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What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – November 1, 1998
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Ada has spent the last 10 years living in Atlanta. When she discovers she's infected, she sells her hairdressing business and heads back to her childhood home of Idlewild, Michigan, to spend the summer with her recently widowed sister before moving on to San Francisco. Once there, however, she finds herself embroiled in big-city problems--drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, and an abandoned crack-addicted baby, to name just a few--in a small-town setting. Ava also meets Eddie Jefferson, a man with a past who just might change her mind about the imprudence of falling in love.
In less assured hands, such a catalog of disasters would make for maudlin, melodramatic reading indeed. But Cleage, an accomplished playwright, has a way both with characters and with language that lifts this tale above its movie-of-the-week tendencies. In Ava she has created a character who not only effortlessly carries the weight of the story but also provides entertaining commentary on African American life as she goes. Discussing the insular nature of the black community in Atlanta, she recalls, "I'd walk into a reception room and there'd be a room full of brothers, power-brokering their asses off, and I'd realize I'd seen them all naked. I'd watch them striding around, talking to each other in those phony-ass voices men use when they want to make it clear they got juice, and it was so depressing, all I'd want to do was go home and get drunk." Later, she describes the preacher's wife's hair as "pressed and hot-curled within an inch of its life.... Hardly anybody asks for that kind of hard press anymore. Sister seems to have missed the moment when we decided it was okay for the hair to move."
As the trials and tribulations pile on, the experiences of Cleage's characters prove to be universal: death, love, second chances. Ava's acerbic, smart-mouthed narrative keeps the story buoyant; by the time this endearingly imperfect heroine and her cohorts have negotiated the rocky road to a happy ending, readers will be sorry to see her go, even as they wish her well. --Alix Wilber
From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ava Johnson comes home to Michigan after living in Atlanta for 10 years or so ~~ this was just going to be a short stop on the way to San Francisco where she is determined to find a new life. Only, that plan falls to the wayside. Ava's older sister, Joyce is a warm-hearted woman struggling to find ways to educate young African-American girls about birth control, fight against her church's narrow-minded pastor and his wife who are out to stop anything that is not "Christian-like". And along the way, they rescue a crack baby, Imani and Ava falls in love with Eddie, an old friend of Joyce and her husband.
This is such a rivetting read. One that I highly recommend to everyone. It is written with brutal truth and humor ... and you find yourself rooting for Ava and her family as they set out to conquer the small corner of their world. It's wonderfully written to keep your interest snared ... and I am looking forward to read more of this author's work. This is not your typical depressing Oprah pick ... it's one of the best, uplifting book I've read in a long time!!
The story itself is truly reviting, but the author's ability take the reader by the hand and just lead them one step at a time through the story is absolutely incredible. I've never had any author do that to me before. Usually, you're so wrapped up in the plot and charaters and who did what, you speed through the book and finish it before you can catch your breath. Not with this book.
You follow the life of the main character, Ava Johnson, and all those whose lives touch hers and you feel yourself wanting the best for all of them. Yet you never feel the need to peek into the next chapter or "accidentally" glance at the last page of the book.
Pearl Cleage has moved to the top of my favorite author list and will be praised to anyone who will listen. I can't recomment this book enough!
Boy, was I wrong.
This story was funny, touching, uplifting and downright inspiring. The author's main character, Ava Johnson, is a lot like me - she's discovering real love, struggling to find answers about her purpose, searching for spirituality, reconnecting with her family and hometown, and forging a new path in life.
Right up there with "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing" this book is a must-read for a woman, regardless of where she is on her path to self-discovery.
Pearl Cleage writes in a very efficient, yet effective style, conveying in a few words what lesser writers struggle to convey in whole paragraphs. Her ability to create an atmosphere of comfort, lush sensuality, or stark horror is remarkable. She writes with wit and honesty, even when describing the pain so often found in life. She perfectly captures the essence of her characters and the roller-coaster of emotion that they experience in the story. I truly cared about these people, so that in the end I cried tears of sadness, outrage, and happiness, all in the space of an hour! I can't wait to tell my friends about this gift of a book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It elicited many different feelings and responses from me as well as addressed some serious issues that people today deal with. Read morePublished 8 days ago by RachelK
Despite being a novel filled with tragedy, it still makes you smile and have faith in the goodness of people. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Penelope Phalange
Pearl Cleage is a wonderful writer. This story started out a little slow, but got me more and more interested in the story and the characters as it went along. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gwen F.
A book that starts somewhat doom and gloom blossoms into a feel good human experience story. One can go home again and find peace in salvation in the new & old.Published 6 months ago by Pecan
This is my absolute favorite book. I can't count how many times I've read it, but, I do know that it never gets old!!Published 6 months ago by Halimah El-Amin
How much has really changed? Made me think about how to have my convictions, not judge and make a difference.Published 6 months ago by L. K. Johnson