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Catching Crazy by Jacob Cummer
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Catching Crazy (2009)

by Jacob Cummer

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What started out as a bad day for 12 year old Thurman just kept getting worse. Being the class clown had already helped him get through his parents divorce, now maybe comedy could get him through forgetting to put on deodorant and smelling as bad as his dog. Now that very same dog is missing and Thurman realizes that there are only a few things he needs to make him feel normal again. Finding his dog, finding out if his dad really loves him and getting a new glove before baseball season starts. While looking for Smelly (the dog) he comes across his crazy neighbor Harlan. Harlan offers him a job. Maybe a job would help him accomplish the easiest task on his list, make money and buy his own glove. In the course of his new job, Thurman helps Harlan by answering the big questions of life.

What a strange bond to create for this young boy. This was a very good, sentimental journey for Thurman packed full of symbolism and hidden meanings. Adolescence dealing with divorce, lose and fitting-in leaves most kids feeling anything but normal and for this unlikely match that was what brought them together and allowed Thurman to find something of himself along the way. A touching and wonderful way to convey to any child who is trying to grow up “normal” that it really is ‘ok’ to be just a little crazy, maybe we all are anyway. I really liked this book, I am not sure who it is suppose to be geared for but I think that anyone from 9 up would find a bit of themselves with the help of Thurman and Harlan‘s work. ( )
1 vote onyx95 | Oct 28, 2009 |
For a book targeted towards a younger audience, this book was somewhat heavy. That is to say, it dealt with very heavy subjects. One such subject is divorce.

Thurman, whose family has recently been sundered with divorce starts off by having a particularly bad day, which grows gradually worse and worse, ending when the family dog, Smelly, runs away.

Thurman makes a list of things he wants, in an effort to make himself feel better. He wants to get his dog back; he wants a new baseball glove for the summer; and he wants his dad to tell him that he loves him. He opts to go for the simplest one: the glove. And to do this, he ends up working for the crazy, one-legged next-door neighbor, Harlan.

Harlan's work involves his asking questions that seem odd, and having Thurman answer them. Additionally, Harlan has Thurman read to him, but sometimes has him start at the end before reading the beginning, to see how is changes his perspective on reading. Other crazy things like that. Thurman, meanwhile, is afraid that he'll catch the crazy.

This book is very well written, and though is targeted towards a younger audience, still can be enjoyed by someone not as young. Though adolescent humor abounds, the story does not rely on it to keep the plot moving, and it's pretty easy to overlook.

But, again, the book deals with heavy subject matters, which may be a concern to some parents, or at the very least, an opportunity to discuss deeper things with your kids. ( )
  aethercowboy | Sep 2, 2009 |
This book is a wonderful book. It tells you the story of a boy called Thurman who's life and family is torn apart by divorce and at the same time he loses his dog. The boy then works for the old man across the street, that everyone calls crazy, doing strange things. The old man then shows how our present has changed and actually has turned crazy and our language and doings too. This is an awesome read that shows a life of a boy in all of its simplicity. This should've won an Newbery Award. I'll give this book 5 out of 5 stars :D ( )
  iaia852 | Aug 15, 2009 |
Catching Crazy by Jacob Cummer
Publisher: Fullproof Publishing, 2009
Pages: 13
ISBN: 978-0-9822326-4-4
Source: LibraryThing giveaway

Thurman is a sixth grader trying to figure out what normal is. His parents are divorced and his dog is missing. He deals with things by clowning around. All he wants is for things to be normal again. But, what is normal? This is something he will learn from his neighbor. Harlan is the one-legged man, who sits in his front yard everyday, smoking his pipe. Rumor is, you don’t want to get to close to him because you might catch his crazy.

When Thurman’s dog goes missing he asks his neighbor if he has seen his dog. Harlan tells him he hasn’t and offers him a job. With money being tight since the divorce, Thurman has no choice but to take Harlan up on his job offer if he want to have a brand new baseball glove. Harlan’s idea of a job is to have Thurman sit and visit with him, talking about all kinds of things, occasionally reading to him or refilling his glass of tea. At the end of each work day, Harlan has a question for Thurman to ponder. It is through these questions that Thurman gets the answers to the questions in his heart. These answers start filling in the gaps in his life. He also realizes that if people had tried to get to know the old man they would have realized he wasn’t crazy. There was always a good reason for the things he did. This book was very good. It was an emotional read that made me cry. I told my mother about the book, read her some excerpts and cried again. I give this a 5 out of 5 rating. ( )
  skstiles612 | Aug 7, 2009 |
This book was great. Looking at the length of the book, and the text I would think it was intended for a Young Adult audience but it can be a wonderful read for any age. The lead character Thurman learns over the course of the story what normal truly is as well as some other lessons. This heart-warming story is a must read and a quick read as well. ( )
  phantom245w44st | Jul 28, 2009 |
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