Powerful fiction from National Book Award-winning author Han Nolan.
Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen on bad times—his mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance. Both heartbreaking and funny, Crazy provides more of the intense and compelling characters Han Nolan is praised for.
|Publisher:||Perfection Learning Corporation|
|Product dimensions:||4.80(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
HAN NOLAN is the author of the National Book Award winner Dancing on the Edge, the National Book Award finalist Send Me Down a Miracle, Born Blue, and several other acclaimed novels. She and her husband live in the South.
Read an Excerpt
Ever since the fifth grade, I've had this imaginary audience in my head who follow me around and watch me like I'm the star in a movie. I talk to them, and yeah, they talk to me, but I know they aren't really there. I'm very clear about that. Anyway, I don't think I'm the only fifteen-year-old who does this. It's our culture. It seems everybody is famous now. You can get yourself on TV for doing almost anything, the stupider the better. Everyone thinks his or her life is movie worthy.
So now you're here. This is my honors English class we're in right now. Don't ask me how I got into honors. Okay, I know this classroom is pretty drab. There aren't nearly enough windows, but it's an old school. They're building a new one over on Clement.
I haven't named you yet. I'll just call you You for now. Maybe you'll just be part of my laugh track, a body filling one of the seats in my theater but having no singular voice. We'll see. If you are part of the laugh track, you get to do more than laugh. You get to say, "Uh-oh," and whisper loudly, "Isn't that a shame." You can even cry. But maybe you'll become one of the outspoken ones, the ones with a personality, like the fat bald guy with a mustache who sits in the back of the theater writing movie reviews. I call him FBG with a mustache, for short. There's also Sexy Lady, who's supposed to just tell me I'm hot all the time. She usually has on a low-cut red dress. Then there's Aunt Bee — yep, the Aunt Bee from the old Andy Griffith Show. You always wondered what happened to her. Well, here she is, in my head! She's very sympathetic. And finally, there's the kid who Krazy Glued the fingers of his left hand together. I just call him Crazy Glue.
CRAZY GLUE: Boring! His life is boring. Get out now while you can.
SEXY LADY: Oh, but lately it's been heating up again. He was just in a lull.
Yeah, a nice, safe four-year lull. I don't like this new exposure I've been getting. I liked being invisible.
AUNT BEE: That's most understandable, poor boy. You've had it very rough in the past. I remember the time your father woke you up in the middle of the night. He had on that horrible mask.
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: It wasn't a mask, my dear. It was a helmet, a Spartan helmet. It was a replica, not the real thing, made of steel with a mane running over the top and down the back of it. Quite authentic-looking, though. It had real horse hair.
AUNT BEE: Well, it covered most of his face, and he was frightening coming into Jason's room like that, then scooping him up and taking him outside to bury him. He dropped him right down into that hole he'd dug and started shoveling the dirt on top of him. Oh dear, that was so horrifying.
CRAZY GLUE (ACTING AS JASON): "Daddy, stop it! I'm scared. I don't like it down here. It's cold. I want Mommy. I want Mommy!"
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE (ACTING AS DAD): "It's okay. Just stay there, Jason. I'm covering you over so they'll never find you."
CRAZY GLUE: You should have given my lines to Sexy Lady or Aunt Bee. Why should I always get stuck being you?
You're the closest to my age and I was going for a little realism.
AUNT BEE: It's too real. I wish you'd stop reliving that night over and over. It can't be good for you.
I was only six. I screamed and screamed. I was scared out of my wits. Dad thought the Furies were after us. Mom said he was just trying to protect me. That's all.
CRAZY GLUE: It figures I missed all the good stuff. And what are Furies, anyway?
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: They're part of Greek and Roman mythology. They're the goddesses of the underworld. You'd love them. They have a mass of snakes for hair and blood running from their eyes. They come up through the ground, seeking revenge for people's crimes. They'll hunt you down until you're driven mad with their chase.
CRAZY GLUE: Awesome!
I didn't think so. The Furies always scared me. They still do. Anyway, my mom heard my screams and she saved me before I was buried alive, but Dad was taken away. He stayed away a long time. That was my fault. I've always felt it was my fault.
