i got this book!its sooo exciting!and u know what...i cried!! (i've never got that into a book)!if your a teenager i would defenetly get this book!and no im not the id of person who reads i never do! and i really loved this book!so teens get it iswear you wont regret it!and duh i know u wont im one myself!thanks a bunch!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2002

    Very poor choose for word

    The language in this book is not for childern and should not be in our schools as a part of there AR programs. One of my girls had this book for an AR book. She is in the 4th grade. She brought the book to me and said Mom I can't read my AR book it has words I cant say in it. After taking a close look I took the book to the school an had it removed form the libray. I can not understand why someone that calls them-self an author of childerns books would use such language in a book for kids.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    Awesome

    I thought that this book was a very good book. I'm surprised it hasn't been considered to be a movie yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    WONDERFUL WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!

    this book is wonderful i like it so much i have to read it for book clubs and it is fabulous it has such a great lesson and the writing is marvelous i havent finished but im going to. it is better than anything i have ever read the only problem is the cussing but other than that is is marvelous for children 5th grade and up i LUV THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    -_- ...............

    Well I read the book in class and i did not find this book that interesting. 1. The ending was very sad. 2. TOO MANY SWEARS!. 3. I just did not like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2002

    Must see!

    This fantastic book will have you at the edge of your seat! It's adventures,exciting, funny,and a heart breaker.I truly recommend it.So go to your local libary and read it.You won't be sorry!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2001

    why did you write this?

    I didn't like what it said about north carolina.it affended me because he called us a HICK state.he victor also said the only thing down here is dust and tobacco.if the author had ever been down here she would know that isn't true.And it isn't like Maryland is so much better than we are.And at the end of the book I didn't understand why he ran after the car.what could he have done if he caught up with them.he couldn't run next to them the whole trip.And i didn't like the way the book ended in a cliff hanger.i that that was just a really bad ending.So in conclusion I give this book 2 stars.DISAPOINTING!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2000

    Ronald's crazy mom

    I read the book called 'Crazy Lady.' The setting of the story is called Tenley Heights. The main characters are Maxine, Ronald, and Vernon. This story is about these kids, who think this lady is really crazy, and weird, but in real like she turns out to be really nice! She also has a very ugly kid. The ugly little kid (ronald,) can be really nice, and sweet when he wants to be! The one girl who actually tries to babysit, ronald, and finds out he is a very sensitive kid. That is what I found out about him. I also learned that the lady wasn't really that weird. Also the girl doesn't want anybody to know that she is babysitting Ronald, or she would be embarresed. That's what I found out about this book. By: Rikkijill Crain

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    This book is our heart

    This is a great book, and it is also a very sad book, espesialy to moms, who really love their children. In this book, a mom, Mexine loved her son, Ronald so much, but she is a trunk. Vernon tried to help Mexine to stop drinking, but then, terrible things happened...

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