Crazy Love


I am your fellow writer and long time fan. I recently dug up and re-read Crazy Love and wanted to let you know I found it as powerful and moving as I did the first time I read it many years ago. With more years under my own belt, I can appreciate even more the sensitivity and self-awareness you brought to that book. I especially appreciated the part where you wrote your in-laws detailed letters including your analysis of the origins of Ted’s problems, expecting to receive heartfelt apologies. Been there! Done that! Wow, it takes a lifetime to figure out how people actually behave, doesn’t it?

I also found it interesting how you suffered a certain PTSD after the experience, how honest you were in pointing out that just because you’d finally extricated yourself from the situation didn’t mean your own brain hadn’t been affected. I’m currently in a similar situation, and it’s reassuring to be reminded that eventually healing will occur.

The other book of yours that I will never forget may have been called A String of Chances? Where the baby dies of crib death, making the protagonist question everything she’s been told about religion? One of the most memorable of all the many young adult books I encountered as I was writing my own.

One thing that amazes me is how a book, within its pages, remains fresh to the reader as they experience it for the first time or again after the passage of time. You’ve been so prolific, Phyllis, I’m sure this must bring you great satisfaction.

I’m so glad you found a good husband and went on to have such a brilliant career after all you went through in your early marriage. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person!

Phyllis replied:

What a lovely letter, and thank you so much.  I’m terribly sorry to hear that you are going through a similar experience.  Some of those events send chills through me even now.  Yes, “A String of Chances” was just as you remembered.  I had read a newspaper article about a non-religious young couple who had made their home in a small mountain community, and lost their precious baby to crib death.  It affected me so that I felt I had to “live it” with them, and much of what I put in the book about the baby’s burial was the way it really happened.  And somehow that memorial service they held for it so offended a parent that he petitioned the school board to remove the book from the library. They refused, so he signed the book out and never returned it.  Of course, I sent them another copy.  Best of luck to you in your current situation.  My guess is that somehow you will find it useful in your writing, painful as that may be, but also rewarding in the emotional release.

Posted on: December 1, 2016


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