Ava Johnson finds out that she is HIV Positive. She goes back home to be with her sister and get her head together before she moves on to San Francisco. Life takes several unexpected turns and leads Ava down a different road.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable story. Sometimes funny, sometimes maddening--just like life.
This is a wonderful book. I was laughing, crying, getting mad and feeling that sometimes, as the characters in this author's first novel does, you have to put aside your worries, and look at all the wonders that are so close, you know you're learning a life lesson. All my favorite characters in this novel are victims, who refuse to stay victims, because they're too involved helping others. I didn't understand the title at first, but it really fits the story. Cleage puts real life on paper!
This story discusses a lot of real-life topics - AIDS, teen pregnancy, drug use - all of which occur in the suburbs in Michigan. I liked this book because it tackled all of these issues head-on. A lot of "coming homing" books are all about how home is where you are safe and where you belong; this book doesn't buy into that myth. It shows how the issues that we associate with "the city" are just as prevalent in "the country," and that the people who deal with them are just like everyone else in the suburbs.
It was a really quick read, and it's got everything - a little humor, a little romance, a little action etc.
When I first started this book, I did not expect to enjoy it. It came highly recommended to me, but I just didn't think I would be totally absorbed into it. After the first 50 pages, I was hooked! Sometimes it takes me at least that amount of paper and print to make a decision about a book...I am so glad that I gave this book time to grab me into its spell! It is a beautiful story! Very well written and very emotionally touching! Thank you, Pearl Cleage for the gift of this wonderful manuscript. It is a tale of love and positive energy in even the most negative of situations. It is a story of love and hope.
Listening to it in my car while I drive to work. This turned out to be a pretty good story. It gave me a new perspective on people living with HIV.
The writer has a wonderful grasp of dialogue and narration. It all sounded so natural, like the narrator was a believable person. The story, however, seems to come across as a made for tv movie, but, overall, it entertains.
I had such mixed feelings while listening to this tape. It's a gritty story, and if you can hang in there through the low-life language, it's worth listening to.
The audio's narrator is the author herself â a huge plus. She knows the characters and knows how to âreadâ them. Now to the main players.
Ava: Her life is portrayed in the flyleaf summary as glamorous and full of âelegant pleasuresââ¦well, it wasn't. She slept around, did drugs, and lead a prosperous but very shallow existence. Her reality check is an HIV positive test result. Dazed and frightened, she heads home, to a small town near Detroit, to spend some time with her sister, Joyce.
Joyce: She is treading water herself, trying to rebuild her life after the untimely death of her husband. Big city bad-attitude has overtaken her small town, and she is desperately trying to turn things around and shake some sense into the young people of her community. She is in way over her head.
Eddie: A battle-scarred, ex-con, Vet who has meditated his way into a peaceful co-existence with the world. However, he is fully capable of drawing on his carefully censored skills of violence if necessary.
The Rev and his wife: hypocritical pieces of work from word one. You love to hate them.
The general cast: foul-mouthed, ignorant young kids whose vocabularies are limited to using F**k and S**t as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Young men who call anything female âbitchâ and stupid young women who let them get away with it. Reckless, irresponsible sexual natures and not much desire to rise above their present circumstances. This is what almost made me stop listening to the tape. Couldn't stand being pulled into their world. Wanted to smack some sense into each and every one of them. I have no tolerance for this kind of self-induced ignorance (being uneducated is often unavoidable; being ignorant is a choice).
Anyway, the story does move in a positive direction and you do come out of it believing things can and will get better, but the road won't be easy. Can't imagine being immersed in their world every day of my life.
I requested this book because I have read and enjoyed many of the other books that were selected for Oprah's Book Club. I could not get into this one and did not even finish it. It's about a woman who returns home after finding out that she's HIV positive.
This book came around at a very important time in my life....crossroads. Ava Johnson is at a crossroads in her life and this book will take you on a powerful ride and make you ask yourself some very serious questions. The heroine's language is so close to my own that I kept thinking, "Yep, that's just how I would've said that." And for everyone else, you'll probably think "I can't believe she said that!" Great read...enjoy!
Tricia J. (daintyflower) reviewed What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on
Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this book. Some of the events that occur in the book are maddening and you think that if it happened to you, you just couldn't stand it. But then you keep reading to find out how the people in the story face it and you think, I want to know these people. These are people who survive and take action in situations I am not sure I could deal with. An easy read but one that stays with you and makes you think.
This book was one of those thrift store $1 finds so I had not expected to enjoy it as much as I did, I bought it because I liked the cover. What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day is a literary treat! A well written and thoroughly told story of a life experience that actually helps to sustain us all. Courageous and daring, bold and beautiful, powerful and humbling, angry and violent, passionate and loving. Enough emotion to appear overwhelming and crazy. . . . but just an ordinary day in the life for some of us.
