In contrast to some of the topics that Jon Ronson has written about the everyday or ordinary craziness could seem like a really dull subject matter but this book is anything but dull.
Here Ronson presents a two part piece, the first mainly involving his own stories and the second his encounters of everyday craziness involving others, stories from a newspaper column with post-scripts which sometimes turn out as interesting as the stories themselves. Sometimes these are even better than the story themselves, such as the postscript which follows a piece on a religious group called The Jesus Christians which insisted upon followers donating organs.
Ronson explains in the preface that he wanted to write about how people create bubbles of credibility in which they, sometimes they and their cohorts, are convinced they are rational while everyone else is crazy or do and say plainly irrational things as a consequence of "one thought leading to another".
I found the pace and style of writing pretty engaging, as easy to read and as interesting as his other more bizarre topics such as military scams, conspiracy theorists and paranoia in such books as The Men Who Stare at Goats
and Them: Adventures with Extremists
The real talent emerges in both accounts like that in the postscript to his piece on the Jesus Christians where he admits first becoming convinced of his own villainy by a deluge of obsessive e-mails and then uncovers the same sorts of manipulation and mind control adopted by cults operating a private nursery. Here Ronson demonstrates how as a writer he's not really a spectator but a participant in his subject matter and then is taking something fairly routine and mundane, how a private nursery operates, reconsidering and scrutinising it in light of some fresh insights. Its a very nice, short and unassuming work of reflective thoughtful writing. It makes the same point as more dense philosophical and psychological reads like The Heart of Man
or The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics)
Finally I've got to pay tribute to the structuring of the book, however I'm only repeating what Ronson himself says in the introduction, the book finishes with a look at Stanley Kubrick and the private world created through Kubrick's hoarding tendencies. It's a lighter note to finish on and meant the book had a nice uplifting note to end on.
While there is a contents page there is no index, I dont think the book was intended to be read and referenced so I have a certain sense in which this does not feel like a great oversight or omission.