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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Surviving Crazy by Frank Crimi is a humorous and sometimes downright hilarious look at the “end of civilization as we know it”. When a massive solar eruption spins the world into chaos, frying anything electrical or containing a chip and plunging the world into darkness, everyone is on their own – or so it seems. Riley had finally found some purpose in his life, as a newly appointed scout for the Major League Baseball team, the Arizona Prickly Heat. He’s on his way to scout a supposedly fantastically talented high-school pitcher in the tiny backwoods town of Jericho in Idaho. When Riley stops to fill up his rental car at an isolated diner, he decides it is time to fill up himself also. The small diner contains a collection of weird and wonderful characters, all with their own unusual backstories, when the solar event hits and they are left stranded, in the middle of nowhere, in appallingly cold and wet weather. This odd-ball group of people must somehow come together and form a cohesive unit if they are to survive this cataclysmic event. Will this be a new beginning and an opportunity for them to shine, despite their chequered and shady pasts? Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Jericho, another equally deranged group of individuals is fighting for control of the town and its people, each with their own personal agendas and reasons for wanting to be in charge. It can only end badly – or can it?
Writing good comedy is not easy. I know, I’ve tried but author Frank Crimi appears to have hit upon the solution in this madcap tale of an apocalypse in Surviving Crazy. The author has created the most unusual and disparate group of characters his fevered mind could conjure up and the amazing thing is they work and they are funny together, especially their interactions. By drawing caricatures that are so much larger than life, he has created some hilarious slapstick, visual comedy but much deeper than that, he allows his characters to go beyond the slapstick and into more cerebral humor. This is a funny book in the “slap him on the head” style of comedy and that would be enough in itself but this goes deeper and explores the stereotypes and labels we place on people, how we make snap judgments and often allow our preconceived perceptions to pre-judge before we’ve even gotten to know the individual. I thought this made the narrative not only funny but an interesting exploration of the human condition. By subjecting these characters to the most horrendous situation any of us can imagine brought out the worst and, yes, occasionally the best in the human condition and psyche. To be able to do this in a story meant to make us laugh is an indication of the author’s talent and I must commend him for this. I loved this easy and funny read and can highly recommend it.