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Crazy As Chocolate

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3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  511 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
When Isabel's mother turned forty-one, she locked herself in the garage and sat in a Dodge Dart with the engine running. Now, Isabel is turning forty-one, and her father, sister, and seven-year-old niece are flying in to Colorado to help her get through the day-even though she never asked for help. In fact, her family may be the ones who need help. And as Izzy is flooded w ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Berkley Trade (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dale Harcombe
It took me a while to get into this novel which rather surprised me as the blurb sounded interesting. Izzy is approaching her 41st birthday, which is the same age her mother was when she suicided. As I got further into the story which flits backwards at times, I started to become more interested. Izzy and her older sister Ellie for the early years of their life had a mother they adored but never understood. As they grew older that changed.
This is a story that explores family relationships and l
...more
Michelle
Mar 29, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am wondering how a book like this could be written with out first hand knowledge. I am wondering if Elisabeth Hyde put this under a "fiction" heading because she didn't want it under a "biography" heading.

At first i didn't like the bouncing back and forth between the present and the past,because the past fluctuated between the distant past and the recent past. But I got over it.

I was so into this book that I didn't hear people talking to me until they tapped me on the shoulder to get my atten
...more
Stef Rozitis
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Mental health and suicide need to be written about and in its attempt not to blame the people with the illness I felt the book was on the right track. In some places it also portrayed the way women relate and reach out and need and give emotional support but it did it into a way that played into binary gender, was overly mollycoddling of men's discomfort of this and blamed women for being too "irrational".

I tried to overlook the firmly heterosexual wor
...more
Kim
Oct 02, 2009 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was loving this book – and then lost it before i finished it. It’s like chick lit with a brain. Or maybe if it was less intelligent it would be chick lit. Yes, that’s probably fairer. Woman literature about real woman. Not a lot of candy floss and pink glitter – just a very readable, very real story.

The story is about a woman, Izzy, reaching her 42nd birthday. The relevance of this to her and her family is that is the birthday upon which her crazy mother had committed suicide.
The narrative mov
...more
LaDawn
Sep 02, 2011 LaDawn rated it really liked it
With my mind unable to focus on anything much, I have resorted to a hand me down collection of chick lit that I've picked up over the years and this book was in that pile based on its cover and title. The cover has a photograph of two feet dangling out over a pond. This image has abosolutely no relevance to the story. And the tile of the book has even less relevance to the story. And this most certainly shouldn't have been in the easy to read pile.

A story about two sisters and their father deali
...more
Maggie
Apr 11, 2014 Maggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-group
This was my reading group book for March.

Not the type of book I would have bought or picked out at the library, but I suppose that's the idea of a reading group, to introduce us to books we would have otherwise passed on.

It's a story of a troubled childhood and living with a mother who is mentally unstable.

I find it hard to give an outline of the story without giving it all away, to me about half way through it stopped reading like a story and started to read like an autobiography. It certainly
...more
Kim
Jul 06, 2014 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is largely a tale of the relationship between a mother and her two daughters. As Izzy approaches her 41st birthday (an age her mother did not get beyond), she again begins to question whether she was to blame for her mother's early death. Her and Ellie's childhood was punctuated with their mother's manic episodes and Ellie (two years older than Izzy) appears to exhibit similar tendencies at times. As her father and elder sister travel to join her to celebrate her birthday, Izzy begins to re ...more
Jane
Dec 04, 2015 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I've read concerning sisters dealing with sisters coming to terms with childhood traumas involving their mothers. In this one Izzy is approaching her forty-first birthday. Usually forty-one isn't a big trauma, but Izzy's mother committed suicide on her forty-first birthday so it brings a lot of the past back for her. And much to Izzy's dismay her father and sister are coming to spend the birthday with her. Izzy's sister, Ellie, doesn't seem too emotionally stable either.
Catherine
Jul 02, 2010 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I cannot bear to finish this book. It is just TOO BORING.

