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Crazy [Hardcover]

William Peter Blatty
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Nov 2010
New York, 1941: Joey El Bueno is just a smart-aleck kid, confounding the nuns and bullies at St. Stephen's school on East 28th Street when he first meets Jane Bent, a freckle-faced girl with red pigtails and yellow smiley-face barrettes who seems to know him better than he knows himself. A magical afternoon at the movies, watching Cary Grant in Gunga Din, is the beginning of a puzzling friendship that soon leaves Joey baffled and bewildered. Jane is like nobody he has ever met. She comes and goes at will, nobody else seems to have heard of her, and is it true that she once levitated six feet off the ground at the refreshment counter of the old Superior movie house on Third Avenue? Joey, an avid reader of pulp magazines and comic books, is no stranger to amazing stories, but Jane is a bewitching enigma that keeps him guessing for the rest of his life - until, finally, it all makes sense.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Forge (9 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326492
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,934,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

""Crazy "is terrific! A wonderful novel: funny, touching and SO full of love!"
--Julie Andrews, legendary star and bestselling author --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising. 5 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Fresh, emotional, all paced novel. The surprise ending made me
want to read it again. Great.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the 2 star review 13 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover
2 stars for this? Now that's crazy. This book is a sheer delight, and it's as simply as that. A real life-affirming treat - wonderfully funny and compassionate. Don't miss it
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Crazy' is right... 27 Nov 2010
By Ian Armer VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

It's hard to review a book that is so obviously filled with good intention, but 'Crazy' is a frustrating and immensely disappointing read. Bearing in mind that Blatty's previous book, 'Dimiter', was an exceptional piece of writing, one feels that he was right to pronounce that he would never again write anything as good. 'Crazy' proves it.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around Joey El Bueno, a young kid living in 1940's New York, and his relationship with his father, school friends and a mysterious girl called Jane who appears and disappears at will, prompting him to pray more and be good. The mystery revolves around just who - or what - Jane actually is.

There's no denying that Blatty is a gifted writer and comedy is his forte, but 'Crazy' has serious problems. It is crammed with cultural references of the era and a lot of jokes hinge upon these references. Needless to say, they go straight over your head. Secondly, Blatty is relentless with the gags. He forces them into almost every paragraph with the subtlety of a flying gold brick. Thirdly, the jokes aren't that funny. And finally, the pay off is crushingly bad. Just awful. Sweet, saccharine, well meaning, quite insulting and boiling down to a 'be Catholic and go to Heaven' lecture. Admittedly, Blatty stays true to the original premise, and you're hooked by the mystery of Jane, but when her true identity is revealed to the aged Joey, you feel so let down. And when Jane explains the events of the book you've just read, it's utterly deflating. And when you get to 'Navajo Trail' with the end in sight, you're actually glad to finish.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as The Ninth Configuration 21 Mar 2011
By D. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Utterly delightful, genuinely funny, and entirely sincere, earnest and nostalgic; some, might say, to a fault. Like Theodore Sturgeon, Blatty has never been one to hide his intentions; he's didactic and proud of it, dammit!

Ever since The Exorcist, his theological thriller-mystery-comedies have been about the exploration of his Christian/Catholic faith. Whether he's examining the problem of evil, the nature of altruistic sacrifice, or, as in Crazy, the joys of being a good, moral person, Blatty is using his fiction as a way to understand his faith, or his hope as he might say.

Crazy is really a companion piece to his autobiographical book I'll Tell Them I Remember You, the story about how his own mother shaped in him, and proved to him through miraculous means, his belief in God. You might say that his childhood was, indeed, crazy, and so it is not much a stretch to extrapolate that he is, in fact, the basis for Joey El Bueno, the main character here.

It's odd to me that Blatty recently said that Dimiter was his most personally-important work; knowing what I know about him, and of his fiction, I'd rank Crazy and The Ninth Configuration as more important and more Blatty-esque. Both of these novels are funny and poignant, and while The Ninth Configuration is more philosophical in nature, Crazy is more personal and introspective.

William Peter Blatty is getting old, and I'll be honest, I think about his passing. If this book is any indication, he does too! That makes me sad. I'm really going to miss him when's gone. In this day and age when so many people seem so cynical and skeptical about faith and religion, and when so many religious people act like heartless bastards, it's nice to know that there is someone like Blatty out there. To me he feels like a kindred spirit, a man and author I greatly admire. I guess I should just be thankful that his books even exist.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the end, Joey's story makes sense --- and it gives a sense of promise and hope. 22 Dec 2010
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Joey El Bueno is an 82-year-old patient recovering in Bellevue Hospital in New York on Christmas Eve. A writer and former screenwriter, Joey is working on his memoir under the watchful eye of Nurse Rose Ellen Bloor.