AUNT BEE: Well, dear boy, you couldn't let him bury you alive, could you?
SEXY LADY: I think you'd look hot in that helmet.
I hate that helmet. Any time I see Dad wearing it, I know he's sick again — like now.
CRAZY GLUE: I would have loved to have seen you scratching and scrambling and clawing your way out of that grave. Cool beans!
Shows what you know.
AUNT BEE: It's no wonder, then, what happened in fifth grade. I mean, how you reacted.
LAUGH TRACK: Uh-oh! Here it comes.
My best friend turned on me! Just because I got the ball away from him and scored the only points in the soccer game, he got all jealous and got the gang to help him flush my head in the toilet.
LAUGH TRACK: (Laughter).
CRAZY GLUE: A swirlie! Jason got a swirlie! Cried like a baby, too. Called for his mommy. Made a total fool of himself.
AUNT BEE: Of course he cried, and you would, too. It was his father burying him all over again.
CRAZY GLUE: No friends after that — just us. Four and a half years now, and still not a single friend.
I don't need friends. Friends are dangerous.
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: What was it you and your soccer buddies called yourselves?
Fili Mou. It's Greek for "my friends."
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: That's right, but you spelled it "F-E-E-L-Y M-O-O." You were the Feely Moos.
Don't remind me. The whole school picked on me after that swirlie. I'm sorry my grandma died back then, but I sure was glad she left my parents her house and we moved to Virginia at the end of the year. I got to start all over.
CRAZY GLUE: Start all over? You went into hiding! Bor-ring!
SEXY LADY: But now, after all these years of trying to make yourself invisible, you've been caught. You're beginning to come out into the open again. I see how the girls are starting to take notice of you with your dark curly locks and those blue, blue eyes. Tall, dark, and handsome, that's how we like 'em. You're like a young Greek god.
I'm not coming out in the open — not on purpose, anyway. It was just a slip-up, just a few things getting out of control, but I'll fix it. I'll straighten everything out.
CRAZY GLUE: Fat chance. Anyway, you're more interesting this way.
SEXY LADY: You've got that innocent, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly look about you. Girls feel safe around you. You're way too thin, but with a little meat on your bones ... Oh, to be a sophomore in high school again.
Okay, be quiet, everyone. Mrs. Silky's talking to me.
"Jason, would you stay a minute after the bell, please."
"Woo-ooh, Ja-son!" Great, the whole class thinks I'm a dweeb now.
CRAZY GLUE: Yeah, like they didn't already.
LAUGH TRACK: Uh-oh! (A twitter of laughter).
You, you might as well sit down and watch the show. Later you can decide what kind of audience member you'd like to be.
AUNT BEE: I hate when you get yourself in trouble.
CRAZY GLUE: Old Silky's going to give it to you now.
SEXY LADY: Come on over here, You, and sit next to me. Make yourself comfortable. Don't worry if you're a little confused. Jason will explain everything. He narrates his life as he goes along.
CRAZY GLUE: Yeah, he does it for the visually impaired in the audience.
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: That's not it at all. Jason likes to keep his mind busy because he's afraid of mental silences. Disturbing thoughts lurk just beneath the surface and he knows it. Keep up the mental chatter, my boy.
Everyone has disturbing thoughts. It's normal. It's perfectly normal.
CRAZY GLUE: Sure it is, pal.
THE BELL RINGS. I sit at my desk and wait for the rest of the class to leave. I hear some of the kids snicker behind me. I hear my name. I remember that swirlie I got in fifth grade and I feel sick to my stomach.
After more than four years of keeping to myself and flying under the radar at school, I've blown my cover. Not that I didn't have some help. Somehow, maybe through the newspapers, the school found out my mom died a few months ago. That's what started it.
And now I've been having these strange impulses ...
SEXY LADY: Mmm, impulses! Very hot!
Not like that. It's like in this honors English class. We're reading Moby Dick. We had to write these weekly essays on the book and every time I wrote about Captain Ahab, I wrote "Cap'n," which is driving Old Silky nuts. She's written on each essay, "Captain Ahab, please!" She took two points off my last paper for every "Cap'n." Now I know she's making me stay after class to talk about it. That's a first. Staying after class is a definite attention getter. What was I thinking? I mean, I don't know what I'm doing lately.
