What Looks Like Crazy on An Ordinary Day

What Looks Like Crazy on An Ordinary Day

A Novel

Book - 1997
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Baker & Taylor
After more than a decade of living the high life, Ava Johnson returns home to the quiet northern Michigan community in which she grew up with a dark secret, but Ava cannot turn her back on friends and family who need her

HARPERCOLL

Acclaimed Playwright, essayist and columnist Pearl Cleage breaks new ground in African American women's literature--with a debut novel that sings and crackles with life-affirming energy as it moves the reader to laughter and tears.

As a girl growing up in Idlewild, Michigan, Ava Johnson had always heard that, if you were young, black, and had any sense at all, Atlanta was the place to be. So as soon as she was old enough and able enough, that was where she went--parlaying her smarts and her ambition into one of the hottest hair salons in town. In no time, she was moving with the brothers and sisters who had beautiful clothes, big cars, bigger dreams, and money in the bank.

Now, after more than a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living, Ava has come home, her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth. Ava Johnson has tested positive for HIV. And she's back in little Idlewild to spend a quiet summer with her widowed sister, Joyce, before moving on to finish her life in San Francisco, the most HIV-friendly place she can imagine.

But what she thinks is the end is only the beginning because there's too much going down in her hometown for Ava to ignore. There's the Sewing Circus--sister Joyce's determined effort to educate Idlewild's young black women about sex, drugs, pregnancy, whatever. . .despite the interference of the good Reverend Anderson and his most virtuous, "Just say no" wife. Plus Joyce needs a helping hand to make a loving home for Imani, an abandoned crack baby whom she's taken into her heart.

And then there's Wild Eddie, whose legendary background in violence combined with his Eastern gentility has stirred Ava's interest. . .and something more.

In the ten-plus years since Ava left, all the problems of the big city--drugs, crime, disease have come home to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away. Now she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Things are getting very interesting in Idlewild these days. Besides which, the unthinkable thing has started happening: Ava Johnson is failing in love.

A remarkable novel sizzling with sensuality, rollicking with wild humor, and humming with gritty truth, in What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day. . .Pearl Cleage has created a world rich in character, human drama, and deep, compassionate understanding.

As a girl growing up in Idlewild, Michigan, Ava Johnson had always heard that, if you were young, black, and had any sense at all, Atlanta was the place to be. So as soon as she was old enough and able enough, that was where she went--parlaying her smarts and her ambition into one of the hottest hair salons in town. In no time, she was moving with the brothers and sisters who had beautiful clothes, big cars, bigger dreams, and money in the bank.

Now, after more than a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living, Ava has come home, her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth. Ava Johnson has tested positive for HIV. And she's back in little Idlewild to spend a quiet summer with her widowed sister, Joyce, before moving on to finish her life in San Francisco, the most HIV-friendly place she can imagine.

And then there's Wild Eddie, whose legendary back ground in violence combined with his Eastern gentility has stirred Ava's interest...and something more.

In the ten-plus years since Ava left all the problems of the big city--drugs, crime, disease--have come home to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away. Now she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Things are getting very interesting in Idlewild these days. Besides which, the unthinkable thing has started happening: Ava Johnson is falling in love.

Blackwell North Amer

Acclaimed Playwright, essayist and columnist Pearl Cleage breaks new ground in African American women's literature--with a debut novel that sings and crackles with life-affirming energy as it moves the reader to laughter and tears.

As a girl growing up in Idlewild, Michigan, Ava Johnson had always heard that, if you were young, black, and had any sense at all, Atlanta was the place to be. So as soon as she was old enough and able enough, that was where she went--parlaying her smarts and her ambition into one of the hottest hair salons in town. In no time, she was moving with the brothers and sisters who had beautiful clothes, big cars, bigger dreams, and money in the bank.

Now, after more than a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living, Ava has come home, her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth. Ava Johnson has tested positive for HIV. And she's back in little Idlewild to spend a quiet summer with her widowed sister, Joyce, before moving on to finish her life in San Francisco, the most HIV-friendly place she can imagine.

But what she thinks is the end is only the beginning because there's too much going down in her hometown for Ava to ignore. There's the Sewing Circus--sister Joyce's determined effort to educate Idlewild's young black women about sex, drugs, pregnancy, whatever. . .despite the interference of the good Reverend Anderson and his most virtuous, "Just say no" wife. Plus Joyce needs a helping hand to make a loving home for Imani, an abandoned crack baby whom she's taken into her heart.

And then there's Wild Eddie, whose legendary background in violence combined with his Eastern gentility has stirred Ava's interest. . .and something more.

