Crazy Ladies
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Crazy Ladies

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,330 ratings  ·  197 reviews
From the author of Mad Girls in Love comes this lively multigenerational tale of six charming, unforgettable Southern women -- a novel 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 two headstrong daughters who happen to be complete opposites -- do...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1990)
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Community Reviews

(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
Mich
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
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.
Irene
Oct 18, 2007 Irene rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Rachel
Aug 29, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Shannon
May 21, 2007 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Dolly
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.

Carla
Mar 30, 2008 Carla rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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
Melissa
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
Kimberly
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.
Kendra
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.
Nancy
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.
Shelley
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.

Gail
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.
Joiseyshore
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.
Sarah
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.
Lorrie
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!
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
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
Michelle
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
Onewithbooks
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...more
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...more
Donna
Crazy Ladies is a multigenerational story of 6 unforgettable Southern women - Miss Gussie; her daughters, Dorothy and Clancy Jane; Gussie's granddaughters, Violet and Bitsy; and Queenie, who had been with Miss Gussie for years.
The book starts out with Miss Gussie trying to calm her daughter, Dorothy, who has the colic. Finally asleep, Charlie, Gussie's husband comes up to the house for his meal, then goes upstairs to bathe. In the meanwhile, a young man comes to the door smelling of corn whiskey...more
Giovanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cynthia
June seemed to be my month for reading books filled with unlikeable characters. I picked Crazy Ladies for my book club book and was pretty disappointed in my choice. When I first read the description, I thought the book was going to be a feel good story (the club had been reading a lot of depressing books lately) about multi-generational female family members, all their different trials and hardships but through all of it, they banded together and made it though.

Every single woman from the moth...more
Sue
This book was not what I expected. I thought it would be another very funny story about southern women. Instead it was about a family that was, in my opinion, very dysfunctional because of an incident with Miss Gussie (main character)when she was first married. Her oldest Dorothy was a product of it and in the end was looked at as "crazy" by her family. I didn't think anyone was crazy but people who just lived their lives the best they could.
The story was about Miss Gussie and her family and the...more
Vicky
I won't go into any details about the book here -- you can read the synopsis and don't need me to reveal the details. What I recommend is if you intend to read Mad Girls in Love, read Crazy Ladies first. I did it in reverse because Mad Girls in Love was available as an ebook and Crazy Ladies wasn't. In fact I read Mermaids in the Basement first of all and loved it, and later was able to view certain overlapping characters in a completely different light after reading about them in Mad Girls in L...more
Beth Roth
Every so often, I gotta get a little crazy southern women fix. Nothing terribly deep in this book but an entertaining read. Good for the pool or beach!
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Goodreads Librari...: Description Change 2 17 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
More about Michael Lee West...
Gone With a Handsomer Man Mermaids in the Basement She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana Mad Girls in Love A Teeny Bit of Trouble

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