Title: The Problem With Crazy
Author: Lauren K. McKellar
Series: Crazy in Love #1
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 13, 2014
The problem with crazy is that crazy, by itself, has no context. It can be good crazy, bad crazy … or crazy crazy—like it was when my ex-boyfriend sung about me on the radio.
Eighteen-year-old Kate couldn’t be more excited about finishing high school and spending the summer on tour with her boyfriend’s band. Her dad showing up drunk at graduation, however, is not exactly kicking things off on the right foot—and that’s before she finds out about his mystery illness, certain to end in death.
A mystery illness that she could inherit.
Kate has to convince everyone around her that her father is sick, not crazy. But who will be harder to convince? Her friends? Or herself?
The Problem With Crazy is a story about love and life; about overcoming obstacles, choosing to trust, and learning how to make the choices that will change your life forever.
I fell for the characters in this story over the course of their journey. Kate is struggling with all the changes and challenges in her life, but she continues to push forward. She doesn’t always do it gracefully or with a smile on her face, but she continues on. Sometimes she felt pretty hopeless and every day was clouded with doubt, but she was always real and raw. There isn’t anything I connect with more than a character who feels organic emotion and feels it deeply and unapologetically. Then there was Lachlan. Lachlan is a beautiful soul who has seen his share of obstacles and has found peace with his life. His character felt like the next step in the evolution of Kate, and I found myself desperately wanting him to help her find her way. He was the hope, the light that follows the darkness, the promise that tomorrow would be better.
“I knew he wasn’t crazy; not in the literal sense of the word. He was sick, and nothing made me madder than when people used that term incorrectly.”
Creating a story about disease and illness is difficult to say the least. The writer walks a fine line between sounding like a medical textbook and not realizing the full potential of those patients’ stories. This is where the strength of this story lies. Lauren McKellar details the ups and downs of dealing with a hereditary disease with incredible respect and sensitivity. She approaches the emotional and physical trials with honesty and in doing so forges an understanding between the characters and the reader. She is fearless in her story telling, binding me to her characters and investing me in their ultimate happiness. The Problem With Crazy is not the end of the story, but it doesn’t end on a huge cliffhanger. Thank goodness. I’m not sure my heart could take it. This beautiful book will take you on an emotional ride. It is heart-wrenching and hopeful. It will steal your breath and breathe life into the pages. It will satisfy you and leave you wanting more.
Dad was crouched down in the corner, sitting in a pile of dust. A grin stretched from cheek to cheek. Aside from the empty cans scattered around him, he looked normal. There was no blood, no limbs bent at an unnatural angle.
But his leg was kicking, tiny jerks into space, just like the genetics counsellor had warned me about.
Over and over and over.
The air clawed at my throat, stopping me from breathing. My chest closed in, constricted.
This wasn’t my father.
I pushed past Mum and bolted out into the yard again until I was in the opposite corner. I was desperate for air, taking big, needy gulps of it. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t do this. I jerked my foot out and kicked a paling on our brown wooden fence, as hard as I could.
My toes curled up in pain and I hopped around, biting my lip and cursing. Even through my shoe, it hurt. It hurt so damn much.
But at least this was a pain that was real.
At least it wasn’t the pain churning inside of me, eating me alive slowly in its wishy-washy fashion. This pain was a release: short, sharp and loaded with hate. And it was sweet.
Check out the rest of the Crazy in Love series:
Eleven Weeks (Crazy in Love #2)
The Problem with Heartache (Crazy in Love #3)
Lauren K. McKellar is a writer and editor of fact and fiction. She has worked in publishing for more than eight years, and recently returned to her first love: writing books that make you feel.
Lauren loves to write for the Young and New Adult markets, and blogs with Aussie Owned and Read, as well as vlogging with the YA Rebels.
In her free time, Lauren enjoys long walks on the beach with her two super-cute dogs and her partner-in-crime/fiancé.
WRITING ABOUT ILLNESS – Lauren K. McKellar
Writing about illness and disease is obviously dancing with danger. After all, when you’re talking about a condition that can change, and eventually, strip someone of their life, it’s important to treat the topic with sensitivity and do it justice. Stuffing up things like symptoms, treatment and other conditional specifications can not only leave you labeled a liar, but also leave you responsible for potentially causing a sufferer insult and/or injury.
The Problem With Crazy deals with Huntington’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that results in a loss of brain function and, approximately 15-20 years after onset, death. And that’s putting it in simple terms.
When writing about this disease, I wanted to keep as close to the facts as I could. Being a lesser-known condition than, say, cancer, or Parkinson’s, it was difficult at first to gather facts.
Eventually, I approached a few organisations, state bodies for sufferers of this illness, to fact check and gather information. This was difficult as a writer; asking people to give up their time for something that may never be published is hard, especially when you’re asking such personal questions. Still, I was lucky enough to speak with a person at the Huntington’s foundation in Victoria, and they helped me a lot.
I also learnt a lot from talking with sufferers and relatives of sufferers. They showed me a unique angle to the disease I hadn’t at that point considered: a compassion, and positive focus I may not have been aware of otherwise.
In the end, I asked another state body to read through the book for any factual errors. At the end of the day, this illness isn’t my story to tell–it’s theirs, and I don’t want to misrepresent it. Still, I do expect there to be an element or two of information that perhaps isn’t quite accurate. When it comes down to it, I haven’t suffered from this illness, nor has anyone in my family, thank goodness. It is for this reason that I hope you, as a reader, understand that this is a work of fiction, and for more information on this disease.