Nancy's Reviews > Sure Signs of Crazy

Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington
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's review
Aug 13, 2013

really liked it

Like the protagonist, I find joy in words, the way they roll around in my head, a great book, and the occasional light reading of a magazine. The particular article that comes to mind is one I read this week about what characteristic strong families share. The answer is a connection to their past. They tell stories about ancestors or fun anecdotes from earlier years. It is a rite of passage and a guarded tradition. My own children beg for stories of when I was a kid or when they were babies.

This book is about a girl who is coming of age, which is not so unusual, but her connections and stories are kept secret from her out of guilt, shame, and obligation to protect a mentally ill mother. Unlike an adopted child, the stories and people are present to help with the connections, they simply believe they are protecting her from the truth. How much truth can she handle and at what age?

The book starts out with an unemotional and objective recounting of what Sarah does not remember at all but is still a part of her history. When she was 2 years old, her mother drowned her in the kitchen sink then repeated the process with her twin brother. She survived somehow and has continued on under this shadow, running from this secret and allowing it to define her as it has haunted her father into bottles of Jim Beam.

Although the facts are macabre, the story is appropriately written for the audience. Sarah wants yet fears the connection. In the meantime, she finds solace in Atticus Finch and writing to him helps with her processing. She also genuinely connects to others in the human race to find that we all have our blind spots and secrets that hurt us.

I will not ruin the story but will share a tidbit learned from Atticus that Sarah internalized. Written much more poetically, courage is not necessarily a trait one has but a decision one makes to act courageous every day.

Appropriate for adolescent girls. I really enjoyed it.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 13, 2013 – Shelved
August 13, 2013 – Finished Reading

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