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Reviewed by Barbara Oliverio for Readers' Favorite
A Smidge of Crazy is a potpourri of observations, comments, and general reflections on topics ranging from cake decorating to political activism. Author Barbara Venkataraman has stepped outside herself and observed the quirks, foibles, and everyday life that are all too familiar. No topic is off the table in this slim volume of bite-size essays. For example, readers of a certain age will nod along as she checks off the list of diagnoses that are the inconvenient truths of an aging body. Purely 21st-century topics are contemplated, such as the trade-off of the pervasive encroachment of technology that contributes to diminishing vocabularies yet also provides the benefit of an increase in the speed of cross continental-communications.
As humorous as each story is, there is an underlying universal truth in each one that is slyly astute in its acerbic observation. In addition, though each story can stand solidly on its own, there is a thread that weaves through that deftly sums up the modern zeitgeist. Poignancy shares space neatly with humor in these essays, and I identified with more than one reflection. Barbara Venkataraman is a master of storytelling, and as I turned the pages I felt like I was laughing along with one of my pals as they waxed poetically (or even not so poetically) on the latest baffling life encounter. A Smidge of Crazy is the perfect candy box of goodies that can be savored one at a time, but you’ll want to binge them all at one sitting.