Basil Johnston, author of a dozen books including The Manitous and Indian School Days, is one of North America's most renowned native writers and storytellers. Crazy Dave tells the story of Johnston's Uncle Dave and grandmother Rosa. Through their stories we are given an engrossing, moving portrait of life on the reservation through the better part of this century. The last of Rosa's five sons, David was born with Down's Syndrome. Unable to take care of himself, Rosa was to be forever bound to him, conscripted by love and duty to a life already defined by harsh and tragic circumstances. And yet, David would become as large and has a colourful personality as anyone else in the Cape Croker community. Possessed of the normal range of human emotion, capable of almost astonishing gentleness and fierce anger, he aspired to learn, and struggled to be part of a world in which he would never entirely belong. In that regard, David was - and remains - a poignant and unsettling reflection of his people, engaged in the nearly impossible struggle to sustain and preserve families, a language and a way of life while accommodating the increasingly intrusive ways of white society. Peopled with vivid characters, and beautifully woven stories that are funny and heartbreaking, Crazy Dave is an enchanting and unforgettable portrait of a culture struggling for survival.
About the author
Basil Johnston has written 15 books in English and 5 in Ojibway to show that there is much more to North American Indigenous life than social organization, hunting and fishing, food preparation, clothing, dwellings and transportation. Among the books that Basil has written are Ojibway Heritage, Indian School Days, Crazy Dave, and Honour Earth Mother (Kegedonce Press). Basil believes the key to understanding culture is language and to this end he has developed audio programs on cassette and CD. For his work Johnston has received numerous awards including the Order of Ontario and Honourary Doctorates from the University of Toronto and Laurentian University.