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Crazy for Trying

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A wonderful first novel, Crazy for Trying follows the adventures of Tulsa Bitters, who takes a midnight radio announcer job in Montana, leaving behind a disastrous love affair and a dysfunctional family life. But love isn't through with spunky, chunky Tulsa. It comes through in the charismatic form of a crusty rancher named Mac, whose romantic expectations are not particularly traditional. If you like a happy ending for a courageous and lovable character, Tulsa's story will fill your heart. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Using the vast Big Sky country of Montana as a backdrop, Rodgers chronicles a confused young woman's journey of self-discovery circa 1979 in this uneven, mildly entertaining first novel. Dumped by her handsome artist lover and reeling from the death of her mother, a bestselling lesbian feminist author, 19-year-old Tulsa Bitters arrives in Helena, Mont., with $20 and a broken heart. Tall, overweight and overread, timid Tulsa soon discovers her own voice when she becomes "VA Lones," the first female deejay in Helena's history. Sensual and exhilarating, Tulsa's on-air personality captures the hearts of the town's cowboys, including "Mac" MacPeters, a 45-year-old self-destructive loner and bookworm. But their road to true love is blocked by personal demons and such obstacles as Tulsa's persistent ex-boyfriend and a devastating fire that almost kills Mac. Rodgers, herself the first female deejay in Helena, has an authentic voice that often gets lost in overblown language and an annoying glut of book references that are more pretentious than literary. Most disappointing, however, is the narrative's quick descent into sappy romance. Tulsa's emergence as a confident, secure woman comes less from her obvious intelligence and hard-won career struggles than from her affair with a sexy older lover.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage (October 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878448927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878448927
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,318,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Joni Rodgers was born into a family of gospel/bluegrass performers and grew up on stage, opening for huge-haired country music legends of the 60s and 70s. She continued performing until 1994, when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She used the chemo downtime to complete her first two novels and went on to author, coauthor and ghostwrite more than a dozen bestselling books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Married to jet plane mechanic/wine maker Gary Rodgers since 1983, Joni is the proud mother of two fine young adults. She lives in Houston, Texas and is represented by William Morris Endeavor, New York.

"Joni Rodgers lives, loves and writes without a safety net." ~ Entertainment Weekly

"Rodgers' strength is a womanly wise, laugh-through-tears appreciation of life." ~ Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
19 year old Tulsa Bitters carries a lot more baggage than her 2 guitars when she steps off a train in Helena, Montana. She carries with her a lifetime of feeling ugly and inadequate, growing up in a home with a lesbian Mother and a long gone Dad. These feelings vanish when she goes on the air as a late night Dee Jay. Her new life as V.A. Lownes, in which she can be heard but not seen brings out her inner beauty and brings a jaded Viet Nam vet, Mac McPeters into her life. The romance filled battles between the old vet and the glamorous sounding young Dee Jay are fought against a background of the mountains of Montana. Love eventually overcomes the bad memories Tulsa and Mac grew up with. A classic love story that will make you laugh and cry, occasionally at the same time
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In Crazy For Trying, Joni Rodgers, delivers a story that is as big and wide and gorgeous as its Big Sky country setting. It is a punch to the solar plexus, unflinching on so many levels. Troubled and witty, and sometimes irreverent, it is the truly courageous exploration of one young woman's journey through heartbreaking circumstances of loss and abandonment, of vulnerability and self doubt, to full-blown, joyous self-discovery.

Tulsa Bitters, the daughter of a famous, recently-deceased feminist, arrives in Helena, Montana with a dented heart, twenty bucks and a couple of guitars. She wants to hide and life gives her a plan, a way to do it in plain sight as "VA Lones", Helena's first female deejay. It's the job she was born for, one she loves. Soon she meets Mac, a guy twice her age, and she loves him, too. As Tulsa, or Tuppy-my-guppy, as her famous mother affectionately called her, she might have lacked the confidence to take on such a job and the lover, but as VA, she can be bold--sort of. The relationship between Mac and Tulsa is no typical May-December affair. It's a coming of age, a coming to terms for them both. It's tender and tough; it takes side roads that twist off the heart's ledge. A way is lost and then found only to drop into the dark night. A small town watches, or at times what is a full and colorful cast of players mixes in. As the reader, you become entangled, engrossed.

Rodger's voice is unique, a wry and beautiful gift, that breathes life into characters and a plot that is as vividly drawn and compelling as it is passionate. The ending is up for grabs. You might be surprised; you just might find yourself laughing through your tears.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's 11:30PM and I have just finished the book "Crazy for Trying" by Joni Rodges.

This Romance novel kept my attention, but I was able to put it down when I had other
things to do, because Joni's characters, Tulsa Bitters and Michael MacPeters, stayed
in my mind while I was somewhere else.

Mac's background, I resonate with, because I am a Vietnam veteran who has known others
like Mac. They took years to adjust to society and had to have a jolt to get them out
of their wandering ways. Mac's jolt was meeting Tul. His family life prior to military
service didn't help to aid him in conquering the addictions and norms one acquires when
living in the same place all your life.

And along comes a firecracker, Tulsa, an intelligent bred dynamo, who deifies all the
norms of a small Montana town. Depressed because of what she believes to be her mother's
questioned love, she arrives in town to make her imprint by becoming VA, the Radio Disk Jockey,
who defies and conquers a male dominated media and reaches small town stardom.

These bring the two together: Love of music, radio, books, and Tulsa new love of the
open air and Mac's smell and demeanor. Mac: I love a women that reads. (I do Too.)
The age difference and Mac's lack of commitment and family problems are the major reasons
they go through some draw backs in their on and off relationship.

It's Tulsa's love and determination to ride this cowboy into a life changing endeavor, after
six marriages (A little over done. Three would have sufficed,) to become a part of a family
he thought he never had - a state of mind.

Tulsa's mother's will was the linchpin that would solve the Lovers final turmoil.
Read more ›
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This is a very good novel although the style of writing was very hard to follow at first because the changes between narrators often happened suddenly between paragraphs with no indication that there was going to be a change. Also, the romance seemed to be only a small part of the story; the main focus of the story were the character developments of Mac and Tulsa and how they came to terms with their pasts which included a host of social issues for both of them. Crazy for Trying is not a light read but it is a gripping page-turner with a great deal of realism in both the characters and the plot. The imagery of Montana was done extremely well; I could practically see and feel what was happening throughout the book. This is the first romance novel that I've read that has a Jew for a main character and, being Jewish myself, it was easy for me to identify with Tulsa. There was just one point that bothered me. I would have assumed that Tulsa's mother Alexandra would have had a Jewish funeral but Jewish law forbids people to view the body after death and a "viewing" and "visitation" at the funeral were specifically mentioned. Overall I enjoyed this book very much and would definitely recommend it to others.
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