His story opens in New York City in 1941, where he's a smart-mouthed seventh grader at St. Stephen's School. Joey is a child of sacrifice. He has never known a mother's love because his mom, Eileen, died in childbirth. His father, Pop, is shamelessly and utterly devoted to the boy. Pop is an immigrant who speaks broken English, makes a living doing back-bending work, and does without so Joey can have a better life.

St. Stephen's is where Joey first meets Jane Bent, "this real pretty girl with reddish hair...in pigtails with green-and-yellow smiley-face barrettes at the ends." From the moment they see each other, Jane tells Joey details only he should know, and she knows some things about him even he doesn't know. After their first encounter, Jane disappears. Joey asks about her, but no one else has seen her, except a classmate who claims he saw her levitate six feet off the floor at a movie theater.

When Jane finally returns, she looks different and another age. Who is Jane Bent? Is she real, is she crazy, or is Joey crazy himself? During one visit, Jane claims she is on a secret Christmas quest. She buys him dinner, talks about how prayer builds up grace, and reminds him of the importance of confession, trust and generosity.

As the end of Joey's life draws near, the past floats to the surface of his memory: the movies and radio programs he and his father enjoyed, the sacrifices his father made for him, scrapes with his childhood friends, his Catholic school education at the hands of the Jesuits, his life in Hollywood and his return to the East Coast. With Christmas hours away --- through his stream of consciousness, and sometimes unconsciousness --- Joey reflects on his regrets and missteps, along with his moments of kindness and grace.

Interrupting his reverie is Rose Ellen Bloor, a self-assured nurse who wears stiletto heels and tells Joey about her dream of writing a screenplay about Adolph Hitler. She asks for his help because she isn't sure of the all technical stuff --- "the words."

CRAZY, with its wildly creative and humorous scenarios, is wise and witty, funny and sad. Through Joey's story, William Peter Blatty's unflinching prose questions the meaning of life. It's a story of good and evil, of second chances, of coming to peace at the end of the road and welcoming the unknown. Just as Joey takes a tangled trip down memory lane, reflecting and deflecting and detouring to figure out the mystery of Jane, following him on his serpentine journey is worth the trip. In the end, Joey's story makes sense --- and it gives a sense of promise and hope.

--- Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt ([...])
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hang in There! 14 Jan 2011
By Maryann Bowne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I entitled this review "Hang in There" because that is what I did with this book. Early on, I was ready to just close the cover and forget the whole thing. Despite other reviews, I really didn't think this book was very funny, kinda cute at times, but not funny. The first person ramblings were tedious (one sentence was 24 lines long!) and, I just felt that the author tried too hard to be humorous. Well, since the book is short, I decided to just keep reading to see where all this was going especially with that Jane character. Well, the end was delightful. As a matter of fact, the book did get easier to read about 3/4 of the way through. So, if you can just skim over the ramblings, ignore the author's tedious attempts at humor and just keep reading, I really think you will also find the ending and the whole purpose of this Jane character really a joy. It is truly a love story.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happiest happy ending I've ever read 31 July 2011
By Julia McDonough - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was ready to dismiss this book in the beginning because the "smiley face" did not exist in 1941. However, after traveling through this often difficult, sometimes hysterical, and ultimately triumphant novel, it made perfect sense.

I borrowed Crazy from the library because of its cover (not because the author wrote The Exorcist) and ended up falling in love with its characters. I closed the book feeling really good about life and not being afraid of death. What more can anyone want from a piece of fiction?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've yet to see Blatty fail! 12 May 2013
By Carlos Bender - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This being one of the more complex works from the master of horror(it bring quite the opposite in fact), I write this review with torn heart. The majority of the book was "filler" type writing, and, sure, became admittedly droll at times, especially since 90% of the sentences dragged on past previous belief of possible length. There are some exciting, or well should I say, eventful passages throughout that make you think and are indeed deserving of remark, and every scene involving Jane was wonderful, and at the closing of the novel, because utterly magnificent.

This bring me to the portion of the book that tears my heart. I tell you this, based on the final few chapters alone, this novel could easily achieve a masterful "5 star" rating. Only because of the long and mostly boring scenes elsewhere does it just undershoot it. In the closing chapters, there is a deeply concerning event that brings about a second in the final chapter or two. This second event ties up everything and even brought a welling tear to my eye.

In closing, I recommend this book strongly to anyone looking for a leisurely and reflective read. The underlying message being love and (when looking for it), the awe-inspiring and never failing power and love of God.
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