Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Don't Want To Be Crazy, by Samantha Schutz

In verse form, Schutz tells her story of discovering that she has an anxiety disorder which goes through phases of being utterly uncontrollable. It isn't all bad, but when it is, it's pretty harrowing. In between, she has time to go to college, make friends, find love, lose love, and travel in France. But always, the story (and her life) comes back to her anxiety.

It's an interesting story, and made very direct through the verse form. But free verse writing is tricky business and this is a fairly weak example of it. Here it is used in many ways to avoid going into any great reflective depth. Instead, just as she is approaching a deep personal truth or a revealing moment, she just shuts off. So, instead, we are subjected to countless woes again and again and again. By the end of the story, we really are back where we started (a point that she acknowledges explicitly) but unlike what the jacket claims, we really don't get much of a sense of growth. And that really seems to be the point of the whole thing.

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