Surviving Crazy, a review by Tanya

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Surviving Crazy
By Frank Crimi

282 pages
Published Aug 2020

Book Synopsis

After a gigantic solar storm plunges the world into the dark ages, a cast of borderline crazy characters find themselves stranded at a remote mountain diner. Cut off from the rest of the electricity-deprived world, the group, whose grip on sanity is tenuous, and whose coping skills leave much to be desired, are forced to rely on each other with laughingly absurd results. As their situation rapidly deteriorates, the distant town of Jericho becomes their only hope for survival. Only the road to Jericho is fraught with peril that only the bravest of them may survive. Worse, Jericho may not be the safe haven they desperately seek. How will they survive this new bizarre and frightening world where everyone’s a nut in a place that’s getting nuttier by the day is anyone’s guess.

My Review

The thing about this book, is it reminded me a lot of the humor and writing style of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I read earlier this year.  That is such a beloved book and when I finally dug into it, I felt like Alice who just fell down the rabbit hole, but not in a good way.  I didn’t understand why the humor was funny.  The plot was good and interesting but all the layers of nonsense just made the whole story a joke.  Which of course, was the whole point.  I get that but I didn’t enjoy it.

In Surviving Crazy, I felt like I had picked up book 2 of Hitchhiker’s.  The plot is really interesting and I was very excited to start reading. It began really well and here is an example of the great writing contained within the story:

“After what seemed like an eternity, the rest stop finally appeared. It sat eerily alone in a small open patch off the roadside, dwarfed by the surrounding, impenetrable forest. It looked like something one might see in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Only in this case, the gingerbread house was a diner called O’Shea’s.”

I mean, that almost gives me goosebumps and seems like a Stephen King kind of story that I would love!  Even some of the humor at the beginning was really funny:

‘…middle-aged with a creased face topped in a short crop of graying hair, he had the look of someone comfortable in a profession designated to mete out vicious beatings. Perhaps a prison guard or a middle school vice principle.”

Hilarious!

But… all of the side stories of characters were just over the top ‘Blazing Saddles’ comedy bits, which are truly not my cup of tea. Examples are the Stagnant Pond’s Park Paradise with sickly insects and fungus-infected frog wizards, the Open Hatchet carry laws, the Tick and Flea Resort Inn and the Mothers Against Reckless Paddle Boating. Add to that the ridiculous names of these side characters: Yancy Bullwinkle, Sherriff Jack Quack with his girlfriend Kandi Korne, and on and on.

A great storyline turned in to these short side stories of nonsense events with funny-named side characters.  For me, this drew me completely out of the story and I just wanted to put the book down.  It’s really unfortunate as I think there was ultimately really good writing here and this could have been an excellent Thriller/Horror type book, which is what I thought it was when I requested this ARC from BookSprout.

If Hitchhiker’s is your thing – then I think you will appreciate the humor this author was going for and you should absolutely pick up this book as you won’t come across another one like this for a long time!

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