Crazy Lady!
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Crazy Lady!

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  804 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Increasingly alienated from his widowed father, Vernon joins his friends in ridiculing the neighborhood outcasts'Maxine, an alcoholic prone to outrageous behavior, and Ronald, her retarded son. But when a social service agency tries to put Ronald into a special home, Vernon fights against the move.

1994 Newbery Honor Book
Notable Children's Books of 1994 (ALA)
1994 Best Books...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published February 1st 1993 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1993)
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A good, fast, enjoyable children's book.

The Good:
--believable characters & character development
--doesn't talk down to its audience or gloss over people's faults
--doesn't bash working-class people; makes them behave the way people behave in real life

The Bad:
--wasn't sure whether the narrator was supposed to be a kid's voice or an adult's, especially since the narrator mentions that the story's action took place in 1981 (the book was written in the 90s)

The Ugly:
--the ending.

The ending was a d...more
I am reading books from the ALA’s most challenged list. I checked off all the books I have already read (although I plan to go back and read some) and now I am working through the part of the list I am interested in reading. I went through the list in my school library and grabbed this one. I finished it this morning and sobbed through the last two chapters.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why this one would be challenged. All I can discover is it is challenged for “offensive language”. Ca...more
Aug 18, 2014 Kari is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Namba
I loved this book. I can see how some narrow minded people might hate it, because it does require a heart. Vernon is a great character and I think he is easy to relate to. He really isn't exceptional at anything and even at the end of the book, after months of tutoring, he still only gets a B- in English, and he is very happy about it.

The characters are easy to love. I think it is great that the author portrays Maxine as she does, especially when she is drunk. To those who have an alcoholic in t...more
I thought that this was a good book that some children may be able to identify with. An boy ignored by his busy family and younger siblings, befriends the so-called crazy lady down the street. A touching story that is sure to be liked.
Theresa Reifon
Format/Length: Chapter book; 180 pages

Newbery Honor Book Notable Children's Books of 1994
1994 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1994 Young Adult Editors' Choices (BL)
1994 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
Young Adult Choices for 1995 (IRA)

Theme(s): Family relationships, Friendship, Meeting challenges, Survival, and Abandonment


Interesting story, but I did not get into the plot that much because the voice of the narrator. I also did not enjoy the ending- it l...more
Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly
1994 Newberry Honour Book
Rating: 7/10. Maybe I am just burning out on juvenile fiction, but that's how I felt at the time.

Basically, this is a book about not judging others. The main charactor, Vernon, has recently lost his mother, and feels lost in a family of five kids. He is not as smart as his older brother, or as resourceful as his older sister, or as cute as his younger siblings. When his grades get dangerously low in English, he gets tutoring to avoid repeat...more
While I lived in Sioux City, there was a lady who had three kids, she was alone, she didn't have a wife. They lived in a shabby house. Her kids were always dirty. There was two boys and one girl. She worked all day, and all night. Everyone said that she was an unfit mother. I remember one day when I was at the park across the street she was sitting on a bench watching her children play. Someone came up and told her that she needs to go back from where she came from. Also that her children were m...more
Told from the presepective of Vernon, a city kid trapped in a family that is coping with his mothers' death, this is the story of a boy who learns to view everything around him differently. Vernon struggles in school, and all his siblings are too busy keeping the family together to help him. For a while, he gets into small-time mischief (shoplifting, vandalism, harassing the alcoholic and her disabled son down the street). Then he's forced to have an actual conversation with the alcoholic, who r...more
"Mom could make you feel special even if you had a face like a garbage-can lid. She hugged you on the outside and the inside, too. I'm the one in the family who was bad in school. I tried, but when the report cards came out, it was always the same: mine was the worst. I failed third grade and barely slid by the next year. Mom never blamed me. She said, "Some kids, like Tony, find it easy to learn, and that's good. But he ones I admire most are the ones who keep on trying, even when it's hard. Th...more
This book is about a young boy who grudgingly befriends an alcoholic mother and her mentally disabled son, Ronald. The story is pretty endearing and through the young boys good works he turns a lot of things around for Ronald. It was a pretty good read, but tended to ramble on to things not really concerning the main story (like the conflict in the young boy's family which isn't really developed). The ending is good though and I really liked it. The author of this book interestingly enough is th...more
Books Kids Like
This is an amazing book about a boy who discovers that living outside himself can help a person deal with their own problems. Since Vernon's mom died, it seems like his family is falling apart. Besides that, he might be held back a grade in school for the second time! Then, Vernon starts working with Miss Annie, an elderly, retired school teacher. She helps him with his English homework in exchange for Vernon's help with Maxine and her mentally disabled son, Ronald. Vernon hides his association...more
I think this was supposed to be a brief look at how one person can change another person's life for the better - but it didn't pull it off. I thought the characters were shallow and I didn't see the main character as having a fully-fleshed out personality. I didn't like him or care what he did with his life. The ending was really what got me riled up. I hated the ending. It just dropped you like a hot potato and left you in the sun to rot. I have no clue why the author thought that would be a go...more
There are several elements of the book that could be considered controversial. The language would be a primary aspect since profanity is used throughout the text. In addition, the character with special needs is often referred to as being “retarded.” Another potentially controversial element is the role of the alcoholic mother, Maxine. Her drunken incidents are frequently intertwined with the plot.

