Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Crazy People by Jennifer Crusie

Ugh, why is it that things never go according to plans? Isn't that just annoying? So I was hoping to have this post up way earlier today... obviously, it didn't happen ^_^; I have to admit though it was poor planning on my part, but still. Anyway, I'm going to go with the "It's never too late" motto :P

Before we get to today's review though, I want to remind everyone that the giveaway is open until noon tomorrow! You can get more details here :)

Crazy People by Jennifer Crusie
self-published in May 2012
For fans of Jenny Crusie, of witty and warm writing, and of contemporary fiction, this collection of short stories was the genesis for one of Crusie’s most beloved novels, Crazy for You. The stories focus on three women, Quinn, Darla, and Stephanie, and their mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. Originally written for Crusie’s MFA in Fiction, they’ve been updated, edited, and packaged as a special collection for any reader who loves to laugh out loud.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: connected to Crazy for You

The Story: Crazy People is a compilation of short stories - not kidding, short stories - that Ms Crusie has written in the Creative Art Program while making her way through her PhD in feminist literature and which are connected to one of my favorite book of hers, Crazy for You.

In total, there are six stories as followed:

The Day My Sister Shot the Mailman and Got Away With It, Of Course - Ms Crusie wrote this short story as a writing exercise. Basically, she had to write a story consisting of 26 sentences, each sentence starting by the corresponding alphabetical letter, i.e. 1st sentence starts with A, 2nd with B, ...., 26th with Z. This was the start of Crazy for You because that's how Quinn and her sister Zoë got their names :P Clever of Ms Crusie to fill the two hardest letters with names right? LOL. For this publication, Ms Crusie has re-visit the story and expanded it :)

Sleep Cure - This story is about Quinn's mother when she was a young teen and how she got her stepfather to stop putting her down.

Meeting Harold's Father - This is the first meeting between  Zoë and her husband, Ben. Very cute story and my favorite of the compilation.

Necessary Skills - It's been a couple of years since I've re-read Crazy for You, so when I read Necessary Skills, I could not remember the protagonist, Barbara. However, a quick skim through Crazy for You and it came back to me LOL. Barbara is also known as the Bank Slut. She works at the bank and seems to have something for married men, "stealing" other women's husbands. Turns out, all she's looking for in a man who can take care of her and in her mind, it means being able to work with their hands. She can help it that they are all married men and are having marital problems!

Just Wanted You to Know - This short story is actually one long letter from Debbie, Darla's sister, to her husband who had just left her for Barbara. It starts out with how she'll be there when he comes back, but as she adds the post-scriptums, you can see Debbie is starting to get back on her feet and finding herself again :)

I Am At My Sister's Wedding - This one is interesting because we've never actually been introduced to the characters as they were cut from the final version of Crazy for You. Basically, Quinn was supposed to have two best friends: Darla and Stephanie, but in the end, Stephanie got the ax. I Am At My Sister's Wedding is actually told from Caroline, Stephanie's younger sister, as she attends Stephanie's five weddings. Yes, five :P

In addition to these short stories, Ms Crusie has added some thoughts and how these stories came to be which I thought was all very interesting :) Crazy People also includes the first chapter of Dog Days, what would later become Crazy for You.

My Opinion: Overall, I quite enjoyed Crazy People :) Yes, the stories were short, but they were entertaining and funny - hey, it's Jennifer Crusie after all LOL - and I loved the "behind-the-scenes." It was really interesting to know how these stories connected to Crazy for You and how they helped Ms Crusie writing the book :)

My favorite story was definitively Meeting Harold's Father, just because it was fun and random and yes, for the touch of romance :) Guess you can't take out the romance reader in me :) Another one that I really enjoyed was Just Wanted You to Know, I could just see Debbie getting back on her feet and becoming more and more confident after each passing day, realizing she didn't need her husband! The only short story I wasn't very invested in was Sleep Cure, part of it has to do with the story itself and another part is I was never really a big fan of Quinn's mother and seeing her as a teen? Just not interested.

Overall, Crazy People was fun and I'm really glad I got it :) I definitively recommend it to fans of Ms Crusie and readers who read and loved Crazy for You. Yes, I know, that was the targeted audience anyway LOL, but I'm telling people who falls into that category and had doubts, well doubt no more and get it! :)

My Grade: B.