“Exquisite. Full of wry humor, tenderness, and compassion.” —Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author
A hilarious and heartbreaking memoir about a mother and son’s outlandish odyssey of self-discovery, and the rag-tag community that rallied to help them when they needed it most.
Dan Mathews knew that his witty, bawdy seventy-eight year-old mother, Perry, was unable to maintain her fierce independence—so he flew her across the country to Virginia to live with him in an 1870 townhouse badly in need of repairs. But to Dan, a screwdriver is a cocktail not a tool, and he was soon overwhelmed with two fixer-uppers: the house and his mother.
Unbowed, Dan and Perry built a rollicking life together fueled by costume parties, road trips, and an unshakeable sense of humor as they faced down hurricanes, blizzards, and Perry’s steady decline. They got by with the help of an ever-expanding circle of sidekicks—Dan’s boyfriends (past and present), ex-cons, sailors, strippers, deaf hillbillies, evangelicals, and grumpy cats—while flipping the parent-child relationship on its head.
But it wasn’t until a kicking-and-screaming trip to the emergency room that Dan discovered the cause of his mother’s unpredictable, often caustic behavior: undiagnosed schizophrenia.
Irreverent and emotionally powerful, Like Crazy is a “journey to self-acceptance and ultimately finding love” (Alan Cumming) and shows the remarkable growth that takes place when a wild child settles down to care for the wild woman who raised him.
Mathews (Committed), a PETA executive, lovingly and hilariously recounts sharing his Portsmouth, Va., Victorian house with Perry, his ailing 79-year-old mother. In 2008, the 46-year-old party- and travel-loving Mathews moves his manic depressive mother in, despite being hesitant about their relationship and his romantic future ("Who'll want a frantic vegan with a bad back, a deaf mother who hears voices, and a nineteenth-century money pit with an underwater mortgage?"). But the arrangement is a joyful one for a couple years: Mathews still dates except now it's not party boys, but "men who love Home Depot" and meets Jack, who's just coming out after years of marriage and eventually joins the household. Then Perry experiences a psychotic breakdown and is treated for previously undetected schizophrenia. She eventually tells Mathews and Jack that "I have to go... I just wish I could keep going awhile longer now." Perry, who had always dreamed of being a ballerina, dies just before Christmas 2012, and Mathews spreads her ashes in the snow outside of a local Nutcracker performance. Mathews conveys potentially heavy and gut-wrenching family crises with page-turning style and heaps of wit. This tender, beautifully written celebration of familial love will resonate with readers.