MARGERY PICKS AND PANS: BOOK REVIEW

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 Crazy: A Creative and Personal Look at Mental Illness

By Michael Hanna and Tami Leino Hanna

Crazy book cover

Copyright 2012

Winner of the Colorado Book Awards

 

Available on the website:  www.adamsplacecrazy.org

Or by mail:  Send a check for $33.00 for the book + shipping to:

Adams Place  (make check out to Adams Place)

7931 S. Broadway  #339

Littleton, CO  80122

 

From the Frontispiece:

“Give me a 16” x 24” newsprint pad, bold permanent markers, soft oil pastels and we’ll go to town.”

“That was our motto, our modus operandi, and that’s how Crazy got started.  We are Adams Place, and this is our book.”

“Crazy is a collection, or a collage, of expressions through art that give an inside view of living with mental illness.  Four years in the making, Crazy includes hundreds of pieces of art and text from more than 150 artists and authors – all of them impacted by mental illness in one way or another.  The book is divided into eight sections, where these creative and personal pieces are supplemented by facts, figures, and general information relevant to the particular kind of mental illness being presented:

BIPOLAR

SUICIDE

SCHIZOPHRENIA

OCD

EATING DISORDERS

ADHD/ADD

TRAUMA

RECOVERY

As it seems most crazy people are artists of some kind, we decided art could be a starting point to fight the fear of stigma and step out to use our voices.  We came to understand we aren’t victims.  We aren’t alone – with treatment and support, we can live full and purposeful lives.  We are exceptional people with individual talents beyond the scope of normal.  We are characters.  Artists, writers!  Poets!  Friends, parents, lovers, teachers, mentors.  We are you.”

How I came to read this book:

As many of you know, I lead (with help from many!) the SA group in Denver, which has been in existence since September of 2005.

I don’t remember exactly when Tami, Michael and Matt showed up in our SA group.  They just kind of appeared one night, and seemed as if they had always been there.  We were glad to have them, and their creative and positive energies in the group.  They have been coming regularly ever since.

One night, Michael said that they had written a book.  A writer of sorts myself, I was curious and asked if I could see it.  Well, Michael then whipped out a copy of the book!  It was bright and colorful and bursting with energy, if a book can do that.  I immediately ordered a copy.  I sit down with the book every now and then and am amazed by the talent it represents.  It well deserves the award from the Colorado Book Awards.  There is probably no other book just like it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

This is not a book that you sit down and read all the way through.  It is a book that you pick up from time to time and look through and appreciate the art, the writings, the vignettes of information about mental illness.  But the book is not just about mental illness, it is about recovery and talent, and reminds us of the great contributions made to society by those with the unfortunate stigma of mental illness.  The book is a bright and colorful testament to recovery and to life.

I don’t just like this book, I love it!

I pick this book, thumbs up!

Definitely, you should have a copy for your library, and to read and cherish!

–Margery Wakefield

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