SEXY LADY: It's those impulses.
I'm just tired, that's all — tired and grouchy.
Everyone's gone, so I stand up and make my way to Silky's desk. I do this thing now when I get really embarrassed so that my face doesn't turn red — I press my tongue really hard against the roof of my mouth. So that's what I do, but my bird heart is flapping like crazy. It wants out of its cage!
AUNT BEE: You haven't explained to You about the bird heart.
CRAZY GLUE: I'll do it! I'll do it! Jason, raised by his parents on the myths of Greek gods and heroes, thinks his heart is really a bird, a cardinal, flapping around in his rib cage. He came up with this dopey idea when he was just a kid, but even now at fifteen he half believes it. What a goob!
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: Buck up, son. Here it comes.
"Jason, what is this 'Cap'n' you keep writing? I told you on your other two essays that I didn't want Captain Ahab's name abbreviated. He's not a box of cereal."
LAUGH TRACK: Ha. Ha.
Mrs. Silky is short and plump but with tiny bird bones, so her wrists and ankles look too skinny for her body, and she has lots of loose cheek skin, so when she talks, all that skin wobbles. Her head kind of shakes, too. Maybe she has the beginnings of Parkinson's disease.
I watch her cheeks wobble, and I nod in response because, with my tongue still pressed to the roof of my mouth, I can't talk.
Mrs. Silky continues. "I know you understand what I'm saying. I'm beginning to think this is just sheer belligerence. I don't know what's gotten into you."
She looks at me. She seems plenty angry. Her cheeks and head are really shaking; her eyes look hard. I think she wants me to explain what's gotten into me, but I don't know, so I just stand with my arms straight down, crossed in front of me like a shield, hands in fists, head bowed, and I wait for her to dismiss me.
LAUGH TRACK: Uh-oh!
"And why are you dating all your papers with the wrong dates? Other teachers are complaining, too. Mr. O'Hagan, Mrs. Eugene, all your teachers." Silky picks up my essay and shakes it at me, but I keep my head down, just seeing her out of the corner of my eye. "July fifteenth, you wrote here, and this other one"— she picks up my other essay —"you wrote October twelfth. It's January. I know you know that." Silky sets the papers down and reaches a hand out to me, almost touching my arm, and I lift my head.
"Is this about your mother? Hmm? She died last October, didn't she? You know we're all very sorry for your loss."
LAUGH TRACK: Isn't that a shame.
CRAZY GLUE: Jason hates when people mention his mother. He doesn't like to think about her.
AUNT BEE: If I weren't just a figment of his imagination, I'd fix him a nice apple pie. That would help him feel better.
I ought to tell her to lay off. I hate that people are talking about me.
CRAZY GLUE: Go ahead, dumb-dumb. Explain about the dates while you're at it.
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: Don't listen to him.
Old Silky gives me this pitying look. Her baggy eyes sag a little lower. "Life is unfair, but that doesn't give anyone a free ride. I expect excellence from you, Jason, as always. I don't know what you're doing writing these silly dates down but ..."
CRAZY GLUE: Tell her! Go ahead. Just do it! Say what you're thinking, for once!
"It's — it's just that dates and times are really so arbitrary — I think."
Silky lets go of my paper and it lands on her desk. "Arbitrary? If everyone felt that way, where would we be?" Silky shakes her jowls side to side and stares up at me. I hate that I'm taller than she is. It feels wrong, somehow.
"Well, it's like — we've all supposedly agreed to start counting from the year of Jesus' birth, like the world didn't exist until then. It's just a way of counting that we all are supposed to go along with, but I don't remember getting a vote. I mean, I don't agree."
CRAZY GLUE: That's telling her.
AUNT BEE: Be careful, Jason. I don't have a good feeling about this.
CRAZY GLUE: Go on. Tell her what you're thinking. You're already into it now; a little deeper won't hurt anything.
"It's just, well, no offense to Jesus, but why not use the Jewish calendar or the Greek lunar calendar? Why don't we have a vote every four years, like with the presidents, and give everybody's calendar a chance?"
Silky's got her cheeks and jowls all puffed out now, like a blowfish.
