Date Published: 5/31/2013
“I’m looking out from inside the chaos. It must be a one-way mirror because no one seems to be able to see back inside to where I am. The looks on their faces, the judgment in their eyes, tells me everything I need to know. The most frustrating part about the whole messed up situation is that even though I’m the one that they stare at in shock, I am just as shocked as they are. I know no more than they do of why I lose control. What they don’t know is that I am more scared of myself than they could ever be.” ~ Tally Baker
After a devastating turn of events, seventeen year old Tally Baker is admitted to Mercy Psychiatric Facility where she is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She has come to a place where she honestly believes that her life is over. Her mind tells her that she will never smile or laugh again, that she will never be normal again. It is in this unlikely place that she meets two people, different in every way, yet both critical to helping her realize that she has so much more living to do.
Candy, a cantankerous sixty year old Mercy Psychiatric patient, is hell bent on driving everyone as crazy as she is. Candy shows Tally that, regardless of her diagnosis, the ability to push on and live her life to the fullest is her choice and hers alone. In the midst of Tally’s oftentimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching, escapades with Candy, a new patient is admitted to Mercy—a native American woman named Lolotea. Along with this new patient comes a daily visitor, her son, Trey Swift. At first glance, it is obvious to Tally that he is incredibly handsome and unbelievably caring. But what she learns through her second glance, and many thereafter, is that there is much more to Trey than he ever lets on. It is during these daily visits that Trey and Tally build a friendship far deeper than either of them truly realize. With Trey, Tally feels for the first time since being admitted that someone is looking at her as a person and not as a disease. Trey begins to make it clear that he wants more than friendship, but she knows that she can never give him more. How can she, when she won’t even give him the truth? Tally doesn’t tell Trey that she is a patient at Mercy, and she doesn’t ever plan to. Her plans go up in flames when she finds out that Trey is a new student at her school, the school where her brokenness was found out in the floor of the girl’s bathroom in a pool of her own blood.
Chock full of emotion, Call Me Crazy is one that is going to yank on your heartstrings the whole way through. Tally feels like she is damaged goods, thanks to her bipolar disorder. The pain that she feels as she is in the throes of her depression radiates through the pages. I could feel her despair, almost as if it were my own. I was inwardly yelling at her to snap out of it and to pay attention to the good that is around her. But that isn't how bipolar disorder works. And she needed to come to the realization on her own that she was still a good person. Meds and therapy were helping, but a lot still depended on her.
Candy is a great character. We never really find out exactly why she is a patient at Mercy, but she is hilarious. One of my favorite early jokes poked fun at how their situation was like something out of 'Girl, Interrupted,' which honestly was one of my first thoughts when I started the book. (I actually liked this better than 'Girl, Interrupted,' and yes, it is different.) I found myself wanting to write down a lot of her quips, to use as ammo in future verbal battles with people. She has a wickedly naughty streak in her, but actually does more good than harm.
Trey is good for Tally, because they seem to complement each other well. She needs someone to believe in her. He has a big heart and sees her for who she is, instead of focusing on her mental illness like so many other people in her life. It does worry me a bit that they feel like they can't breathe when they are not together. He is very forceful in some ways, but she needs that extra shove to help her get her life back together. I don't like his hot temper, though. I know that he would never hurt Tally, but he does some pretty nasty things to those who do. It rubs me the wrong way.
Tally's best friend Natalie is great. Everyone needs a best friend like her - someone who understands that sometimes you are not in control of yourself, but loves you anyway. She will do anything she can to help Tally. She is forgiving when Tally can't do the same for her, because she knows that at some point, it will be reciprocated.
Tally's parents just need to be smacked. That is often the case in stories like this. I hate that some kids have to go through parents not understanding when they have such problems in their lives. It's not right.
Trey's grandmother is a beautiful person, with whom I would love to converse in person. She has that innate native wisdom that has been passed down for generations in their tribe. She doles it out on an as-needed basis and is always right. Trey's mother is also just as beautiful, though a tragic soul.
I saw a lot of growth in the characters during this book. They all still have a long journey ahead of them, but I think they will be okay. I also liked the personal message at the end, from author Quinn Loftis. She is quite open that she also has bipolar disorder, and leaves a message of hope for others in the same boat. Tally's story should also provide readers with that same hope.
Quinn is a 32 year old wife, mother, nurse, and writer, not necessarily in that order. She lives in beautiful West Arkansas with her husband, son, Nora their Doberman pinscher and Phoebe their cat (who thinks she is a ninja in disguise). She loves writing, reading, and crocheting. Her favourite holiday is Christmas, favourite book(s) is Pride and Prejudice, The Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs, and the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. She loves to be silly and have fun, loves music and thinks there is no greater sound in the world than that of her little boy's laughter.
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