North of Crazy: Book summary and reviews of North of Crazy by Neltje

North of Crazy

A Memoir

by Neltje

North of Crazy by Neltje X
North of Crazy by Neltje
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About this book

Book Summary

The remarkable life of a woman born to wealth, who leaves society to make her own singular path.

Imagine a world of Gatsby-esque glamor, opulence, and cultural prestige, of exclusive parties and elegant dinners, of literary luminaries including Somerset Maugham, Daphne du Maurier, Irving Stone, and Theodore Roethke, of Manhattan townhouses and country estates. This is a world where children are raised by nannies, tutors, chauffeurs, gardeners, butlers, maids, and assorted staff, sent off to private schools - and largely ignored by their parents.

Publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday's daughter, Neltje, was raised to assume her place as a society matron. But beneath a seemingly idyllic childhood, darker currents ran: a colorful but alcoholic father whose absences left holes, a mother incapable of love, a family divided by money and power struggles, and a secret that drove the young woman into emotional isolation.

North of Crazy is her story - written with the same fierce passion, wit, and emotion that drove her off the conventional path to reconstruct her life from base zero. She became an artist, cattle rancher, and entrepreneur.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"She follows her whims and her lovers, but her often repeated fears over imitating her mother's self-absorbed parenting are superficial. 'My doubts,' she says, 'resurfaced and vanished.' She was once told that her abstract paintings made people uncomfortable; 'they scared me, too,' she writes, 'they were so in-your-face painful.' Unfortunately, she's less successful at describing that pain with words." - Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating life journey." - Booklist

"An epic and very personal memoir of riches to rags to spiritual and artistic triumph. Neltje's life story is profoundly moving - and instructive. A classic, honest, and beautifully written memoir." - Bill Henderson, editor, Pushcart Prize and author of the memoirs Tower; Cathedral; and All My Dogs

"North of Crazy is informative, passionate, compelling and extraordinarily well-written. Neltje's remarkable story captures and combines her individuality of spirit with a personal journey that will surprise and impress readers, page by page." - Lee Gutkind, Editor, Creative Nonfiction Magazine

This information about North of Crazy shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Diana P. (Schulenburg, TX)

North of Crazy
Neltje Doubleday has had a very interesting life of financial security and cultural society. Her childhood was a nightmare of abandonment by her totally dysfunctional parents. She is a survivor who had to fight everyone and everything to get what was rightfully hers. Later in life she became the most stable and successful member of her family. She is a well known artist, an entrepreneur, a rancher and most of all a strong woman who is comfortable in her own skin. She is someone I would really like to meet. Anyone who likes to see a woman find her place in life and become self sufficient will certainly enjoy reading this book and it would definitely make for good book club discussions.

Alice W. (Sacramento, CA)

North of Crazy
What is the difference between a memoir and an autobiography that reads like a novel? Whichever this is, memoir or autobiography, North is a fascinating book and reads like fiction...surely it must be fiction. No, truth once again trumps fiction.

Neltje, daughter of the owner of Doubleday experiences abuse and criminal, shocking acts at a very young age. She lives in an environment similar to Gatsby. It is all hard to comprehend for a reader and astonishing that this person could turn out to be such a loving and productive figure in her later life. She abandons all of the East coast lifestyle and moves out west where her heart is captured by openness and freedom.

A great book...don't miss it.

Sandra C. (Rensselaer, NY)

What a life
Enjoyed reading the book and feel it was well written. It is amazing that the author was able to raise a well adjusted family given the way she was raised. What a survivor, and one who went on to have a fruitful life as an artist. You can clearly see how lack of love as a child can lead to bonding issues.

Meredith K. (Hackensack, NJ)

Thanks Mom and Dad for caring
This was a heart filled true story of Neltje Doubleday of the Doubleday Publishing fortune, who as a youngster was bullied by her arrogant, opinionated, and perpetually drunk father and a mother also a drunk and narcissist who used her children, Nelson Jr and Neltje as "show pieces" to be presented to their business friends"

You cringed as you read all the details of their upbringing and the cruelties that especially Neltje had to endure.

After two disastrous marriages Neltje finally becomes "the person she was meant to be" and not the socialite her parents raised her to become.

By the end of the memoir you're rooting for Neltje and happy that she is finally at peace.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting, good read.

Linda M. (Lititz, PA)

North of Crazy
This book is a memoir written by Neltje Doubleday. She was the daughter of the founder of Doubleday Books and Doubleday Publishing. Her memoir starts as far back as she can remember as a child, daughter of a self absorbed mother and a traveling father who when was present was usually found drinking and entertaining. Neltje and her brother were raised by a governess and the household servants. She had a traumatic childhood feeling unloved and not wanted which later in adult life had a profound effect on her marriages and her decision not to stay in the family business and ended up moving to Wyoming, becoming a rancher, an expressionist painter and where she still lives today well into her 80's.

Kate E. (Troy, NY)

North of Crazy
I enjoyed the book. That is if one can enjoy a front row seat into another person's life. Perhaps it's better to say I was engaged by it. Neltje is a complex woman and her writing reflects this. The book reads slowly, almost tentatively, when she is recounting difficult, tragic times of her life.. It's ever with self-pity or even regret. A longing perhaps for what wasn't. When she's in love with life, her children, a man, her art, the story practically skips with lightness. The books reads like life. The sad taking it time to pass, the good moving at light speed.. An unusual book about a strong, sensitive and brilliant human being. Definitely worth the read, maybe a few times. As with her art, the book challenges it's reader to find how it fits into their own life. Bravo Neltje. Bravo.

...19 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Neltje

Neltje is an abstract expressionist painter. She has had solo exhibitions at the University of Wyoming Art Museum and Yellowstone Art Museum among others, and galleries in Miami, Denver, and Chattanooga. In 2005 she received the Wyoming Governor's Art Award. Neltje has endowed the Neltje Blanchan Award for the best nature writer in Wyoming, The Frank Nelson Doubleday Award for the best woman writer in Wyoming, as well as the Jentel Foundation Artist Residency Program. She lives in Wyoming.

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