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Crazy Ladies

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,865 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews
A lively multigenerational tale of six charming, unforgettable Southern women--a story of love and laughter, pain and redemption.

Though she was born in Tennessee, Miss Gussie is no country fool. A woman who can handle any situation, she has her hands full with her two headstrong daughters who happen to be complete opposites -- dour Dorothy and sweet Clancy Jane. Hoping mon
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Published January 17th 2006 by HarperAudio (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maria (Ri)
Jul 03, 2007 Maria (Ri) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this one last night and I am already missing the characters! I really loved this book! It reminded me so much of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik, one of my favorite authors. This is southern version with a little more dramatic kick. As crazy and "unlovable" as she was, Dorothy was one of my favorite characters. She needed to be loved so badly but just went about it in all the wrong ways. Oh Dorothy, if only I could have seen you for counseling and a homeopathic remed ...more
May 23, 2008 Mich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
chick lit. michael lee west writes the BEST books! this one is the 'first' book about miss gussie and her antics as she grows up and raises a family. super good read with a southern twist
Heather Gay
Jan 31, 2008 Heather Gay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: shannan
Recommended to Heather by: My Mom
Shelves: favorites
I can always go back to this book for light-hearted laugh out loud fun. Michael Lee West tells the same story from different perspectives, (think Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible), and the voices are so consistent, so genuine and SO Hilarious. I thought HE was a genius author that could really capture the female voice until I found out that He, Michael Lee West, WAS a woman!! Less impressed once I found that out, but the book is still great. Similar style to Fried Green Tomatoes, etc.
Oct 05, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm just not big on stories of dysfunctional women who make stupid choices their whole lives. "Crazy Ladies" was an apt title. Both the characters and the story lacked depth. In some ways this felt like a Cliff Notes version of a book even though it was almost 400 pages long. I forced myself to finish thinking somehow it would redeem itself. It didn't. There are too many good books out there to waste your time on this one.
Oct 18, 2007 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves southern women and culture
This book is a delight--funny, thought-provoking, sad and also inspirational. The characters are interesting and well-drawn. Hard to put down and one that I read again and again.
Aug 29, 2007 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: like stories about crazy women/friendships/females in families
I normally do not like fiction, but I really couldn't put this book down. I grew up the crazy tales and trouble-making characters and I feel like this is a grown up version. The book starts in the earlier part of the 20th century and ends in the 70s, a journey through the secrets and lives of three generations of southern women. I really like the way that the author tells each chapter in a different character's voice. The author has a great way of weaving the characters stories together. The aut ...more
May 21, 2007 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes southern writing.
This story takes place over 40 years, from 1932 to 1972, in the southern United States. It centers around women in a family (5 women plus their maid). The chapters are written in their different voices. The book was a wonderful read, very easy to lose yourself in it for a couple hours. It's especially good if you like southern stories or stories that take place "back in the day", as I do.
Jul 16, 2008 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. The only thing that bothered me was some of the language used, but due to the time setting of this book it made sense I suppose.

I thought it was interesting seeing the story through all of the different characters.

Mar 30, 2008 Carla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carla by: Suzanne
My aunt gave me this to read. I'm finally on the last chapter today. It has been such a great read that I'm disappointed that it will be over after this last chapter.
Dec 28, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was diappointed with this book and can't even remember if I finished it or not. It just couldn't hold my attention and the characters weren't very relatable.
May 23, 2015 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a find!!! This book came from a hunt for Southern, fun beach reads for a recent trip. Chosen simply for it's title and cover photo, once again, I am reminded that sometimes you can pick a book, just for it's cover.
The 6 women in this book ARE crazy, and thoughtful and caught in the roles assigned to them by the family and their community. All of this is wrapped up in a family whose history is irrevocably changed by one incident.
Add this to your summer reading - you will be glad you did!
Sarah Jamison
Dec 29, 2012 Sarah Jamison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second West book within a month and even though I only checked it out because the book I wanted wasn't around and I couldn't think of anything else to get, I'm glad I did. This is the kind of book you read while somebody else drives and you have 10 minutes in the car. You have five minutes in a checkout line, so you read some of it. Thirty minutes before bed is plenty of time to learn more and more about the Crazy Ladies of Crystal Falls, Tennessee. A paragraph here, a chapter there. ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Sometimes books with Appalachian settings are very heavy. Sometimes they are so simple they make southerns look silly or ignorant. I found this book had a very good blend. It tackled some tough issues but it was complemented by humor to lighten it up a bit. The characters were varied as well. The book covered forty years so as the reader, I saw them grow. None of the characters were completely good nor bad. Like real people I know, I found qualities to admire and to dis ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Ulla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, hardback
The title says it!! Crazy is the right word for these ladies although not the only right one. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all of them!!
And learned a lot also!
Feb 19, 2012 Sj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Lansdale
From the beginning, this book reminded me of Steel Magnolias in the sense of dramatic southern women. I loved every page of this book, and as soon as I finish this review I'll search for other titles by Lee.
This book spans four decades and includes three generations of women. Each chapter is narrated by one of the female family members and one other important character--Queenie, the hired help.
While Lee's character development holds back on physical details, she beautifully provides insight in
Aug 27, 2012 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on my "To Read" list for years, and I'm so glad that I finally got around to finding it. With multiple narrators and a fifty-year span, this book covers several generations of southern women and takes us from shortly before WWII through the Vietnam era. I thought it was striking to see both how much things change over time and how much things stay the same.
Jan 01, 2009 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love the multi-generational novel about eccentric southern women. This one was more soap-operesque trash about truly dysfunctional and crazy women and unfaithful men. Its one you keep reading to find out how it ends even though you can see it as a Lifetime made for tv movie. And I read the next in the series and it was more of the same.
May 24, 2007 Shelley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The mother and favored daughter characters reminded me too much of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, so it was a little disappointing and I don't particulary like books that have a lot of infidelity in them, but most books seem to have that anymore.

