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Crazy Audiobook

Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness

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Publisher's Summary

Pete Earley had no idea. He'd been a journalist for over 30 years, and the author of several award-winning, even best-selling, nonfiction books about crime and punishment and society. Yet he'd always been on the outside looking in. He had no idea what it was like to be on the inside looking out until his son, Mike, was declared mentally ill, and Earley was thrown headlong into the maze of contradictions, disparities, and catch-22s that is America's mental health system.

The more Earley dug, the more he uncovered the bigger picture: our nation's prisons have become our new mental hospitals. Crazy tells two stories. The first is his son's. The second describes what Earley learned during a year-long investigation inside the Miami-Dade County jail, where he was given complete, unrestricted access. There, and in the surrounding community, he shadowed inmates and patients; interviewed correctional officers, public defenders, prosecutors, judges, mental-health professionals, and the police; talked with parents, siblings, and spouses; consulted historians, civil rights lawyers, and legislators.

The result is both a remarkable piece of investigative journalism, and a wake-up call; a portrait that could serve as a snapshot of any community in America.

©2006 Pete Earley; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc

What the Critics Say

"Parents of the mentally ill should find solace and food for thought in its pages." (Publishers Weekly)
"Crazy is a godsend. It will open the minds of many who make choices for the mentally ill." (Patty Duke)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    elle 07-27-16
    elle 07-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A smartly written expose on a harrowing part of the human condition"

    Pete Early does a phenomenal job intertwining his personal story with mental illness through his son's diagnosis, struggles, and bout with hospitalization and the legal system with a journalistic investigation on the many tenants of the nexus between civil rights, medical care, the penal system, and the mentally ill. This book does a great job acknowledging and indeed exposing the many players involved in our society vis a vis the mentally ill, and gives a voice to what is arguably the most forgotten and underrepresented part of our population- the mentally ill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ray Pacheco florida 07-11-16
    Ray Pacheco florida 07-11-16 Member Since 2016
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    "an inside look at a fathers fear of the unknown"

    this book open my eyes to the struggle that all members of society are faced in a daily basis. all looking at each other for an answer to mental illness. but without resolve.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ferrell Foster Texas 04-05-16
    Ferrell Foster Texas 04-05-16 Member Since 2014
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    "superb and important"

    Words cannot express my appreciation for this book. More people should read it and understand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Rachel COLUMBUS, OH, United States 11-21-15
    Rachel COLUMBUS, OH, United States 11-21-15 Member Since 2016

    I read all sorts of books from various non-fiction to YA fantasy. Love them all!

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    "Heart-breaking"

    When Pete Earley's son was diagnosed with schizophrenia Earley was devestated. His son's potential career was on the line, he wasn't willing to accept treatment, and he was generally unpredictable and very unsafe. When Earley tried to get his son into the hospital, his son was turned away because he didn't want to be treated - and laws say that unless someone is an immediate threat to himself or others, he can not be treated involuntarily. Earley had to pretend his son was a threat to Earley's well-being to get his son hospitalized. Then Earley went to a commitment hearing to make sure his son stayed in the hospital until he was better. Early was appalled by his son's defense lawyer who did her best to defend Earley's son despite his son's clear mental illness. In her own defense, the lawyer said it was her job to defend the rights of someone who did not want to be committed. Earley's son won the case and was released.

    After this incident, Earley's son broke into a house, peed on the carpet, turned over the all the photographs, and took a bubble bath. He was arrested and charges were filed against him by the family. Despite Earley's pleading with the family that his son was not targeting them specifically, that he was sick, the mother felt threatened and continued to press felony charges. Earley knew that the charges would be an irremovable bar from his son's career choice.

    Because of the horrors of being unable to treat his son, and the unfairness of the charges, Earley decided to research the state of the mentally ill in the Miami jail system. There are, according to the staff psychiatrist, "a lot of people who think mentally ill people are going to get help if they are in jail. But the truth is, we don't help many people here with their psychosis. We can't. The first priority is making sure no one kills himself." The psychiatrist said that the point of the prison was to dehumanize and humiliate a person. Such treatment is counter to improving anyone's health.

    Early did a fantastic job of reporting the horrors of how mentally ill are treated in prison, and about the money wasted due to unnecessarily lengthy time in jail without trial, and high recidivism rate.

    Fantastic narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Elizabeth 03-31-15
    Elizabeth 03-31-15
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    "Great Book!"
    If you could sum up Crazy in three words, what would they be?

    I learned so much from this book and I have found myself referencing it repeatedly in conversations with people regarding mental health treatment. Pete Earley beautifully captures the struggles of having a family member with mental illness and in the same book provides a thorough historical depiction of mental health treatment in the USA. He accurately explains that jails have become the new mental health institutions and proposes new ways to approach how we manage chronically mentally ill adults.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Crazy?

    Pete Early talks about the importance of seeing the humanity in everyone including homeless adults. He encourages the reader to understand mental illness and give a homeless person the dignity and respect to look them in the eyes. I think of this every time I am at a light and I look up and see a homeless person asking for money.


    Any additional comments?

    Bravo! Outstanding book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Starlet 06-23-14
    Starlet 06-23-14

    100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.

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    "A poor system that father had to find out about"

    I read this in March 2007 and felt that this book was an eye opener -- I mean, even if you know what happened in the Reagan years, with the closing down of the mental institutions and the eventual flow of these people to the streets as homeless with no place to go except jail, maybe family if they are lucky, and back to the street-- reading this book really brought a reality check for me as to how it works (or, rather, doesn't)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Edward Victorville, CA, United States 06-24-13
    Edward Victorville, CA, United States 06-24-13

    I have been married to the same wonderful wife for over 27 years and have two adult children, out of the house, that are married, working, and doing well.

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    "Mental Illness and The System"
    Where does Crazy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Crazy ranks high in all the audiobooks that I have listened to on the subject of mental illness, because I suffer from Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type and this book gave me insight on how others see me in my different phases of this illness and why I should keep taking my medication.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    J. Simonton Texas, USA 01-29-13
    J. Simonton Texas, USA 01-29-13 Member Since 2012

    Fun Happens

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    "A great read for anyone with an ill loved one"
    Would you listen to Crazy again? Why?

    Yes, the book gives so much great information on how our nation treats the mentally ill. Listening to this book made me so much more empathetic to my ow loved one with a mental illness. The author did a great job showing the frustration that America's mentally ill and their families face everyday.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator is a bit dry at times. Although the subject is not really a fun one, I felt the narrator was a little too stern at times.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No. The book is more informational than human interest story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Missy 11-18-10
    Missy 11-18-10 Member Since 2012

    Audiobook & podcast Junkie. I'm that annoying person who you see wearing earbuds 24/7.

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    "Insightful, Scary....also one-sided"

    From the very beginning the author admits that his point of view is skewed. His son has been diagnosed with a a mental illness and, in an attempt to help him navigate his disease, he sets out to examine the way our justice system handles the (my description - not his) "criminally insane". Although he describes horrific conditions, ridiculous laws, and inadequate treatment options it doesn't seem he offers anything in the way of solutions. What I took from this is, society should be more tolerant of incredibly dangerous and violent schizophrenics, and also be willing to provide them everything they need: food, shelter, intensive therapy and and endless combination of the latest drugs. Toward the end he seems disappointed communities fought having a ALF (assisted-living facility) literally filled with murderers in their neighborhoods. One resident killed an ENTIRE FAMILY! Despite that, I enjoyed the book and the narration was excellent.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful

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