The Lost Language of Crazy

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Pub Date 2 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2021

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Description

Is it possible to wake up one day and be emptied of words? For a writer, this would be an unimaginable nightmare, but for any of us, this would be a terrifying ordeal. What happens when we lose our voice? On the flip side, what happens when we are plagued with many voices?

THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRAZY explores the terrain of mental illness from the point of view of its twelve-year-old narrator, Penny, who has grown up believing her mother is dead. The novel opens with the protagonist's desire to finish writing a play, which she is incapable of doing, since she does not know how the play ends, while her best friend, formerly a girl, yearns to play the dad. This is a story about words and language; gender confusion and the secrets surrounding it; silence and lies; mental illness and a writer's journey.

Central to the book is the premise that we all have deeply buried selves, and these burials create a mental instability, which becomes the narrative we bring to the world.

All of the characters find themselves challenged by having their voices and identities silenced in some way by familial and societal expectations; they and the reader come to understand the truth of e.e. cummings' observation that: "To be nobody but yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else--means to fight the hardest battle which any human can fight; and never stop fighting."

Is it possible to wake up one day and be emptied of words? For a writer, this would be an unimaginable nightmare, but for any of us, this would be a terrifying ordeal. What happens when we lose our...


A Note From the Publisher

Pamela L. Laskin teaches graduate and undergraduate children’s writing at City College, where she directs The Poetry Outreach Center. Her book, Ronit and Jamil, a Palestinian/Israeli Romeo and Juliet, was published in 2017 by Harper Collins, and was on Entertainment Weekly’s 35 books to have on your radar. BEA, a picture book, was a finalist for the Katherine Paterson Prize. She is the winner of Leapfrog’s International Fiction Prize for Why no Goodbye, published in 2019. Follow her on Twitter @RonitandJamil, and follow her blog at http://PamelaLaskin.blogspot.com.

Pamela L. Laskin teaches graduate and undergraduate children’s writing at City College, where she directs The Poetry Outreach Center. Her book, Ronit and Jamil, a Palestinian/Israeli Romeo and...


Advance Praise

"THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRAZY explores the delicate intricacies of family, mental health, and identity, as we follow one girl on a difficult, yet life-affirming journey of self-discovery. Written with honesty and humor, Pamela Laskin expertly draws us into the vibrant, complex world of a young creative soul, who, in search of the many meanings of crazy, discovers the many faces of love."


- Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let Go, and Something Like Gravity


"Pamela Laskin tells a riveting story of loss, confusion, and heartbreak based on her own childhood-all the while maintaining the wry humor and fulsome compassion that are the lynchpins of her work. As I neared the end, my eyes brimmed with tears, not from sadness, but from the full emotional ride that The Lost Language of Crazy delivers. It's a contemporary tale that any young person struggling towards adulthood in this crazy world will relate to."


- Suzanne Weyn, author of The Barcode Tattoo trilogy

"THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRAZY explores the delicate intricacies of family, mental health, and identity, as we follow one girl on a difficult, yet life-affirming journey of self-discovery. Written with...


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Available Editions

ISBN 9781637528181
PRICE US$14.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 20 members


Featured Reviews

This story talks about identity and mental health. Here's the main character, P, who keeps changing their name frequently as a part of their creativity. The character is so lively and driven at the beginning; full of vibes and a strong mind that wouldn't budge easily. The dad is quite understanding though and I love reading about parents with never-ending patience dealing with their stubborn, chaotic teen kids. Also, there's another character struggling with an eating disorder. The plot is quite character driven. Here's another character dealing with their gender identity. I really appreciate the representation of these characters. The story also focuses on the struggles of immigrants in getting proper jobs apart from being discriminated. I just love the grandparents! I love how loving the entire family is. The humour in the writing makes the read so much enjoyable. I was expecting a rather serious read when I started the book. The story takes a turn when P discovers something she shouldn't have. And the second half of the book ensues. It made me cry! I just wanted to protect P, her dad, her friends and there's this character who I wanted to know the most. My heart broke into pieces. But well, things end well. I love how the mental health issues have been dealt with except for one character's mental health disorder which is likely to be depression. I'm going to read anything and everything written by this author. Thank you, author and the publisher @Atmosphere Press for the advance reading copy.

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A breathtaking story about identity and mental health that weaves topics such as love, acceptance and resilience in a hopeful but aching manner that culminates into an unforgettable narrative. While slow to read, I ended up enjoying this and will be recommending it in the library and beyond that space.

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A really good read that deals with mental health, identity and other issues so important for Young Adult's. It was heartwarming, funny and heartwrenching in equal measure. It is well written with good relatable and loveable characters, I couldn't put it down and read it quickly.

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<b>Twelve year old Penny explores what it means to have no voice, what it means to hear many voices, and what it means to have your voice squashed.</b> This was such an interesting read. I really loved the author's style of writing and the exploration behind mental illness. The two illnesses in focus are selective mutism and schizophrenia and I particularly enjoyed the monologue behind the selective mutism and the familial experience of schizophrenia. There were various characters with lots of confusion about their identity, but the theme of friendship is very strong, and lent a warmth to the otherwise troubled storyline. However, I felt that the story was rushed, and there was a lot to unpack with not a lot of time. I think the book could benefit from refinement, but Laskin is surely an author to watch.

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This book was informative and lovely and had good mental health rep. I loved the inclusion of blog posts and everything in between. The MC was loveable and wonderfully written. Well done!!

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Thank you to @Netgalley and @Atmosphere Press for providing me with an ARC of “The Lost Language of Crazy”, to read and honestly review!✨ I really enjoyed this book! From its very first pages, The Lost Language of Crazy plunges into some serious topics, and the way our narrator, P, a 13 year old girl, perceives them, how they affect her world and what they truly mean for (to) her. Her narration gave this book a truly refreshing edge; with a complex, curious and creative mind, our heroine slowly discovered her world and gave the readers the chance to see what being a writer is truly like, and in how many different ways somebody can exist as one. This book was character driven and had great representation! Mental illness, gender identify, Muslim rep, selective mutism, this book touched into some serious topics, yet all the while managed to retain its funny, engaging side. P’s humor, playful way of perceiving human life, made this read truly enjoyable. I liked the way all of the mental health issues were dealt with and most of all I loved how while reading, you felt as if you grew along with P, as she slowly navigated and explored the world she and all of us, live in! [3.5/⭐️]

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I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for an honest review The Lost Language of Crazy was a beautiful story about Penny who is currently writing a play but can't seem to find an ending that fits. She is surrounded by wonderful friends and a father but of course, feels the absence of her mother who she believes is dead. I thoroughly enjoyed several aspects of this book such as the representation of different gender identities, expectations everyone feels from society and families, the way mental health problems are dealt with and talked about in the book Although I could not fully enjoy the characterization of Zeina and her family. These characters are Muslim in the book, which could have been a wonderful chance to represent a minority community. I felt that certain aspects of their characterization were stereotypes such as Zeina being portrayed only as beautiful without her hijab and her father's anger issues. Other than that, I think the book was overall a great and extremely quick read.

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This book explores a number of serious themes - family, mental health, and identity, Written through eyes of a 13 year old Penny it takes us on a journey of her self-discovery. Each of Penny’s friends have their own struggles as they try to make sense of who they are. It is a well written book with likeable characters and some humour.

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