Crazy in Alabama

Childress, Mark. Crazy in Alabama. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993.

Talk about crazy! This book drove me there! I called Made in America a book of multiple personalities. If that’s the case, Crazy in Alabama is a book of split personalities. Set in the 1960s, one half of the narration is dedicated to Lucille’s escapades in California. She’s seeking fame and fortune as a wannabe actress while on the run from the law with her husband’s decapitated head in a Tupperware container. The other half of the narration is from the perspective of Lucille’s nephew Peter Joseph (Peejoe). He’s in racially torn Alabama witnessing violence and civil unrest at its worst. While Lucille’s side of the story is insanely surreal, Peejoe’s is intensely serious. The disconnect between the two voices created a divide almost too big to ignore. Luckily, Childress pulls them together and makes the entire plot work…somehow.

Favorite lines: “She would miss her children but she had Chester’s head to keep her company” (p 37). Of course! Another favorite line, “My eye was the price I’d had to pay for seeing too much” (p 229). See the difference between Lucille and Peejoe’s worlds?

Author Fact: Mark Childress is also the author of three picture books for children.

Book Trivia: Crazy in Alabama was made into a movie starring Melanie Griffith in 1999. Haven’t seen it.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called Southern-Fried Fiction: Alabama (p 207).

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