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Necessary Madness

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  216 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
After losing her husband to leukemia, Gloria Burgess vows not to fall apart, for her own sake and that of her young son. Yet, despite her bravest efforts, Gloria will be swept up in a remarkable rite of passage. It will plunge her into a shattering exploration of her parent's unfulfilled marriage, entwine her destiny with the life of a passionate artist, and ultimately for ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by Vision (first published January 1st 1997)
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Feb 05, 2014 Corey rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
A really well-written book about loss, family, and grief. Of course, the author attended the same small liberal arts school that I currently attend, and so part of me came into this book almost needing to like it, and anything I say in this review should probably be taken with a grain of potential conflict of interest.

I'm torn as to whether or not I should comment on Crowell's age at the time she published this thing. Part of me truly believes that "The Author" is dead and should stay that way,
Sep 19, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Diane by: Learned about it on PBS
This was a different read for me. I usually read what we (my reading buddies and I) call "sick shit". Psychological murder mysteries that are the worst of the worst.

This is Jenn Crowell's debut novel and I have to say if as a teenager this is her debut novel she has a brilliant career ahead of her.

'Necessary Madness' the name of a painting by Bill Burgess and the state of mind after someone loses a spouse that was his wife's center. Gloria Burgess loses Bill to leukemia. This is her story. Ms.
Jul 17, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
While a tad too Modern Anglo for my tastes (which is hilarious since it's an English novel...), this novel still held my attention, cover to cover. I don't know if that's a testimony of a good book (it is, though, partially) or if it awakened from coma some late-teenage fantasy of writing and publishing a novel of some stature (it did, depressingly enough). Of course, there were a number of things that didn't meet my standards (I'm beginning to think that if I held friends and lovers to the same ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Zinta rated it it was amazing
I admit it: I'm floored. Seventeen years old? But yes, the author of this very well-written novel was all of a ripe and vintage seventeen years of age when she wrote it. Nearly impossible to believe. I would give this novel highest marks even had this not been so, but that it is so - well, I'm floored.

I read Crowell's second novel, "Letting the Body Lead," before I read this one. It was good, and one would expect an author's second novel to be better than their first... but this is not the case.
Doreen Cavazza
Feb 07, 2015 Doreen Cavazza rated it it was amazing
This is a story about love and loss, about the hinges which keep us together, or not, in trying times. The story is expertly written. The characters are alive and four dimensional. The story keeps you turning the pages with interest. I'm astounded the author was 17 when she wrote this. It's a book with character and life and is well worth the read. I adored this story.
Feb 26, 2016 Gerry rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written! Gloria re-examines her parents’ relationship to each other and to her, as well as hers with her son, after the death of her husband from leukemia.
Mar 19, 2009 Trenton rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I enjoyed this book very much!! After taking a World Literature Course touching authors such as H.MURAKAMI, C.GARCIA, C.ACHEBE, A.CAMUS, M.KUNDERA, and R.STONE... I took my chance on The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright which was a disappointment. I found myself in a used bookstore in Pittsburgh and came across this book for $2.00 I believe and took a chance and a good one it was! I am still shocked to find out about the background information on Jenn Crowell being so young writing this work ...more
Sarah Shelton
May 30, 2012 Sarah Shelton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I thought the descriptions were great, and the characters were believable for the situation they were in. I did, however, find it confusing as to why she hated her mother so much to where she never wanted to talk to her again. I know she had her reasons to be upset with her, but the reactions she had I thought were a little extreme. And I know that it had a lot to do with the rest of the story and how it ends; I just wish there was a little more to the back story about it.
Feb 27, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
I read this mostly because the author was about my age (17) when she wrote this, and because I'm a glutton for punishment and stewing in self-defeat because I am not yet a published author. I remember the opening quote by C.S. Lewis, "Nobody told me grief felt so much like fear," more than what happened in the novel (although I do remember it being about a woman who lost her husband and now had to raise her child on her own.
Jul 08, 2012 Meghan rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was in high school. I bought it because I had read somewhere about the author who was in high school at the time she wrote it (I think--she may have just been under 20). I was incredibly depressed after reading it because I was convinced that my life was a failure unless I could get a book published by the time I was 22. Ha!
Jan 30, 2008 Cassie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really amazed that a seventeen year old can capture the hardships in life so brillantly. There were parts in the book where the emotions were described so brilliantly. I cannot say it is my favorite book, or even my favorite style of writing, but I did enjoy this book for the brilliance the auther put into it.
Apr 19, 2011 Ryann rated it liked it
A fairly quick read about a woman whose husband dies from leukemia. It flashes back to their early days together and follows her and her son in the four months subsequent to his death. It wasn't particularly powerful and lacked the emotion and meaning it could have held, but it still had some contemplative value.
Apr 18, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, literature
I really loved the prose in this book--beautifully written. The book is about how people deal with challenges, difficult relationships & death. It made me feel so grateful for the gospel, because I don't have to feel hopeless. As a warning, it does have some crude language!
Kailee Fogg
Sep 19, 2011 Kailee Fogg rated it really liked it
I was so shocked when I found out that a seventeen year old wrote this! I loved it, even though it isn't the kind of thing I usually read. Jenn Crowell is an amazing writer, the develpoment of her characters was brilliant and realistic.
Nov 12, 2008 Mom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to anyone who wants a good cry
This book was amazing. Full of passion and heart and insights into the intimacy of love and death. It takes the breath away at times. Hard to belive that this writer Jenn Crowell was only 17 years old when she wrote it.
Oct 27, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! I started this book with a negative attitude...okay jealousy that some girl published a book in my hometown before I had a chance to, but I was able to finish this book in one day. Raw and intriguing.
Sep 21, 2007 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was amazed by this first novel from a 17 year old. It is well written and and full of emotion I find amazing for a writer of that age. IT is about a woman coming to grips with her husband dying of cancer.
May 29, 2008 Jen rated it liked it
The novel is the story of 30-year-old Gloria Burgess coming to grips with the premature death from cancer of a beloved husband.
Well written, I was astonished at the age of the writer--18yo.
Nov 05, 2008 Getty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I actually taught and coached in Dallastown when Jenn wrote this novel. She wrote the entire thing from sophomore to senior year in her study halls. True story.
Sally Boocock
Jul 23, 2010 Sally Boocock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What an amazing book to be written by a seventeen year old. I hope she writes more.
Aug 24, 2008 Debbie rated it it was amazing
The author was just 19 when she wrote this book! Amazing depth of emotion.
It is amazing that the author was 17 when she wrote this.
May 26, 2012 Lucia rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. Loved it.
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