Review: ‘The Problem With Crazy’ by Lauren K. McKellar

The Problem With Crazy

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 she is likely to inherit.

When your whole life goes from adventure and ecstasy to sad and suicidal, what’s the point? Not knowing who to love, and who to trust . . . where does it end?

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.

Regular readers of my blog will know I don’t usually read contemporary fiction. For me to pick up a contemp, it has to be special. In this case, I’d read and loved Lauren K. McKellar’s previous book, Finding Home. (I reviewed it here if you want to catch up.) Lauren is one of the co-founders at Aussie Owned and Read, and as well as being brilliant she’s simply adorable.

All of that being said, The Problem With Crazy blew me away. I stayed up till after midnight — on a work night, no less — thinking “just one more chapter”. It’s such an emotional rollercoaster of a book. Right from the first chapter, Kate, our main character, is left reeling with the sudden changes to her life. Graduation. Her drunk, absentee father turning up and embarrassing her. Discovering that he has Huntington’s Disease, and that she might have it too.

Her boyfriend’s, ah, less-than-stellar reaction to the news.

Dave. Ah, Dave. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character as much as I hate Kate’s boyfriend, a wannabe rockstar and lead singer of Dave & the Glories. Even before Dave finds out about Kate’s potential illness it’s clear he’s a jerk, dismissing Kate’s organising of the band’s tour as “making a couple of phone calls”, when clearly she’d worked her butt off. I thought after the way he broke up with her he couldn’t sink any lower.

But he did.

I won’t say how due to spoilers, but I was reading this on my Kindle and had to physically restrain myself from throwing it across the room. (That scene was one of the THREE TIMES times I cried reading this book.)

On the other hand, there are some truly wonderful characters, including Lachlan — probably the sweetest book boyfriend ever — Stacey, and even Kate’s dad, as ill as he is. His neurodegenerative disease actually gives him a much more cheerful outlook on life, something that Kate and her mother slowly come to appreciate. Between Lachlan and her dad, Kate learns to live in the moment and appreciate what’s happening now rather than being terrified of the future.

The Problem With Crazy is in turns heartwrenching and beautiful, and Lauren is the sort of crazy-ass talented that will keep writers awake at night. Or maybe that’s just me?

Read it. Love it.

Five stars

5 Comments on “Review: ‘The Problem With Crazy’ by Lauren K. McKellar”

  1. Aw, man! Now you’re making me cry the happy tears on the way to work!
    Thank you so much for your extremely kind and generous review. It means so much to me.

  2. […] The Problem With Crazy by Lauren K. McKellar. For me to pick up a contemp, it has to be special. The Problem With Crazy blew me away. I stayed up till after midnight — on a work night, no less — thinking “just one more chapter”. Review. […]

  3. […] The Problem With Crazy, which was one of my favourite 2014 reads. (You can read my review of that here.) The second book in the series, Eleven Weeks, covers the same period of time as the first, but […]

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