Review: (don’t) Call Me Crazy edt. by Kelly Jensen
This year, Kelly and I are hitting the backlist hard. We have so many unread books in our libraries so we committed to Beat the Backlist. (don’t) Call Me Crazy has been on my list since late summer and it was time to get serious about this amazing anthology. Check it out below!
(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Healthby Kelly Jensen
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
on October 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Anthology
Who’s Crazy? What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when such a label gets attached to your everyday experiences? In order to understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?—to different people. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a conversation starter and guide to better understanding how our mental health affects us every day. Thirty-three writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy. If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages, and let’s get talking.
2018 seemed to be full of non-fiction anthologies in YA – and I am totally here for it. There’s nothing like seeing your favorite authors get real on the page. (don’t) Call Me Crazy is such a great example of this, which struck me personally as an advocate for breaking the mental health stigma. I can’t recommend this book enough.
With sections like, “What’s ‘crazy'”, Beyond Stress and Sadness, and “To Be Okay” (the chapter on hope), readers will find a variety of mental health experiences and normalities on the page. In addition to the authors experiences are lists such as, “Top 10 Horror Films about Fear” written by Stephanie Kuehn, a YA queen of terror (PS I also had no idea so many people were bothered by seemingly normal sounds. Glad it’s not just me!) and art. There are stories about comorbidities in mental health, healing after a school shooting, addiction, and body dysmorphia from a male perspective. It’s a well rounded anthology full of diverse perspectives but is clear that these are personal experiences so a reader’s experience may be different or not represented at all.
The takeaway message is in the opening chapter – a person’s mental health does not define them and there is hope and treatment out there. Plus there’s a badass essay from S. Jae-Jones on being a woman and how that can directly impact our mental health. Oh, and if you missed editor Kelly Jensen’s recent essay about her mental health journey and the book, be sure to check it out here!