Review: Stay Crazy

Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book definitely sticks to its title. Our protagonist is suffering from a few mental ailments and they play into the story in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it leaves us with an unreliable narrator. Other times it appears to give the narrator the ability to have a greater understanding of the world around her compared to the “normal” folks around her.

Overall, the story is a parody of Walmart and it’s “‘Murica” ethos. The corporation expects the workers to not only do their jobs, but also to sing the company jingle each morning and display a loyalty for the company out of balance with the job the person is being asked to do. Thrown into this almost cult-like situation is our protagonist who is suffering from, among other things, seeing and hearing things that aren’t there. She starts to hear that she needs to do something to save the world and it’s not immediately clear to the reader or our protagonist whether or not this is actually happening. Together with this situation is a juxtaposition of churches (although I’m unsure if the author means all churches or smaller, more cult-like churches) and televangelists. I’m not sure if this part of the story is merely to serve as a mirror to the situation going on a the not-Walmart or to serve as a red herring.

The only thing that marred the book for me a little is that sometimes it seemed as though characters abruptly changed conversation context and I wasn’t sure if this was
a) supernatural
b) our protagonist seeing something that wasn’t there
c) something that made sense to our author and their editors, but not to me.

For example, the protagonist will be arguing with her mother and seem to leave the room for just one second and her mother is glued to the TV rather than noticing her reentering the room. Or, at one point, after the mother has insisted throughout the book that she’s only worried about our main character, when the protagonist wants to speak to her mother, the mother says it’s not a good time because the news is on.

This book is a wild ride, but it’s a pretty quick read. Minus the trigger warnings I mention below, I’d recommend just about anyone give it a chance if they want to read something a little off the beaten path. By about a quarter of the way through the book you’ll either be interested enough or know it’s not for you.

trigger warnings: character with many psychological issues, suicides (attempted and completed)

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