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What a meeting we had on Monday. Crime & Beyond met to discuss Lisa Unger’s Crazy Love You. Some of us crazy loved it and some of us just thought the author was crazy. I don’t know if we were still hyped up from being in the presence of a murderer on Saturday night or what, but we had a lively discussion and a lot of trash talk.

Dennis led the discussion and found an interesting tidbit about the author that we didn’t know. Apparently she attended The New School, which is a private university in NYC and has some of the most famous alumni you’ll find: Eleanor Roosevelt, Jack Kerouac, Mario Puzo, Tennessee Williams, Donna Karan, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Smith, and Dr. Ruth – just to name a few. Pat and Jay, who both hail from New Jersey, had heard of the college, but most of us were oblivious. What an interesting factoid, and what a creative and famous group of people to all go through one school.

So now to the book. Crazy Love You was about a guy who wrote a comic book called Fatboy & Priss. He was Fatboy, albeit slimmed down as an adult, and Priss, the red-headed demonic friend was either A. a figment of his imagination, B. his other personality, or C. a ghost. Many of us weren’t expecting the turn to woo-woo. Some rolled with it and some rebelled. Here’s what we thought:

At the high end of the scoring spectrum sat Sharon Long, who Skyped in from Divide (10), Judy (9.99), and Dennis and Jay (8). Jeff, Denise, Lorraine and Kerry all went with a 7. On the low end of the line, Dave was waving the flag of freedom (as in freedom from having to read any more about Fatboy or Priss). As the leader of this pack, Dave gave the book a big, fat, round zero. He offered to give it a .01 if it had been written as a fantasy story (which is why Judy went with 9.99, because 9.99 plus .01 = 10) but alas it wasn’t. So the 0 stands. Pat, Cindy, Chris K., and Amy were right down the middle with a 5, but Kim came in with a 3, drawn to the flag Dave was waving no doubt.

The Unger fans gave such high scores because they loved the back and forth of: is Priss real or isn’t she. Dennis thought Ian was a well-developed character. Judy couldn’t put it down and Sharon L. love, love, loved it. I liked that the author created a book within a book when she had Ian writing Fatboy and Priss. The Unger haters took the back and forth, real versus unreal, and said it was confusing and hard to follow. Kim just thought it was boring.

We had a lot of fractions going on for some reason. I was a little lost, I mean it WAS a Monday. I try to stay away from math until at least Wednesday, and even then I try to work in whole numbers. But Denise broke it down that she didn’t like the first third, but then by the last third she did. Janice (who gave the book a fractional 4.2) broke the book down into halves. For the first half she couldn’t care less. And by the second half she thought Ian was one sick puppy. Or was that the author? Pat thought, in the first third, that Ian was sweet and misunderstood. By the second third she knew something was wrong with him. By the last third she knew he was downright crazy.

Many of us thought that the Mom took the blame for drowning her daughter but didn’t actually commit the crime. Some thought Ian had done it and some thought Priss. We couldn’t agree on whether or not it was Ian, dressed in the Fatboy mask, who pushed Megan on the train tracks.

We felt the needs to call out those dreaded two words: Unreliable Narrator. Dun, dun, duuuuun. Most of us agreed that Unger writes well, I think the low scores were more a function of the story going a way we didn’t want (into the great woo-woo). Sharon K. was a DNR and I think she will parlay that into a WNR (Will Never Read) after listening to the discussion.

Jay pointed out that the author didn’t really make it 100% clear what Priss was, and left it for the reader to decide. Sharon L. likened this to that Linwood Barclay book, where we weren’t sure if the boy was a murderer or not. Since she emailed the author to ask him that question, she also took on the task of emailing Lisa Unger to ask a few questions. #1 to explain what she really intended Priss to be, and #2 to explain the typeface changes. Lorraine pointed out that not only were the comic book (excuse me, graphic novel) parts in italics, but other dialogue was also written this way, but in a random manner. Since we all agree that Lisa Unger is as Cray-Cray as Ian, we know that it was intentional. And Sharon will try to find out what it all means.

The slap vote went to Megan with a score of 7. The reason: for hitching her wagon to Ian, aka Fatboy, and getting mixed up in his battle with Priss, whatever she was. I do want to mention, though, that Ro…um….Dave got 5 slaps. Those of us who enjoyed the book thought it would be fun to slap him for his 0 vote.

Thanks to Denise for the wonderful fruit scones, I saw many people going up for seconds and thirds, you know who you are.

Next month we’re reading The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood. If I recall correctly, this is a new author for us. The meeting will be right after Easter, on March 28th. I will lead the discussion and Lorraine is bringing snacks.

See you then!

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