Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Crazy As Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde


Crazy As Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde
Published by MacAdam / Cage Publishing in March 2002.

How I got this book:
Bought at a charity shop

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Izzy’s eccentric, complicated mother committed suicide on her forty-first birthday. Now, on the night before Izzy herself is to turn forty-one, she struggles with the realization that she will be older than her mother ever was. And to make matters worse, her widowed father, unstable sister Ellie, and precocious niece have decided to accompany her to Colorado for what promises to be an emotionally charged weekend. As Izzy is flooded with memories from her past and wonders about her future, she must face a choice that could break her family apart.

I was lucky to spot this novel in a '3 for 99p' book box outside AgeUK in Stokesley (in 2015). I picked up two Anne Tyler paperbacks plus Crazy As Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde. Hyde's previous bestseller, The Abortionist's Daughter, is one I was sure I had read and enjoyed, but couldn't remember anything about it and it's not on my Goodreads so ... ?

In Crazy As Chocolate we meet Izzy who is about to celebrate her 41st birthday. She's only a year older than I was then so I could identify with her. What we do not have in common though is a bipolar mother who committed suicide on her 41st birthday. Izzy is dreading the day, even more so when her plans for a quiet break with husband Gabe are disrupted by the last-minute arrival of her father, sister and niece. With this hothouse situation set up, Hyde explores both the adult recriminations over what happened 28 years ago and takes her readers back to when the sisters were children, viewing events through their eyes.

For such a potentially heavy subject, I felt this was a surprisingly light read. Izzy's sister, Ellie, is probably the most defined character and the absent mother, Mimi, is an ethereal presence. Father, Hugh, is a good creation as an elderly man but, again, came across hazily in the historical sections. Issues such as whether bipolar disorders are hereditary are touched upon and much is made of Izzy's childlessness although I didn't actually get a sense of longing from her which seemed to contradict the text. I did like Crazy As Chocolate as a diversion on a rainy day. It doesn't make heavy demands on its reader and is fairly short at 243 pages. I would be interested in deeper fiction on the same topic, but for 33p this book was fine.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Elisabeth Hyde / Women's fiction / Books from America

18 comments:

  1. I'm trying to clear the pile from charity shops that I picked up last year!

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    1. One economical reason for our travelling life is that it keeps me hundreds of miles from charity shop bookshelves ;-)

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  2. Sounds like a couple of heavy subjects to read through in this one.

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    1. Yes, heavy topics but Hyde managed quite a light touch

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  3. I like that mental health is a big element and family. I have to be in the mood, but I think I'd like this one especially since it was light and fast. :)

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    1. Yes, I wasn't expecting it to be so light from the synopsis but I think it still does justice to the issues raised.

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  4. You wouldn't think that this would be a light book but I really like that it was. Sounds pretty interesting.

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  5. The synopsis made it sound like this one was going to be such a dark and depressing read but it turns out it was more light hearted and I am glad for that! I liked that you were able to enjoy it and some of the themes. But it just sounds okay to me.

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    1. It was a three-star middley for me. I'd read more Hyde if I strumbled across a book, but wouldn't go searching them out

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  6. Replies
    1. It's rare to see creative covers that only use lettering :-)

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  7. As a member of a family with many bipolar members, I can tell you that it can def. run in families!

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    1. ... I am a little uncomfortable with the word 'crazy' in the title though. It feels trivialising.

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    2. Coincidentally I thought about your potential reaction to the word when I transferred this review over from my other blog. The book itself is 16 years old and I don't think there was any awareness back then

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    3. Meh *shrugs* different people have different opinions on 'crazy' - it's context that I look at, and I'm just not sure about the context here. (Also, glad that I obliged your expectations! Lol.)

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    4. It's thanks to Dora Reads that I notice language use like this now.

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    5. *makes embarrassing happy noises*! XD

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