It doesn't have any interesting characters. The protagonist seems pressed out of a cookie-cutter. The only thing to distinguish her in any way is the fact that she can't have children which is a pretty boring distinguishing feature.

It has an almost hilariously one-dimensional impression of mental illness. It doesn't actually seem to have any plot at all. I got to 4/5 of the way through and apparently this is where the plot starts, 4/5 of
...more
Bree
Sep 13, 2008 Bree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, fiction
As I read this book and looked into the past of the main character, Izzy, I felt really sorry for her having to deal with a crazy mom. It just made me sad to see how she was confused by her mother's actions and haunted by her suicide as she got older. Her older sister, Ellie, I wanted to slap (in her older years, not while she was being raised by a crazy mother). It was just all-around sad what happened to these girls growing up, and reading how it affected them later on. A quick read, one that ...more
Hazel McHaffie
This one was given to me to read without comment. Ellie and Isabel adored their mother who was quite batty but colourful and unpredictable. But their mother commits suicide at the age of forty one. The girls both marry and live very different lives but for both the legacy of the past casts along shadow. A tale of maternal love and psychiatric illness; family bonds that triumph inspite of as much as because of what mothers do.
Phil Hodgkiss
Mar 12, 2017 Phil Hodgkiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read
Stephanie Jane
I was lucky to spot a '3 for 99p' book box outside AgeUK in Stokesley last week. I picked up two Anne Tyler paperbacks and this novel, Crazy As Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde. Her previous bestseller, The Abortionist's Daughter, is one I'm sure I have read and enjoyed, but can't remember anything about it. Oops! Better check if I reviewed it on Goodreads!

In Crazy As Chocolate we meet Izzy who is about to celebrate her 41st birthday. She's only a year older than I am so I could identify with her. Wh
...more
Kellyh
Mar 14, 2010 Kellyh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie
Aug 12, 2009 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1st read by this author which I really enjoyed and will look for others by her. While this one bounces around quite a bit, between Izzy and Elly's childhood and adult lives and their struggles to finally come to grips with the world they all grew up with in dealing and coming to understand their mom's struggles with her mental illness.

Izzy will soon be 41...and realizes with sadness that she will now be older than her mother ever was. She and her husband are struggling with their own sadness of
...more
Cait S
Nov 15, 2015 Cait S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second book by Elisabeth Hyde, and while it cemented the fact that I definitely enjoy her as an author, it wasn't even close to as incredible as the first. Which I suppose I should have known, seeing as how that book was immediately added to my all time favorites shelf.

For such a sad story with such heart breaking details, I found I couldn't really connect with any of the characters. None of them struck a chord of sympathy with me at all. Honestly, I found the whole lot of them mostl
...more
Sue Lauzon
Jan 29, 2016 Sue Lauzon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
June
Aug 29, 2013 June rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by someone I met on holiday, she had just finished reading it. I must admit, it was a harder read than I was expecting, and not really ideal sun-lounger material ;-)

Mental illness is a sensitive subject to me and so I found the story quite hard to read, in fact I almost gave up a few times. However, I was determined to finish it the day I started it (it isn't a long book) and I managed it. It got better as it went on but I can't say I liked it, I appreciated it put some th
...more
Fatatat
May 27, 2009 Fatatat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I nice heart warming book despite the subject matter of a mother with depression. A touching book mostly because it is about the children who have survived their mother killing herself and is about life moving on. The writting style is very easy to read and deffiantly has it's moments of humour whihc I liked. The only problem being that I've read this story before. In Alice Sebolds Almost moon. In Susan Lewis' autobiography in The latest Tory Hayden and in Saving Francecha by marlena marchetta. ...more
Halina J J


This book reminded me a lot of a (far poorer) Margaret Atwood or Sylvia Plath. I guess when the topic is a mental illness in a woman that ends in suicide the Plath comparison isn't too far away, but still. Hyde does a good job with drawing the characters, their emotions, their thought processes and their complexities with few words, which is admirable. Unfortunately it did just feel all the way through as though I were reading something half-finished, nearly there, that was maybe something else
...more
Tom
May 13, 2009 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Isabella's mother committed suicide on her 41st birthday, and now Isabella is about to have her 41st birthday. Her father, sister and niece come for the weekend, and memories and family tensions ensue. Surprisingly for the genre, perhaps, Isabella's husband and father are the two characters that seem to have it together.