LAUGH TRACK: (Laughter).
She lets it blow. Her breath hits my face. It smells like mothballs. "'No offense to Jesus'? Jason Papadopoulos, I'm surprised at you! I really am."
CRAZY GLUE: Way to go, buddy!
"I — I — I, well, I just can't bring myself to write January. I mean, what's January? It's nothing. It means nothing. It's just a word — blah — a dumb word."
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: I hate to mention it, but maybe the present dates don't mean anything to you because your mother's no longer in them. You've been dating your papers with the date your mother came out of her coma, and the date she came home from the hospital, and the day before she went back into the hospital and died. Am I the only one who's noticed this?
LAUGH TRACK: No! (Laughter).
Silky shakes her wobbly head one more time. "'Nothing'? A dumb word? Jason, I just don't know what's gotten into you."
CRAZY GLUE: She said that already.
I don't know what's gotten into me, either. Maybe I'm just tired of being invisible.
LAUGH TRACK: Uh-oh!
AUNT BEE: You want a friend, dear.
Old Silky clears her throat, and I bite down on my lower lip and wait for her to blast me some more, but her voice is suddenly quiet, kind of tender.
CRAZY GLUE: Oh puke!
"I'm just going to warn you, on tomorrow's exam I want to see you write 'Captain,' not 'Cap'n.' One 'Cap'n' and you just might flunk the test. Do you understand?" I nod. "Yes."
"Good." She straightens her shoulders. "And I want the proper date, as well." She hesitates, and then, with her index finger on her chin she adds, "I think it might help you to see Dr. Gomez. Hmm?"
LAUGH TRACK: Uh-oh!
"Now, here's your pass. You'd better get on to your next class."
Dr. Gomez! The school shrink? No way, lady.
CRAZY GLUE: Better not write 'Cap'n' anymore.
I take the pass and leave. Behind me I hear her mutter, "No offense to Jesus, indeed."
FOUR DAYS LATER I've decided I'm in a Greek tragedy. My mom's dead, my dad's crazy, and now it's lunchtime and I'm on my way to Dr. Gomez's office. What could be worse?
CRAZY GLUE: You could be dead, for starters.
You all are like my Greek chorus. Yeah, I'm a real live, walking Greek tragedy.
FBG WITH A MUSTACHE: To be accurate, since you're living in America, it would be an American tragedy, and we're your American chorus.
Anyway! The point is I can't go see a shrink.
AUNT BEE: What are you so afraid of, dear?
I'm not afraid. Who says I'm afraid? It's just that there will be other kids there. I'm going to be wasting my whole lunch hour talking with a shrink and a bunch of psycho kids.
Excerpted from "Crazy"
Copyright © 2010 Han Nolan.
Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Crazy is just what the titles leads you to believe it will be, absolutely crazy! Jason's mother dies, and he is left to care for his mentally ill father all on this own. He's keeping it to himself because he refuses to let his father be locked up. To keep it a secret, Jason's learned not to have any friends, so to keep himself company, he's invited an amusing cast of characters in his own head. There is "Fat Bald Guy With Mustache" who is funny and series, "Aunt Bea" (from Andy Griffith) who is the sweet grandmotherly type of influence, "Sexy Lady" who spends most of the book reassuring Jason how hot he is, and Crazy Glue who is the teenager who tends to push Jason to do things he doesn't want to. This book was a lot of fun, and although it had the heavy topic of a father with a mental disorder, and a teen who ends up in foster care, it still moved along at a quick pace and never really felt to heavy or emotionally draining. The words really flowed through this story and I would find myself sitting down to read for just a few minutes and having to make myself put it down after a full hour has past. Jason is a great lead character, strong, independent, and yet still has to learn that sometimes you can't take care of everything all on your own. The "group" of real kids that Jason meets in therapy were a great cast and so much fun. They were a ragtag crew that I would have liked to hang out with when I was in school. It was very easy to relate with one or all of the characters in this book. Even if you didn't/don't have to deal with the same issues they do, the point is, we all have something going on in our lives that we sometimes need help getting through. Overall, this was a fast and very enjoyable read and I will be looking for more books by Han Nolan in the future.
