This memoir tells a bit of a different story than some of our others. Where other authors dealt with struggles from external influences, I Don’t Want To Be Crazy is about Samantha Schutz, and the psychological disorder she suffers from. It’s kind of different when the problem is within yourself. Samantha was like any other young adult, eager to be on her own, away from her parents, independent, and getting the full college experience. She was excited for her newfound freedom and all the awesome possibilities and opportunities that came with it. Once there, it was everything she’d hoped it would be, but when life got more demanding, as it tends to do, she found herself panicking. She started to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally and physically debilitated.
As a reader, one thing I really liked about this book is that it’s written in verse. The story in itself, being autobiographical, is very interesting on its own, but the fact that Schutz took a poetic approach to it gives it something more. The fact that this book is about anxiety is a big deal to me. It’s something that many people know of, and think they understand, but unless you know a person that actually suffers from anxiety disorder, and this severe of a case, you have no idea. This is a very real, raw look at what it’s like to carry this burden. It’s not just having a panic attack under super stressful circumstances. The way Schutz describes this disorder, how the anxiety grew, accounts for every episode and all the things she was feeling; it’s very eye-opening.
As a teacher I’d have this book on my shelf if I taught upperclassmen. There are a few more adult themes, and I feel like it’s more fitting for that age group, especially because Samantha, herself, is around that age in the book. As stated in another review, I like the idea of having a very diverse classroom library, and that includes books where characters deal with different mental disorders or medical conditions. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few students could relate. Many people suffer from anxiety, but it’s not really something they talk about. Especially in this time, high school juniors and seniors may feel some pressure as they prepare for graduation, college, and everything that entails. Even just the style of this book can be something to teach on. The verse aspect can give students a real-life example of how poetry can be used to convey ideas. It might inspire people to journal about their experiences in a creative manner.