Monday, December 6, 2010

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearle Cleage

Ava Johnson is a successful hairdresser in Atlanta.  She has her own shop, she surrounds herself with the finest clothes and the finest people, and she enjoys living her life to the fullest.  She has all she hoped for when she left Idlewild, Michigan 10 years ago

... and then some

It all begins to come to a screeching halt when a woman barges into her shop demanding that Ava "take it back!".  What she wants her to take back, is the letter that Ava had written to this woman's husband.  The letter that she'd sent out to every sexual partner she'd had in Atlanta.  The one explaining she was HIV positive.

Ava sells her shop and plans to head west to San Francisco, but first she wants to stop in Idlewild to visit her sister, Joyce.  What Ava thinks is a lazy summer visit, turns into a new challenge when she finds that the troubles of the big cities have invaded the lazy town she'd grown up in.  Her sister needs her help and Ava can't convince her to pick up and move with her, so she stays to help out and it turns out not to be a bad choice afterall.

This is one of those books I downloaded on a whim.  It has been sitting on my kindle for months, but aside from the interesting title, I knew nothing about the book.  I finally sat down to read it and finished it in just a couple of days.

The book was an easy read and fairly entertaining, despite the number of tragedies that seems to continuously attack these poor women.  There is quite a bit of information on HIV and AIDS and some colorful observations of African American life. The dialogue is straight forward and you definitely feel the change from one character to another ... the brutal teenage drug addicts and the quieter, prayerful sister.

The only complaint I had about the book was I felt it ended rather hastily (I think this is becoming a pattern for me?).  Now that I have opened up my reading genre, I am finding that some authors have a talent of leaving a book at the right time ... closing doors in a timely manner and leaving the reader satisfied.  Other authors tend to build up the action til the last couple of chapters and then slam the door  I was left feeling like I'd just watched an epsiode of The Cosby Show ... laughs, problems, laughs, the big problem comes to a head ... then let's wrap it all up in a big bow for the last 5 minutes.  It left me feeling cheated as a child and all these years later I am finding the same sentiment.

I would still recommend it, though.  I would love to pass along my copy, but it's on my kindle ♥


  1. I could have sworn I posted a comment. I found a copy of this book on Diane and requested it. I hope it gets sent to me. It sounds like a really good read.

  2. Wow. I know exactly what you mean...and I dont appreciate this type of ending. I always feel like they've run out of time and just...ended it as quickly as possible.

  3. Let me know what you think, Karen!

    EXACTLY, kathryn! it's like 'oops! dinner's ready, let's wrap this one up'

  4. I just finished the book and want more. Great read Diane and now I want to see if the author wrote anymore Idlewild books. I thought I saw a sequel listed somewhere. If I find out I'll let you know.

  5. LOL, just read about the quick ending on the book. I didn't notice but a lot of the books I've been reading lately end like that to set up for the next book in the series. I guess I got used to it.