In the ten-plus years since Ava left, all the problems of the big city--drugs, crime, disease have come home to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away. Now she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Things are getting very interesting in Idlewild these days. Besides which, the unthinkable thing has started happening: Ava Johnson is failing in love.

A remarkable novel sizzling with sensuality, rollicking with wild humor, and humming with gritty truth, in What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day. . .Pearl Cleage has created a world rich in character, human drama, and deep, compassionate understanding.

As a girl growing up in Idlewild, Michigan, Ava Johnson had always heard that, if you were young, black, and had any sense at all, Atlanta was the place to be. So as soon as she was old enough and able enough, that was where she went--parlaying her smarts and her ambition into one of the hottest hair salons in town. In no time, she was moving with the brothers and sisters who had beautiful clothes, big cars, bigger dreams, and money in the bank.

Now, after more than a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living, Ava has come home, her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth. Ava Johnson has tested positive for HIV. And she's back in little Idlewild to spend a quiet summer with her widowed sister, Joyce, before moving on to finish her life in San Francisco, the most HIV-friendly place she can imagine.

And then there's Wild Eddie, whose legendary back ground in violence combined with his Eastern gentility has stirred Ava's interest...and something more.

In the ten-plus years since Ava left all the problems of the big city--drugs, crime, disease--have come home to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away. Now she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Things are getting very interesting in Idlewild these days. Besides which, the unthinkable thing has started happening: Ava Johnson is falling in love.

Baker
& Taylor

After more than a decade of living the high life, Ava Johnson returns home to the quiet northern Michigan community in which she grew up with a dark secret, but Ava cannot turn her back on friends and family who need her, nor help falling deeply in love.

Publisher: New York : Avon Books, 1997.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780380975846
038097584X
Branch Call Number: CLE
Characteristics: 244 p. ; 22 cm.

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Quotes

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b
britprincess1ajax
Aug 09, 2016

"...by now we were all old enough to know that what looks like crazy on an ordinary day looks a lot like love if you catch it in the moonlight."

b
britprincess1ajax
Aug 09, 2016

"We do it all, mostly to each other, and when we get caught and the six-o clock news shows us in our bright orange prison coveralls with our hands cuffed behind us and lint in our hair, we don't look sorry. We don't even look scared. What we look is bored."

b
britprincess1ajax
Aug 09, 2016

(referring to the sexually aggressive lyrics to a rap song)
"Anybody who can't ask for it any better than that probably won't know what to do with it when you hand it to him."

b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

"Sometimes you meet yourself on the road before you have a chance to learn the appropriate greeting. Faced with your own possibilities, the hard part is knowing a speech is not required. All you have to say is yes."

b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

"Grown people never ask you what they should do until they've already decided for themselves. They don't tell you that, of course, but they stand there and wait for you to either confirm their good judgment or reveal yourself as not as smart as they thought you were by advising them in the other direction."

b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

"Small-town living doesn't save you anymore."

Notices

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b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

Other: The protagonist used to drink and still does socially. The crack epidemic in a small community is also mentioned.

b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

Sexual Content: Various references to HIV and AIDS; a few scenes of a sexual nature; references to body parts, especially but not exclusively during women's health seminars

b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

Violence: Several scenes of a violent or aggressive nature

b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

Coarse Language: A few expletives throughout, including the occasional f-bomb, but overall pretty tame

Comment

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b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 28, 2016

WHAT LOOKS LIKE CRAZY ON AN ORDINARY DAY is about real life, real people, and real problems. There are no villains in real life and yet author Pearl Cleage penned one of the most vicious villains I've ever seen in Gerry Anderson. But even Gerry is crafted from what feels like real flesh and blood. Gerry doesn't think herself a villain, I'm sure. I have met women just like Gerry, ones who swear a vendetta against the wrong kind of thing. Often it's out of sheer boredom, fueled by self-righteousness. And here we are, living life with a nemesis. This book, part of the massively popular Oprah's Book Club, was one I'd never heard too much about, which was the trigger for me to read it. Knowing nothing at all about it, I was entranced by Ava's journey as she returns home to Michigan, supposedly as a stop on her way to San Francisco with her widowed sister Joyce until she finds a reason to stay. Ava's got her own baggage to deal with and her life would probably look crazy to the average outsider. But so does everybody else's life. And in a way, this well paced novel peters along as a love letter to real life and the real problems that come with it. It may seem insane, but it's actually remarkably ordinary. I highly recommend it.

c
Cabby
Nov 08, 2007

Ophrah's book club.

Age

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b
britprincess1ajax
Jul 18, 2016

britprincess1ajax thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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