I Don't Want to Be Crazy
  • I Don't Want to Be Crazy
  • I Don't Want to Be Crazy

I Don't Want to Be Crazy

4.1 22
by Samantha Schutz
     
 

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This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities -- freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she revelled in the independence. .… See more details below

Overview

This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities -- freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she revelled in the independence. . . but as pressures increased, she began to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally shaken and physically incapacitated. Thus began a hard road of discovery and coping, powerfully rendered in this poetry memoir.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leslie Wolfson
"I can't believe/no one else can hear/I am screaming/inside my head/I am going to die/I am going to die/I am going to die. So begins the memoir of Samantha Schutz who has written about her anxiety disorder completely in verse. There is little variation throughout the 280 pages, which describes the minutia of what she feels as she experiences frequent panic attacks and interacts with friends, boyfriends, and family. The memoir has no plot and only one three-dimensional character—Samantha herself—while others appear as undeveloped, supporting characters. The book starts out with Samantha graduating from a private girls' high school in New York, which is when she first exhibits signs of her disorder. Readers follow her through four years of college, including a semester abroad in France. She takes medication and goes to counseling, which only temporarily eases her symptoms. She has one loyal friend, Rebecca, who is sympathetic to her plight, and several men who drift in and out of her life, who either do not know about or do not notice her "crazy" behavior. Her parents seem clueless, and it is unclear how much they know about her disorder. Finally, as Samantha learns to manage her condition, there is a ray of hope at the end. Readers may wonder what caused her condition in the first place or what causes anxiety disorders in general. The author never explains either, nor what finally helped her to manage her condition. Although the main character is in college, the language is simple enough for younger teens. At the end is a list of sources for teens who want to learn more about anxiety disorders.
VOYA - Amanda MacGregor
In this moving memoir, Schutz details her struggle with anxiety disorder. She has always been a perfectionist, thanks in great part to her parents' constant pushing. Shortly after beginning college, Schutz starts to experience strange symptoms-shaking, sweating, racing thoughts, and feeling trapped in her own body-which turn out to be panic attacks. The fear and discomfort of the attacks rule her life. She relies heavily on medication to regulate her days, but worries that she is only able to cope with her disorder because of the medication. Even with pills and therapists, Schutz battles fear, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Her illness bewilders her, at one point even forcing Schutz to wonder if she is doing it to herself. Schutz worries that perhaps she needs this disorder, that maybe she does not want to get well. Schutz vacillates between feeling as if she has conquered her affliction to being right back in the thick of it, feeling alone, scared, and desperate. The ending seems hopeful, but given her past, it is hard to be certain that she has overcome her demons. Written in verse, this memoir successfully conveys what it is like to suffer from panic attacks. The intense tone often feels frantic and breathless, pulling the reader into Schutz's frame of mind. Her story will have a wide appeal thanks to both its content and form. Once readers pick up this insightful debut, they will not be able to put it down.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
In this "memoir in verse," Schutz comes to terms with an anxiety disorder that surfaced and plagued her throughout and after her college years. Readers accompany the author from the summer after high school, through college, on a semester abroad in Paris, and into her first job after graduation. Typical early-adulthood issues such as boyfriends, sex, drinking, grades, and family are woven throughout her struggle with physically and mentally debilitating panic attacks. The author had the courage and wisdom to seek professional help and embarked on a long and often bumpy road to treating her disorder. The decision to write in verse proves fitting; in the scenes in which a panic attack is approaching, for example, the short lines of text echo the breathless terror described within. Though the book begins to feel repetitive toward its conclusion, the repetition simultaneously reflects the cyclical nature of Schutz's disorder and one's college years. Aptly, the book ends without absolute closure, and while luckily not all teens will find themselves in identical situations, many young people transitioning to adulthood will find a part of themselves in this overwhelming, and seemingly never-ending, search for self-identity.
—Jill Heritage MazaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439805186
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
07/28/2006
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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