The book was given to me by a nice woman in a writing class, and I felt obligated to read it. It isn't what I would have chosen, but but the book wasn't a bad way to pass a few h
...more
Hayley
Sep 22, 2015 Hayley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely beautiful. I was given this book months ago by aunty, and yesterday I was looking through my to-be-read pile and found Crazy as Chocolate on the bottom of the pile. I picked it up, read the blurb and started reading it yesterday (despite the fact I should've been doing my homework). I'm so glad I found this book in the pile and read it, it was so hard to put down and when it ended I couldn't believe I had already finished it.
Tracey
Jan 28, 2010 Tracey rated it liked it
Isabel is approaching her 41st birthday; the age at which her mother who suffered from manic mental illness took her life. She reflects on the highs and lows of her childhood which were extreem and unusual. Her father and sister (also manic) come to celebrate over her birthday weekend and attempt to move past the craziness to little avail. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride that take you along and leaves you exhausted.
Alice
A lot of reminiscing of childhood events surrounding a mother of two sisters who died when they were in their early teens. I felt that there was perhaps too much looking back making the story of the present a bit too weak. However, it did achieve the result of thinking about how your adult life and your relationship with your own children is shaped by your parents and your relationship with them when a child yourself. Overall I enjoyed the book.
Rebecca Haslam
I got into this book pretty quick, mostly due to the subject matters; family and mental illness, both of which are hugely important to me and are issues I have had my own issues with. I won't say much regarding the plot but I will say that this book made me think about the petty arguements I've been a part of, things I've said that I didn't mean, and made me think about consequences - even if you think you don't hurt or affect someone by what you say or do - chances are, you do.
Erica
Nov 01, 2012 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely sad subject matter, however, extremely well-written! I could hardly put it down. Hyde is such an amazing author... her writing style is one of my favorites. She explores mental illness of a woman through the eyes of her young daughter, which was a unique approach, even though heart wrenching at times. She interwove that story with current events in the grown daughter's life. I highly recommend this book.
Dolores
Sep 19, 2014 Dolores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isabel and her sister Ellie love their mother and have fun with her but they know she is mentally unbalanced. Then on her 41st birthday she commits suicide and their world is torn apart. Time goes by and, as Izzy's own 41st birthday arrives, she and her husband are joined for the weekend by her father, unstable sister, and Ellie's young daughter. I was drawn to this book because I also lost my mother to suicide. I'm in the process of reading all of Elisabeth Hyde's books....she is excellent!
Rebecca Wheeldon
A difficult book to get into but once you can it is a good read. Based around a woman approaching her 41st birthday, a day on which her own mother killed herself, with dread wondering if she was the same and at the same time trying to cope with childlessness and a sister who seems as crazy as their mother.
Meg Orton
Jan 03, 2015 Meg Orton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is just great! It felt comforting and yet uncomfortable all at the same time. I guess it's always going to be difficult to digest issues of womanhood, depression, insanity and suicide in a mere 243 pages. However Elisabeth Hyde pulls this little tale of family history and family woes off, and I am excited to read more of her work.
Karen
Jul 29, 2011 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
A non-crazy person worries that her mum's craziness will force itself onto her genetically. An interesting premise, and I usually quite lke books that don't really have a story as such, just focus on people's relationships and conversations. But the sister has got to be one of the most abrasive, irritating characters I've ever read. So, not keen.
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