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North of Crazy

A Memoir

by Neltje

North of Crazy by Neltje X
North of Crazy by Neltje
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  • Published Oct 2016
    288 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Page 2 of 4
There are currently 25 member reviews
for North of Crazy
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  • Marcia C. (Jeffersonville, PA)
    Neltje Doubleday: A Life Reconstructed
    I had never heard of Neltje until I opened this book. And then, there she was--the daughter of a prominent publisher, a child desperately wanting to be loved, a wife and mother trying to live according to the rules of a society she never felt part of, and, finally, a woman who took her life in her own two hands and created the life she had always envisioned for herself. Neltje's journey was populated with many prominent authors, artists and people of renown. She lived her life on a wide stage.

    Neltje was born into a very wealthy family. Her father was an alcoholic. Her mother was an enabler who believed that men should always win and women should stay in the background. Neltje was not a "stay in the background" kind of girl! She stood up for what she believed, no matter the opposition. She was fiercely determined. After years of searching for her unique "voice" she found herself in Wyoming where she discovered the space to develop her artistic expression and as an extra bonus learned how to manage a restaurant!

    I found Neltje fascinating, flaws and all. I loved that she threw herself into whatever situation loomed ahead of her with grit and determination. Her memoir paints her as a woman who lived her life--the great times, the dark times, and all the in-between times--to the fullest.

    I'm suggesting this book to my book club. Neltje certainly gives a clear description of a woman's situation in the 50"s and 60"s and it's a far cry from where women find themselves today. It was inspiring to me to see what she was able to accomplish for herself. Good read!
  • Dona H. (Muskegon, MI)
    Poor little rich girl?
    Seventy-eight year old Neltje's memoir starts with a miserable childhood rich in privilege but poor in familial attention and love. An excellent writer, she is at her best when conveying her love of the natural world and her mature development as an artist, contributor to her Wyoming community, and mother. Her inherited wealth gave her entry to a very interesting life; however, the book might have held more interest without so many name-dropping anecdotes.
  • Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)
    Money can't buy happiness...
    North of Crazy was not an easy read for several reasons. The setting, moving between a plantation and the East coast, sounded almost like something out of the Great Gatsby era, with incredibly wealthy lifestyles and very unhappy people. Neltje was born into a life of privilege as far as money and status as a Doubleday publishing heir were concerned, but had an incredibly unhappy childhood due to alcoholic parents who clearly favored her brother, Nelson. Add sexual abuse by a family friend to the mix and you have all the makings of years of psychiatric counseling. I confess that reading about her early life was very difficult, but once she started standing up for herself I really got into the story. She deserves a lot of credit for creating a meaningful life as a mother, artist, and entrepreneur. The story has meaning, but is related in a somewhat disjointed style.
  • Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)
    North of Crazy
    I found this somewhat difficult to get into because of the writing style and the almost excessive relating of minor details in chapters on the author's early childhood. But I'm glad I kept going - it became a fascinating tale of publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday's behind-the-scenes family life with the continuous overshadowing of money and power conflicts and the effects on each family member. And a wonder that Neltje evolved into the fierce independent and creative person she became who forged a completely different lifestyle from that of a society matron that would have been expected (and probably preferred by her family).
  • Carol R. (Manchester, NH)
    A life well lived
    I read this book about the trials and tribulations of a woman born into a moneyed publishing family who endured without the one thing that she needed - maternal love which was to have a profound effect in her life from childhood on. I did enjoy reading this book with all the people and place references that it contained and rejoiced in that she became stronger in spite of her unrequited longing.

    Inasmuch as her sense of duty clashes with the deep resentment she feels for her mother's many years of absence, neglect, and drinking, she put it all aside to care for her in her final days.
  • My Book Self
    Inspiring Memoir
    I found Neltje's story incredibly uplifting and inspiring. A woman finding peace and healing through her art and her adopted home of Wyoming. Despite her wealth and name she was not immune to heavy challenges. Possessing a gift of self awareness she was determined to conquer her issues and strive for betterment. Suffering numerous setbacks throughout her life, she finally finds her authentic self and inner peace. An unflappable woman in the worst of times, she manages to claw her way out of sticky predicaments, learning from mistakes and of others underhanded actions. Demonstrating strength, independence while striving to be the best she can be, Neltje is testament anything is possible when you discover who you are and what you want, self validation despite trials and tribulations endured.

    Insightfully candid, well written memoir of a fascinating, courageous and complicated woman appealing to my feminist core.

    Including photographs of Neltje's art would have been lovely.
  • Mary G. (Knoxville, TN)
    North of Crazy, the fascinating memoir of Wyoming abstract artist Neltje Doubleday Savage Kings, granddaughter of Frank N. Doubleday and an heiress to the Doubleday fortune, reveals how Neltje achieved her present status as an artist and fulfilled her suppressed but internalized childhood goals for life: a loving family, freedom from her assigned and expected way of life, and self-fulfillment through her chosen form of communication.

    Uncomfortable as an accomplished female member of New York publishing-world society, Neltje moved to Wyoming at age 30 and explored various forms of art, as well as running a working ranch, remodeling a historic hotel and managing it as a restaurant, all while raising two children with the love and care which was denied her in a limited and abusive childhood.

    Neltje is an intriguing woman who exhibits surprising abilities, strength, integrity and soundness of character, despite the lack of supportive love and exemplary guidance from the adults in her past life. Her story is told without self-pity for the hard-knocks or boastfulness for her successes. More of the emotions and reasons for some of her choices would enhance the readers' perspective. However, the story of this admirable woman comes through strongly despite the somewhat disorganized nature of the text. This book will be of interest to many because of the universal themes: the search for love and family; a woman's fight for recognition in a world of successful men; the desire for personal control of one's own life; and the successful use of a medium which resonates with people to express emotions and feelings.

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