Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let me gush about Han Nolan's new book for a second.

I just finished reading Han Nolan's latest YA novel, _Crazy_, which was just released last month.

Wow. Nolan never disappoints. I've gushed about her before, so I won't go on detail about why it is I love her books so much. Suffice it to say, though, that _Crazy_ is just as good as the books of hers that preceded it.

It made me laugh and it made me cry. It made my chest hurt and it made my jaw drop a few times. It's about a fourteen-year-old boy, Jason, whose mother has died. And he's living with/taking care of his father, who is mentally ill. Jason relies on the voices in his head to help him navigate through life, but slowly learns to accept that he can't manage everything on his own.

Here's a passage that really stuck out for me:

"The way people come and go in your life, where they're present and alive one minute, and missing or dead the next, is an idea that's too big for me to grasp. Life just seems way too fragile all of the sudden, and everybody seems to take it so lightly, as if they all think we're made like army tanks, big and strong and able to roll over anything in our way. And it's not just our bodies that are fragile; our minds are even more so. I don't know what fine membrane separates sanity from insanity, but after watching my dad slip-sliding around on the border between the two all my life, I know how easy it is to cross, and this scares me...It's too easy to slip up, to slip off, and flip out" (224-225).

As I read that passage, I thought about how much I wish this book had existed a year ago, when I went into existential crisis mode and suddenly wasn't able to recognize myself anymore.

When I picked up this book, I had not expected to relate to it on any level at all. I mean, let's get real for a second. My mom's not dead and my dad's not crazy.

But a year ago, I was struggling to care about school/my job as editor-in-chief of a literary journal. And I found it incredibly difficult because so much crazy shit had happened to my friends that year: One friend's mom and brother died, another's six-year-old daughter drowned, and one's house burned down. I was made aware of just how fragile life really is, and was afraid of losing everyone/thing. That fear made me lose myself just a little.

I don't know. I guess I can't really compare. But at the very least, I can't deny that this book was oddly really comforting to me, as all of Nolan's books are.

You're missing out if you don't read them.

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