Summary and book reviews of Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave

A Memoir

by Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo X
Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 176 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2013, 176 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. She attended an Indian arts boarding school, where she nourished an appreciation for painting, music, and poetry; gave birth while still a teenager; and struggled on her own as a single mother, eventually finding her poetic voice. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice. Harjo's tale of a hardscrabble youth, young adulthood, and transformation into an award-winning poet and musician is haunting, unique, and visionary.

EAST

East is the direction of beginnings. It is sunrise. When beloved Sun rises, it is an entrance, a door to fresh knowledge. Breathe the light in. Call upon the assistance you need for the day. Give thanks.
East is how the plants, animals, and other beings orient themselves for beginnings, to open and blossom. The spirit of the day emerges from the sunrise point. East is also the direction of Oklahoma, where I was born, the direction of the Creek Nation.

Once I was so small I could barely see over the top of the back seat of the black Cadillac my father bought with his Indian oil money. He polished and tuned his car daily. I wanted to see everything.

This was around the time I acquired language, when something happened that changed my relationship to the spin of the world. It changed even the way I looked at the sun.

This suspended integer of time probably escaped ordinary notice in my parents' universe, which informed most of my vision in the ordinary world. They ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Harjo moves through her history in an admirably concise fashion. Memories, happy and painful, are related in spare, honest sentences; no words are wasted. Her deep love for and spiritual connection with the arts are obvious, though this book emphasizes language, story, and poetry above dance, music, and painting. It is clear that these creative pursuits and the "knowing" - her Native American subconscious connection to the spiritual/eternal - were her saviors during cycles of abuse, fear and panic.   (Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie).

Full Review (418 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Los Angeles Review of Books
Harjo is as raw and honest in her memoir as she is in her poetry... Harjo is the Muscogee/Creek word meaning reckless in battle, or crazy brave. It is a good name and one she has earned.

San Francisco Chronicle
Poets of every persuasion will surely be riveted by the intensely raw and yet carefully crafted personal poems that Harjo includes here...

Library Journal
Winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle, poet/performer Harjo writes verse suffused with spiritual concern, sociopolitical hunger, and evidence of her Muskogee Creek heritage.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Faced with the choice of submitting to despair or becoming 'crazy brave,' she found the courage to reclaim a lost spirituality as well as the 'intricate and metaphorical language of my ancestors.' A unique, incandescent memoir.

Jaclyn Fulwood, Infinite Reads
Slim of spine but lush with Harjo's trademark singing imagery, this raw and radiant coming-of-age story invites readers to 'breathe the light in' and discover their own hidden capabilities.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)

Chartered in 1962 under the John F. Kennedy administration, the Institute of American Indian Arts is still educating young Native American artists in Santa Fe, New Mexico. IAIA The school boasts numerous notable Native professors, faculty, staff, visiting artists, scholars and alumni, including Joy Harjo, Dan Namingha, Fritz Scholder, David Bradley, Doug Hyde, Allan Houser, Charles Loloma, Otellie Loloma, Earl Biss, T.C. Cannon, Sheldon Peters Wolfchild, Darren Vigil Gray, and Sherwin Bitsui.

According to the IAIA website, it is "the only four-year degree fine arts institution in the nation devoted to contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts." The college grants associate's and bachelor's degrees as well as two one-year ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Crazy Brave, try these:

  • Tango Lessons jacket

    Tango Lessons

    by Meghan Flaherty

    Published 2018

    About this book

    From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut memoir about a young woman learning to dance tango, becoming comfortable in her own skin and in the arms of others.

  • The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street jacket

    The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

    by Susan J. Gilman

    Published 2015

    About this book

    In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. No sooner than they land does Malka find herself crippled - and yet survives to shape her own destiny.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Educated
    Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Voted 2018 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Tara Westover had the kind of ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Voted 2018 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Towards the end of Madeline Miller...
  • Book Jacket: Children of Blood and Bone
    Children of Blood and Bone
    by Tomi Adeyemi
    Voted 2018 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What would you do if, in a ...
  • Book Jacket: Where the Crawdads Sing
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    by Delia Owens
    Voted 2018 Best Debut Novel Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Where the Crawdads Sing was a ...

See all Award Winners & Top 20

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Winter Soldier
by Daniel Mason

A story of war and medicine, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and of the mistakes we make.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim

    Two sisters grow up bound by family but separated by war; inspired by a true story.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of
Evelyn Hardcastle

"Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day...quite unlike anything I've ever read." - A. J. Finn

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.