What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, by Pearl Cleage, is a novel about Ava Johnson's personal battles dealing with what life has dealt her; being a successful black woman, with HIV. Ava's life is transformed when she discovers that her glitzy Atlanta lifestyle can no longer continue. She is forces to close her hair salon because of the fear of the public towards her. Her plan was vague, to stop for the summer at her sister's, and then find a new life in California. Deciding to leave her Atlanta home and return to her childhood home of Idlewild represents her compete movement in thought and values regarding love, family, and the future. But her "temporary" stay in Idlewild became the longest year of life changing events ever.
Never before have I read a book written with such smart dialog and no-boundaries frankness. Pearl Cleage is not afraid to put every thought of the character, including perceptions of everything from sex to the aroma of a cup of tea. This realistic writing style is needed to address the very modern day dilemmas encountered by a black woman facing the world's ignorance to the HIV virus. An example of blatant ignorance is when she has the Idlewild pharmacist fill her prescription and held her pills, "like it might explode if he jiggled too hard." (Cleage 110) Ava's fears of death put her in a battle with herself about whether she should allow herself to fall in love with Eddie, a family friend she has known forever. And only to add to Ava's inner-commotion, her sister (a widow) adopts an abandoned HIV-positive, cocaine addicted baby girl named Imani. Ava's maternal instincts began to kick in. Though Imani was young, Ava sees so much of herself and her own future in Imani. For so long, as a single woman, she has been able to sit back and watch the world twist and turn, but now there was more at stake. She was now a part of something. A family.
"We all laughed, but in the middle of it, I realized I'm not going to be...
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