- Hardcover: 212 pages
- Publisher: Putnam; First Printing edition (March 10, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399142525
- ISBN-13: 978-0399142529
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 5.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,107,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Necessary Madness Hardcover – March 10, 1997
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Not that age should matter in the grand scheme of things, but Jenn Crowell was barely 18 when she sold this first novel to her publishers. Unlike much fiction by very young people, however, Necessary Madness does not trade on hipness, teenage angst or underage promiscuity. The novel is the story of 30-year-old Gloria Burgess coming to grips with the premature death from cancer of a beloved husband. Kirkus Reviews hailed Necessary Madness (set in England, though Crowell is American) for its fully developed characters and maturity of content.
From Publishers Weekly
Whatever the qualities of this first novel?and they are notable, on both sides of the ledger?the qualities of its author are going to steal the spotlight in the months to come, in large part because of the publisher's promo campaign. Crowell was a 17-year-old high-school senior when she completed this work. Her writing teacher at Goucher College, novelist Madison Smartt Bell, read it during Crowell's freshman year and sent it to his agent, who sold it. Surprisingly, the novel is no story of adolescent passage. It is, rather, the thoughtful tale, filled with many small insights, of how a woman in her 30s weathers grief and learns to live with it. When British painter Bill Burgess dies of leukemia, his American wife, Gloria, is left alone in London with her young son. Gloria's first-person voice is engagingly worldly as she worries about her son, swings between grief and numbness and revisits her past?particularly her relationships with her mother, a cold perfectionist, and her father, a weak intellectual who committed suicide. These parents suffer from some slick, even stereotypical characterization. More troublesome is the scantiness of the plot, which is mechanically propelled by the question of whether Gloria will agree to a retrospective of her husband's work organized by a cloyingly sensitive friend. Crowell's prose is so clean that, at times, readers may be lulled by its cadences into mistaking rudimentary psychological insight for something edgier, deeper, finer. In fact, Crowell has fashioned an above-average domestic drama?nothing less, but nothing more. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; BOMC selection; film rights to Sony Entertainment; audio rights to Brilliance and Books on Tape; foreign rights sold in 10 countries.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I actually found this book by accident. I was looking up books on leukemia and stumbled on it. I bought it used and say all the great feedback it was getting and also some negative so I decided to give it a try.
I think this book is more or less a story of a woman coming to terms with her life, and what it took to get her where she is. I think it also gives alot of young adults a look at what a truly relationship is like, and the pain and agony that you go through when your time is cut short with that person. You know it is different to just end a marriage through divorce because you know that person still exist, but when someones life is cut short then it is quite a bit more difficult.