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Crazy Ladies

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,676 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is rivaled by a fictional sibling: Michael Lee West's Crazy Ladies. West's tale of wild women down South is faster and snappier than Wells's thick bayou prose gumbo, but it has some of the same virtues--a cast of wacky characters, lively regional dialogue, and a satisfying multigenerational time frame. The scene shifts ...more
Mass Market Paperback
Published July 30th 1991 by Ivy Books (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maria (Ri)
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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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.
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
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
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
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!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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!
Three generations of Tennessee women. Were they crazy? Hmmm....define crazy. Great read!
Annie Reschak
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
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
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
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
Deborah R
This book has been sitting on my shelf for several years. I finally picked it up and read it. The characters are very well developed. So much so that I found myself thinking of them and situations from the book after I finished it. This rarely happens. It was a bit of nostalgia for me, with the last half of the book taking place around the time I was born. There were phrases used that I haven't heard since I was a kid. Music mentioned that I would start singing the songs in my head. Events broug ...more
Donna LaValley
“Crazy Ladies”

I’m having a hard time deciding between 4 or 5 stars!

The case for 5 stars:
* The book was so good I finished it in 2 days; I could visualize locations and characters.
* The story spanned three generations, and at my age I like that.
* It was about women’s relationships to each other in addition to relationships with men.
* It had that humorous and matter-of-fact attitude “Southern women” have about the practicalities of life and marriage.
* There was affection and loyalty in addition
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Goodreads Librari...: Description Change 2 17 Feb 10, 2014 10:52AM  
  • Moon Women
  • Bound South
  • Fair and Tender Ladies
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  • The Three Miss Margarets
  • The Sweet By and By
  • The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
  • Tomato Girl
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  • The Cotton Queen
  • Grits (Girls Raised in the South) Guide to Life
  • Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes
  • Patty Jane's House of Curl
  • Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living
  • My Old True Love
  • Somebody Is Going to Die If Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies' Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding
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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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“You have to coddle menfolks on account of their pride.” 6 likes
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