I would select this book for a middle or high school library. While it does have language that som...more
Set in the 1970s, this book confronts several issues--alcoholism, people with special needs, death, and family relationships. But the real issue for me is how people's perceptions--of themselves and others--are stronger than the underlying truths. I thought the book did a good job of showing that and how it is possible to change one's perceptions.
This was a good read. Vernon Dibbs has had a tough time - his mother has died, he struggles in school and his family has trouble making ends meet. All in all the last thing Vernon needs is to find himself helping out the local crazy family. And that of course is what happens. To know more, read Crazy Lady!

I know that this book was not written for me, but I would think that many tweens would like this, they might be able to relate to Vernon and Iknow they would want to see how it ends.

I will be...more
This is a heartfelt story about a boy who is pretty much parentless and joins his friends in making fun of a crazy lady and her mentally disabled son, Ronald. By the time, it comes down to almost forcing Ronald into an institution, the young boy fights to keep him out and becomes friends with the outcasts of the town.
This is best for fifth and sixth grade. It is about a boy who lives in the inner city who befriends an alcoholic woman and her retarded son. The boy gets involved with the family through a tutor. As he is getting help in English, he helps the woman and her son with small tasks, eventually working with the son at the Special Olympics.

Although the book is fairly realistic, I didn't feel that it offered anything unusual or special to adolescent literature. I think it is a well written book (and tru...more
I enjoyed this book right up until the end. The ending was frustrating. Also, I hated the amount of foul language.
Charlotte Bradock
I wouldn't choose to read it but, for a school book it was fine.
Let's just say I only gave this book 3 stars because my 10 year old daughter recommended I read this book because it was so funny...This book was not funny. I guess it was funny to her because of all the curse words...which bewilders me because this is a junior award nominee and the cover recommends this book for ages 10 and up. With that said, the subject is pretty mature for a 10 year to appreciate and understand. I was in tears after reading this book and had to have a talk with my daughter a...more
I would probably give this book two and a half stars.
There is some interesting material throughout that appeals to the part inside all of us that has known the bitterness of rejection based on outer appearances or elements that we cannot control. Jane Leslie Conly's examination of these feelings, as well as the tender moments between Maxine and her son Ronald that pop up at times during the book, is what makes this a good story. The climactic scene is also nice, but I won't give away what that...more
Sara Adkins
Great story, very emotional. Great to read to students in upper grades. The change of heart and point of view is good for all ages to see.
Shelbi Bishop
Vernon Dibbs goes through a lot of changes one school year, he works with Miss. Annie down the road to not only bring up his grade but he also makes a new best friend on her account. Ronald is a very different friend, he doesn’t talk (except DAW) but Vernon and him still form a great friendship (until Ronald moves away).

You could use this book to talk about the many things that may happen to students throughout the year and how friends will come and go.
Good. Not quite great, though. Almost a 4-star rating. Dealt with some serious issues--treatment of mentally challenged kids, alcoholism, child abuse, coping with the death of a parent. Some of the adult/child dialogue was a little too cheeky, which made it a little far-fetched sometimes. It has a ridiculous cover and title. I hate the cover and the title. It makes a difference; it really does.
Alison Levie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ariel Biener
I didn't think I would enjoy this novel as much as I did. I could relate to bits and pieces of the main character. It is a pretty interesting book and deals with some pretty difficult issues that children can sometime face but also loved how there was a character that had special needs and how children would treat him. It was certainly a well written book and would recommend it.
Lovely Ponce
I think if Maxines husband didn't leave, their family would probably great where everyone in the family is happy. But thank goodness that a young boy who's mom was a good friend to Maxines family started helping. I think if the boy didn't need any help on English and get totured by maxines friend he would still help Maxine and Ronald instead of making fun of them.
Mar 29, 2008 Waffle...♥ rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE!!!
Shelves: friendship
I obviously despised this book apparently from my rating but I have to admit it does have a meaning... a.. vauge meaning... I read this like... Last year? Haha I guess I just liked the word crazy on the cover! *waves arms in the air franticly* But yea...
Rule of Three~! Follow it! You've been warned! *does wavy spookish-like with fingers* ^^
Jennifer (sullivan)
Genre: Chpater Book/Non-Fiction

I really enjoyed this book a lot and I thnk most 4th and 5th grade students will enjoy it too. It/s a little bit of an advanced read. The book really kept my attention and was hard to put down. I think anyone who is going to be a special education teacher should read this book.
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