Pearl Cleage's What Looks like Crazy... explores some contemporary issues facing all American communities, but focuses on the microcosm of the African American community in a small town past its heydey. In this community, the reader will find issues of religious morality mixing with reality--the community has a high rate of teen pregnancy, drug use and abuse, violent boyfriends, and theft, but the religious community disagrees with the main characters about how best to deal with these issues.
Within this American microcosm, we find yet another--that of a family. Ava, who is HIV positive, returns to this community to visit her sister, who is a recent widow. This sister, Joyce, is a product of the activist generation; when she sees an issue that needs to be addressed, she gets her hands dirty and gets involved. Perhaps you can see who will be tousling with the religious community mentioned before.
Now, if the plot of the book doesn't yet intrigue you, let me tell you how quickly I was drawn into this book. It is an incredibly fast read. This is achieved by the beautiful voice of the author throughout the story. The characters here are so well developed, they seemed like people I know or could know. And they certainly have their faults too. The women in the book are all headstrong, like many women I know! The men, however, are absent fathers or horrid role models. But this is no man-hating book. Joyce's husband was clearly a wonderful human being who simply did not live until our story picks up. There's another man in the story who protects the main women in such a way that he might just make you rethink men if you are a man hater! But he too is not perfect.
I highly recommend you this book. Check it out. :)
"What makes Pearl Cleage's novel so damned enjoyable? At first glance, after all, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day seems pretty heavy going: HIV, suicide, sudden infant death syndrome, and drunk driving all figure prominently in the lives of narrator Ava Johnson and her older sister Joyce. It isn't long before crack addiction, domestic violence, and unwed motherhood have joined the list--so, where's the pleasure? The answer lies in the sharp and funny attitude Cleage brings to her depiction of one African American community in the troubled '90s. Ava Johnson, for example, might be HIV-positive, but she's refreshingly forthright about it: "Most of us got it from the boys. Which is, when you think about it, a pretty good argument for cutting men loose, but if I could work up a strong physical reaction to women, I would already be having sex with them. I'm not knocking it. I'm just saying I can't be a witness. Too many titties in one place to suit me.""
just wonderful - wonderfully written - expressed well / true to life / I was full of tears in parts / full of anger in others / and ready to do bodily harm in a couple more pages! WQNDERFUL!!! Will request / read others by this same author!
After a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living among the Atlanta brothers and sisters with the best clothes and biggest dreams, Ava Johnson has temporarily returned home to Idlewild---her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits by cold reality. But what she imagines is the end is, instead, a beginning.
In a remarkable debut novel that sizzles with sensuality, crackles with life-affirming energy and moves the reader to laughter and tears, author Pearl Cleage creates a world rich in character, human drama, and deep, compassionate understanding. After a decade of luxe living in Atlanta, Ava Johnson has returned to tiny Idlewild, Michigan -- her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth: Ava has tested positive for HIV. Bur rather than a sorrowful end, her homecoming is a new beginning. Because, in the ten-plus years since she left, all the problems of the big city have invaded the sleepy community of her childhood. Because dear friends and family sorely need her help in the face of impending trouble and tragedy, and Ava cannot turn her back on them. And because, most importantly, Ava Johnson is inexplicabley and undeniably falling in love.
This is a quick read about a woman sick with AIDS, and how she makes the best of the time she has left. The author didn't go into detail about the illness, which made the reader able to concentrate on the womans story.I enjoyed this book alot.
I just finished this book. I loved it! The swearing at first and crass writing shocked me at first. I'm not bothered by it, just wasn't expecting it. I read this book in like 2 days. Its definitely a page turner. Highly recommend.
Don't let the African-american woman on the cover dissuade you. This is a wonderful book for all women. I'm white and I LOVED this book. The characters are so real and likable and it was really hard to put down.
For years I've wanted to read this book. It's one of those that I'd pick up and read the back cover and then change my mind at the last minute. I loved this book. It is witty, sweet, and realistic. A great fast read. :-)
Story of Ava Johnson, living in Atlanta, finding out she has HIV. She decides to move to San Francisco, stopping on the way in her hometown of Idlewild to visit her sister for the summer. She never dreamed she'd be falling in love while there.
I really enjoyed this book. It's been on my shelf forever and as part of trying to read a new author for each letter of the alphabet, I finally got to it. I'm glad I did.
Very funny and charming. After a decade of elegent pleasures and luxe living among the Atlanta brothers n sisters with the best clothes n biggest dreams Ava has temporaly returned home to Idlewild, her faboulous career n power plans smashed to bits