Angela's Reviews > What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage
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's review
Mar 01, 2012

it was amazing
Read from March 20 to 25, 2012

An African American woman from a small town, living in a big city discovers something that changes her life and the way she views it forever…she was told she is HIV positive. Ava is a successful business woman, running her own salon in Atlanta. Her life may have been a bit full of sex partners, but she is a good woman and a hardworking woman. She feels, when told she is HIV positive, that the men she has had sex with deserve to know. So she sends out letters telling them all and telling them that they may want to get tested themselves to be sure they don’t have it too. She has no idea how long she has been carrying this disease, so she just sends out letters to any man she had sex with. She then continues on with life, dealing with the disease and trying to still run her salon. Which is working ok…until a man’s wife comes in screaming at her for sending out a letter like that to her husband and telling everyone that Ava has “the AIDS”. After this the salon goes under and Ava sells it for a wonderful price and moves back home to Idlewild, Michigan to be with her sister Joyce for the summer. Joyce (who has had rough times herself, losing her husband to an ice accident) is wonderful support for Ava and is more than willing to have her. While in Idlewild Ava has lots to deal with on top of dealing with her own sickness. Joyce is a “do-gooder” and “helper”, she thinks she can “fix” things just by caring enough to try to. Joyce has a club for young African American women/girls that is meant to help them better cope in life, called the Sewing Circus. This is a club through the local church.

While Ava is in Idlewild for the summer many things happen…Joyce is banned from having the Sewing Circus at the church because of a meeting that circled around ways to practice safe sex (by using jumbo hot dogs on chopsticks to practice putting condoms on). Also, a young mother addicted to crack has a baby with Joyce’s help, and leaves the hospital in the middle of the night…without the baby, never to come back again. The family of the girl doesn’t want the baby and is also a crack house, so Joyce gets temporary custody of the baby. Joyce and Ava come to love the baby and are bewildered when child services come out of the blue to take the baby back to give her to the family of the mother (because they found out there is money given to whoever takes care of the baby). On top of all that going on, the small town is now having break-ins, there is something weird going on with the Good Reverend and his wife from Chicago that just doesn’t seem right, the secret comes out in town that Ava is HIV positive and the boys in town make that news a living hell for Ava, AND Ava finds herself falling in love for the first time, but she is scared to because of knowing that her disease makes relationships hard and a future almost impossible. Ava and Joyce make it their goals to: keep the Sewing Circus together, even if it isn’t through the church; try to get an innocent baby out of the custody of a crack house on wanting her for the money; and digging in deeper to see what secrets the Good Reverend and his wife have. But can they do all that before it is too late? They learn that all of the goings on are connected to someone that they least expect. Can they save the baby before something bad happens to her? Can they keep the Sewing Circle together for supporting the women in it? Maybe there are some things that can’t be “fixed” by a loving woman who tries…or can they be? What about Ava and her new found relationship with Eddie? Will she tell him about her being HIV positive and risk losing yet another person in her life? If he doesn’t run from her and her disease can she bring herself to keep him in her life when she is doomed for death?

This book was amazing! I fell in love with the characters in this book. Ava was an exceptional character and woman in this book. She is strong in the face of her illness. She is determined not to let it beat her down. Ava has such strong support from her sister Joyce and friend Eddie that she decides Idlewild is where she is meant to stay, not move on after the summer. They help her see that things are worth fighting for and that love is a beautiful thing, no matter how short it may be. To give a summary of this book in a short version would be impossible, so much happens in this book. Even in my summary above I had to leave some things out. So much happens and so much is addressed. This book may be fiction, but it has a very true story plot and feel to it. As I read this book I found myself forgetting that is was indeed fiction. This was a very touching and enlightening read for me. I love that it’s main component was a disease that you hear about, but never really hear about as far as the lives of those that have it. This book has touched me in a way that is not easily described. I would highly recommend and have recommended this book to anyone.

5/5 Stars!
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Brandalynn Thank you for this wonderful review. I love this book. One of my FAVS

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