Emmeline ("Em") is a paranoid schizophrenic with depressive tendencies. We follow her as she leaves the mental hospital where she's been since a psychotic break three weeks into college. Em is smart, but her medications and mental issues leave her unable to do much except take a job at the local Savertown USA. The place where suicide is a weekly event and the chicken nuggets talk to her, telling h ...more
I really didn't know what to expect with Stay Crazy. An unfamiliar author and a story which didn't drop neatly into one of my preferred genres, but I'm very happy that I took a chance on this one.
Em is a paranoid schizophrenic with depressive tendencies. She is being treated for her illness, but like many people she struggles with staying on her meds. When she starts working part-time at a local big box store, she is contacted by a being from another dimension who attempts to recruit ...more
Satifka's debut novel straddles genre lines like many of the complicated, dark stories that publisher Apex publishes in its magazine. The book's description makes it sound weird and perhaps fluffy, and while it is weird in many ways, there's also a thorough and often raw exploration of mental illness.
In a way, it's a dystopia novel set in modern small town America; the place is blighted, and its on ...more
Stay Crazy is told from the perspective of Emmeline, a girl who's struggling with a mental illness that makes her hallucinate and gives her paranoia induced anxiety attacks. In order to get her life on track again her mother pushes her to get a job at a local store. Soon weird things start happening: one after the oth ...more
The blurb on the cover compares Satifka to Philip K. Dick, which is somewhat apt, especially if you, like me, appreciate the weird humor of Dick's writing that the movie adaptations never get right. But Satifka is also her own author with her own style, weirdness, and sense of humor. I laughed out loud a lot while reading this, ...more
The nitty-gritty: A laugh-out-loud spoof of super stores and inter-dimensional invasion, with surprising human moments intertwined with the humor.
Nothing ever changes here, she thought as she removed her shirt, again dreaming of the day she would be allowed to cast off this place. She would take Kevin and together the two of them would steal his sister’s car and drive off into the sunset. Where would they end up? Not Pittsburgh. They had to think bigger.
The striking graphic n...more
As you can probably tell, I do have a personal connection to this one. Erica Satifka is a Portland author who was the instructor of a writing class I was taking a year or two ago. We didn't get to hear a lot of her own prose in that particular class, but it was easy to tell she knew what she was talking about. Seeing her name on the cover of Stay Crazy was, therefore, an immediate draw.
One warning, though: This book brings u ...more
First off: this was the first time I received a review copy, and I was quite interested to see how it would go – what if I really disliked the book?
Well, guess what – I loved this! My interest in the book was due to the book description as it sounded super crazy, and the book is just that. I don’t even want to say much about the story as I don’t want to spoil anymore as you can already read in the description!
What I loved the most about ...more
Em is a young woman dealing with mental illness in rural Pennsylvania. She's had to drop out of college, returning home to live with her mother and younger sister. When she tak ...more
What makes Stay Crazy such an interesting read is the ambiguity about the “hallucinations” that Em experiences. As r ...more
It is while during a standard shift, she is contacted by an Inter-dimensional being - Escodex - who tells her that there is another being slowly sucking the energy out of her colleagues to break into his dimension and destroy it.
Em though is ...more
It's an interesting concept, but it's not handled perfectly here. The book is at its best when the main character goes off her ...more
Em is a complicated character. She sometimes voices her distaste for her small town and the co-workers at the local big box store. But at other times she finds the beauty in them. Because she has schizophrenia, she struggles throughout the story wondering whether the voice she hears is real or imaginary, ...more
Either that, or the fact that she is a schizophrenic depressive suffering from illusions and risks being a da ...more
One of the most gutsy unreliable narrator projects. A schizophrenic actually receives signals from another dimension, and the fate of the world relies on her! How will she tell the real from the super-real?
I loved the setting, and the incidental characters and the sarcasm. It really captured that feeling of winter never f'n ending that is as true of my Midwest upbringing as it is in the Appalachia of the story.