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The Crazy Man
     

The Crazy Man

5.0 1
by Pamela Porter
 

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It is 1965, and twelve-year-old Emaline lives on a wheat farm in southern Saskatchewan. Her family has fallen apart. When her beloved dog, Prince, chased a hare into the path of the tractor, she chased after him, and her dad accidentally ran over her leg with the discer, leaving her with a long convalescence and a permanent disability. But perhaps the worst thing

Overview

It is 1965, and twelve-year-old Emaline lives on a wheat farm in southern Saskatchewan. Her family has fallen apart. When her beloved dog, Prince, chased a hare into the path of the tractor, she chased after him, and her dad accidentally ran over her leg with the discer, leaving her with a long convalescence and a permanent disability. But perhaps the worst thing from Emaline's point of view is that in his grief and guilt, her father shot Prince and then left Emaline and her mother on their own.

Despite the neighbors' disapproval, Emaline's mother hires Angus, a patient from the local mental hospital, to work their fields. Angus is a red-haired giant whom the local kids tease and call the gorilla. Though the small town's prejudice creates a cloud of suspicion around Angus that nearly results in tragedy, in the end he becomes a force for healing as Emaline comes to terms with her injury and the loss of her father.

In the tradition of novels such as Kevin Major's Ann and Seamus and Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust, novelist and poet Pamela Porter uses free verse to tell this moving, gritty story that is accessible to a wide range of ages and reading abilities.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This lovely and lyrical work is told from the point-of-view of Emaline Bitterman, a twelve-year-old girl injured in a terrible farming accident. Feeling responsible, her father shoots her dog Prince, who he feels is the cause of the accident, and then walks off the farm forever. Written in free verse, the story follows Emaline's life from the accident through the events that help her to heal; forgiveness, the difficulties of letting go, and the importance of moving on are some of the themes covered. The crazy man from the title is Angus, who is hired by Em's mother to help in the fields. Although Angus comes from the nearby mental institution, he slowly becomes one of Emaline's best friends. Seeing his experiences with the small-minded townsfolk, Emaline also learns a great deal about prejudice and its soul-destroying effects. Set in 1965, the scope of Em's vision sometimes sweeps to encompass larger events, but mostly the focus is narrowed precisely to the everyday reality of farming in the prairies. At turns, sharp, heart-rending, and hopeful, Porter's verse eloquently conveys Emaline's emotions in a concise and vivid way. Her stunning use of imagery makes it easy to imagine each scene and carries the reader effortlessly through this exceptional story. 2005, Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, Ages 12 up.
—Laura Ruttig
VOYA
It is 1965, and twelve-year-old Emaline's family has fallen apart. When her beloved dog, Prince, chased a rabbit into the path of the tractor, she ran after him, and her father accidentally ran over her leg, leaving her permanently disabled. But the worst thing is that as a result, her father shot Prince and then disappeared, leaving Emaline and her mother on their own to take care of their wheat farm. Out of desperation, Emaline's mother hires Angus, a patient from the local mental hospital, to plant and care for their crops. The townspeople are afraid of Angus and misunderstand him, so by hiring him, Emaline and her mother become outcasts in the community. But Emaline develops a friendship with Angus that helps her to deal with her own injury as well as the abandonment by her father. The author uses free verse to tell this moving, gritty story, making it 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. The character of Emaline and her experiences are gut-wrenching at times, such as the confusion that she feels about her father's leaving. The innocent wisdom expressed by Angus is extraordinary, especially when he tells Emaline how he managed to forgive his mother for the abuse he suffered, "But Angus didn't know how / to forgive, / So in my mind I put her in a basket. / Put balloons on the basket. / In my mind. And I let her rise / up into the sky, / till she was a wee speck." The end of the book, however, is not completely satisfying. The subplot of Angus and Joey, a local boy whom Angus rescues, feels rushed and tacked on, and the story of Emaline's father just seems to fall apart withouta resolution. But there are enough wondrous moments to make it a good read and worth recommending to young teens. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Groundwood, 214p., and Trade pb. Ages 11 to 15.
—Julie Roberts
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-This beautifully written novel in verse tells the story of a 12-year-old girl struggling to recover after a freak farm accident leaves her partially crippled and fatherless. Her dad, after shooting the dog that he blames for the tractor mishap, walks out on her and her mother, leaving them to tend the farm by themselves. After a long and painful hospital stay, Emaline returns home to a distraught mother who doesn't have any help sowing the fields. When several conventional plans fall through, the woman decides to bring in a patient from the local mental hospital to drive the tractor and sow the fields. Angus, a gentle giant, slowly gains the trust of Emaline and her mother through his hard work and his kindness to people and animals alike. Despite the town's grumblings about how dangerous Angus must be, he is allowed to continue working on the farm, but not without enduring much cruelty from neighbors and townspeople. It is only when he performs the ultimate act of heroism that others in the town finally recognize Angus's worth as a human being. Emaline is a rich character full of conflicting emotions about her father, her mother, and her strange new family. Subtle in its themes and organization, this book is pure pleasure, offering lessons about love, loyalty, and loss.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554980550
Publisher:
Groundwood Books Ltd
Publication date:
07/31/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
File size:
175 KB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet 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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Crazy Man 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was amazing best book i have ever read you have to read it