This book is an amazing story, this is one of the best book i've ever read. Once you start reading you won't be able to put it down.
Im not joking I have literally read this book more than ten times!!!!!!!I wish i could give this book more than five stars. I certainly deserves more.
This book was unusually realy good!!!!! Yet, I reccomend this book to people that are in 9th grade or higher. you need to have a mture mind. But other then that, I give this book a 4 out of 5. :)
I love this book so far. I hope a lot if people like this book just as much as I do! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Jason is dealing with the overwhelming loss of his mother, the glue who held their small family together. His father is mentally ill, and imagines himself in the time of the Greek heroes. Jason copes by making himself invisible; and by listening to the voices in his head, but worries that he too is losing his grip on sanity. When Jason is forced to attend lunchtime counselling sessions at school, his coping mechanisms are challenged.This book is intense, gritty, gripping and at times very funny. Highly recommended.
Jason is dealing with a lot. His dad has a mental illness. His mom has died. He had a tramatic experience when he was young. These events would be hard for anyone to carry around much less a teenager trying to cope with high school. He is forced to join a lunch support group who ends up being his helping hands. The writing is a little chaotic to get use to at first but over all it's a good read. I think anyone can relate to Jason struggles in life and maybe realize that everyone has their own way of dealing.
Crazy is just what the titles leads you to believe it will be, absolutely crazy! Jason's mother dies, and he is left to care for his mentally ill father all on this own. He's keeping it to himself because he refuses to let his father be locked up. To keep it a secret, Jason's learned not to have any friends, so to keep himself company, he's invited an amusing cast of characters in his own head. There is "Fat Bald Guy With Mustache" who is funny and series, "Aunt Bea" (from Andy Griffith) who is the sweet grandmotherly type of influence, "Sexy Lady" who spends most of the book reassuring Jason how hot he is, and Crazy Glue who is the teenager who tends to push Jason to do things he doesn't want to.This book was a lot of fun, and although it had the heavy topic of a father with a mental disorder, and a teen who ends up in foster care, it still moved along at a quick pace and never really felt to heavy or emotionally draining. The words really flowed through this story and I would find myself sitting down to read for just a few minutes and having to make myself put it down after a full hour has past.Jason is a great lead character, strong, independent, and yet still has to learn that sometimes you can't take care of everything all on your own. The "group" of real kids that Jason meets in therapy were a great cast and so much fun. They were a ragtag crew that I would have liked to hang out with when I was in school.It was very easy to relate with one or all of the characters in this book. Even if you didn't/don't have to deal with the same issues they do, the point is, we all have something going on in our lives that we sometimes need help getting through. Overall, this was a fast and very enjoyable read and I will be looking for more books by Han Nolan in the future.
Ive read this book at least 3 times and i nevr get tired of it. Once you start to read you ccant stop; you get cought up in the moment. I highly recomened this to everyone!!
Descibes everything I feel like sometimes...
I love this bok becuase it has lots of fungua and it grabs my hair while im walking away and pulls me back so i can never stop reading it ad it also makes me feel comfy.
I loved this book
Im so glad i read this book it is so great. This book deserves more than give stars!! I spent alot of time on reading this book and im happy i did!! :)
This book is freaking awesome!!!
I've been a fan if Han Nolan sine I read "if I should die before I wake". She captures the fragile mind of a teenagers in all of her books. Her characters (real and imaginary) really make you love and epathesize empathize with them.
This book was great! I loved the way Jason had an audience in his head and they were his alter egos. I reccomend this book to anyone 12+. (It's worth reading, trust me!)
this is amazing i couldnt put it down its good from begining to the end and i recommend it for anyone.
Jason Papadopoulos has a secret. His father is mentally retarded, and since his mother died, he has the challenging job of caring for his dad. He hides from other people, afraid to give his secret away, and is also worried that he has the same illness as his father. His theory is only stimulated by the "audience" he carries around in his head. He knows they are not real, but treats them like real friends. I like how the author wrote them in like they were actually talking to them, although it is really only himself thinking. They were kind of the comic relief of the story, but helped him make decisions. Jason is put into therapy by a teacher, and meets three other students that have problems of their own. One of them does something that forever changes Jason's life, but it also proves that he is not "crazy."