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published: Jul 2005
ISBN:9781554980550

The Crazy Man

by Pamela Porter

reviews: 2
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $9.95
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Hardcover
published: Jul 2005
ISBN:9781554980550
Description

It is 1965, and twelve-year-old Emaline lives on a wheat farm in southern Saskatchewan. Her family has fallen apart. When her beloved dog, Prince, chased a hare into the path of the tractor, she chased after him, and her dad accidentally ran over her leg with the discer, leaving her with a long convalescence and a permanent disability. But perhaps the worst thing from Emaline's point of view is that in his grief and guilt, her father shot Prince and then left Emaline and her mother on their own.

Despite the neighbors' disapproval, Emaline's mother hires Angus, a patient from the local mental hospital, to work their fields. Angus is a red-haired giant whom the local kids tease and call the gorilla. Though the small town's prejudice creates a cloud of suspicion around Angus that nearly results in tragedy, in the end he becomes a force for healing as Emaline comes to terms with her injury and the loss of her father.

In the tradition of novels such as Kevin Major's Ann and Seamus and Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust, novelist and poet Pamela Porter uses free verse to tell this moving, gritty story that is accessible to a wide range of ages and reading abilities.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
9 to 12
Grade:
4 to 7
Reading age:
9 to 12
Awards
  • Winner, Hackmatack Award
  • Winner, OLA Golden Oak Award
  • Winner, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Winner, Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award
  • Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
  • Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • Winner, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Awards: Text
  • Winner, Texas Institute of Letters Friends of the Austin Public Library Award for Best Y

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Reader Reviews

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Crazy Man

It’s no wonder that The Crazy Man won the Governor General’s Literary Award (Children’s Literature, English-language text). It’s a wonderfully written story, told in poetry, that exposes society’s view of mental illness. It also tells of the struggle that comes when families break apart, and the children are left to wonder if it was something that they had done.

Emaline is your typical Grade 6 girl, until an accident involving a tractor and the family dog leaves her with a severed leg. Although she doesn’t lose her leg, her father blames himself for the incident. While she is at the hospital, he shoots their dog and abandons his family. Emaline and her mother are left to tend their Saskatchewan farm on their own.

When none of the neighbours are willing to help, they hire Angus, a local resident from the mental hospital. The town doesn’t like it and they have no qualms about making life hard on poor Angus. This story will make you both angry and concerned, but it is in those moments when you laugh that you most see yourself in the people surrounding Emaline.

The way the townsfolk react to Angus is no differently than how we react to street people. Their fright is our fright. And yet, Angus is just a man who is as frightened by his mental labyrinth as we are.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2006. Vol.29 No. 1.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Crazy Man

Emaline’s devastated by a terrible farm accident, but healing comes about in unexpected ways. A moving story, told in free verse, that deals with loss, disabilities and hope.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2006.

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