Jul 30, 2008 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've read this book several times before. It's a mix between a simple Southern novel and historical fiction. I love all the women's characters and the fact that the story is told from each of their points of view.
Apr 23, 2008 Joiseyshore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have actually read this book quite a few times. It follows the lives of several (quite colorful) southern women through some troubled times but keeps you laughing.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Loved this book. Crazy southern ladies. :) Reminded me of my family..I always swear that Jerry Springer has a warrant out on my family.
Apr 10, 2013 Lorrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i picked this book up at a yard sale and i am sooo glad i did. i just purchased the sequel to it from b&n. loved it!
Oct 22, 2014 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three generations of Tennessee women. Were they crazy? Hmmm....define crazy. Great read!
Sep 21, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy Ladies was a good story that kept my interest, but was not at all the type of story that I thought and hoped it would be. On the back cover, the words "funny" and "comedy," along with the title and cover, led me to believe that it was going to be a comedy/drama set in the south much like Fanny Flagg books, which I love. There was nothing funny or comedic about this book. It was all drama. Sometimes it felt a bit much, especially since I was expecting something different. However, I would s ...more
Kathleen McRae
Apr 04, 2014 Kathleen McRae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy Ladies was an interesting look at life in southern USA from 1960 -1980. the underlying story was a secret the mother Gussie held for years until her death and her relationship with her two daughters , following her husbands early death.The book defined the culture and ethnics prevailing in the south during those years including the racism and pressure on women to marry well.The distinction between being trashy and being a lady was strictly defined and made for difficult times if you did no ...more
Jun 17, 2015 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book and I really enjoyed the beginning. I had a couple of problems with it though...for one, the story begins in 1932 when the main character, Gussie, is 18 years old. It ends in 1972 when she is 58, but to hear the author tell it both Gussie and her housekeeper/friend Queenie (who is the same age) are ancient. It's 1972--not 1872, there's no reason for those women to seem so elderly.
I also didn't really like Dorothy. I think I was supposed to feel sorry for her but I just found he
Terri White
Feb 26, 2014 Terri White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun, satisfying
Compelling.... could not put it down. A tale of a dysfunctional family. Three generations of women. The most amazing thing about it was that I found myself hating a character, then understanding that character; loving a character then despising that character. As in life, there really is no black or white - heroes can be villains sometimes; bad people can have good in them; people are flawed but not inherently evil..... I know this is a confusing review, the book was NOT confusing. It was downri ...more
This book covers three generations of Southern women from the 1930's to the early 1970's. When Miss Gussie is forced into a terrible situation, she finds that she must bury the evidence in the backyard or have terrible consequences befall her young family. From that point on, though, the family seems to suffer under a curse. Daughter Dorothy is difficult and is possibly paranoid, and has great grief for her mother's apparent preference for her younger sister Clancy Jane. Clancy Jane has her own ...more
LeAnn Noland
This book was very aptly titled. These ladies do lead crazy lives. Mostly I felt it was self-inflicted drama but a few times, they legitimately were true survivors. I like books with strong southern female characters. This book had that to be sure, but I just couldn't really connect with the characters with the exception of Violet,and as it turns out she was not as focused on as the other women.

I think what turned me off the most was the character of Dorothy. I think too much time was spent foc
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Goodreads Librari...: Description Change 2 18 Feb 10, 2014 10:52AM  
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Michael Lee West grew up on the Gulf Coast with a wild tribe of Southern cooks. She lives on a farm near Nashville with her family. Michael is the author of Crazy Ladies, Mad Girls in Love, She Flew the Coop, American Pie, Mad Girls in Love, Mermaids in the Basement, Consuming Passions, and Gone With a Handsomer Man. Her new novel, A Teeny Bit of Trouble, is the second installment in the Teeny Tem ...more
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