Monday, March 31
Book Review: The Last of the Crazy People
Author: Timothy Findley
Summary: While other 11-year-old boys are preoccupied with things like hockey, television and having fun, Hooker broods about his dysfunctional home-life. With a mother who refuses to leave her room, a brother in an alcoholic haze and a father who's unable to hold things together, Hooker's world is one of bewilderment and conflict. Feeling alone and unhappy, the young boy seeks to put an end to all of the confusion.
My Rating: 8/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The book will leave you stunned, heartbroken as it's done with me, and I've had and incredibly hard time, trying to find the right words, to describe the book. The characters and story, are haunting, it touches on a lot of themes and issues, one of which is very close to my heart. It was an enjoyable read, and one I'd highly recommend. Hooker was a complex character, who I really felt for. He's difficult to truly know and understand, but I think it worked well for him, because as a reader, you move along with him, as he tries to understand the world around him, particularly his own family.
I think the author showcases mental illness, in its various forms, wonderfully in this book. He shows the raw, dark side of mental illness, in a time period where it was "crazy" and greatly ignored, until something horrific happens. Like in this book, from Hooker's mother, brother himself, and even his father, the book is filled with characters struggling with some form of mental illness. The slow narrative and look on the day to day life, creates an incredible picture for the reader. It's a difficult book to get through, especially considering the topic that's buried there, but for the time period and the setting, the author does give the reader a very haunting story. Particularly the ending, and all that leads up to it was shocking and powerful. There were definitely hints throughout the book how it would end, at times I expected certain aspects of the end to come sooner than it did, but slightly different outcome. Yet, because of the way Findley wrote it, it left me stunned and heartbroken. It's an ending that doesn't satisfy me fully, but it works for the book and the point the author made. It's not what you want for the character, but it's what is needed to show the reader the bitter end the themes of the book can lead.
In the end it was an enjoyable read, hard to believe it was the author's first published novel, with the level of writing, well worth reading in the end.
Would I recommend it to read: I would. It's a dark book, but I think it's a book that is so well written, and does a great job at telling this story, that it's a book I'd highly recommended.
What to read next: Alias Grace, More Timothy Findley
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mental Health Awareness Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge