Authors Showcase: Crazy Is Normal by Lloyd Lofthouse
December 8, 2014
The Book: Crazy Is Normal
The Author: Lloyd Lofthouse
The Story: “Readers who envision eager students lapping up learning led by a Tiger Teacher will be disappointed. Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world.
While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.
Throughout this journal, though, Lofthouse seems able to keep the hope alive that there’s a future for each student that doesn’t include jail—thanks in large part to his sixth period journalism class and its incredible editor, Amanda.” – Bruce Reeves
About Lloyd Lofthouse:
Little did Lloyd Lofthouse know in 1999, when he married Anchee Min, that he was beginning a journey of discovery. His first trip to The Middle Kingdom was on the honeymoon with his bride, who introduced him to China and Robert Hart (1835-1911), the main characters in Lloyd’s first two novels, My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. The next decade was a journey of discovery. Lloyd now lives near San Francisco with his wife–with a second home in Shanghai, China.
Lloyd earned a BA in journalism in 1973 after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. While working days as an English teacher, he enjoyed a second job as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub. His short story, A Night at the ‘Well of Purity’ was named as a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.
Review by Ruth A. Hill:
First of all, I am a teacher, so know that I come into this review somewhat biased. I have read other books by this author, but this was a bit different–in a good way. Chronicling a tough year in high school education made this an intriguing read for me. I was constantly impressed with how this teacher handled his students without backing down and giving into the pressure of the students, parents, and the administrators.
Having been there myself, I know all too well how easy it is to give in, and my hat goes off to this man. I would not have been able to do what he did. That’s why I am a substitute teacher which seems to go much better for me in today’s society.
My only real caution is that there is some profanity. Direct quotes from students for the most part. The writing is exceptional, and the book is detailed (that could be a problem for some). But it is possibly the best education memoir I have ever read.
Review by Becca Wilson:
I love reading about personal experiences of people. Lives that are different than mine give me an insight into what it would be like to have been in their shoes or taken a different route in my own life. With my sister just starting out teaching little ones this school year, I was ready to go on the journey that Lloyd Lofthouse was about to take me on. One year of his teaching experience in an inner city school in California was documented by him in a journal. He has now made that journal into this tell all book, and I am thankful and commend him for it.
During this memoir we learn all of his teaching methods and what his class was like. I loved that he shared with the reader his students on both sides of the classroom, the ones that did well and the ones that needed a little bit more of his help and time. As a teacher he really felt that each and every child had the ability to succeed and make something great of themselves. The neighborhood that they came from should not affect this outcome.
With all the bad that was going on in the area, Lofthouse made it his mission to better the kids that he taught and give them a bright future. He was dedicated to his cause and there need to be more teachers like him around. I appreciate his willingness to share and to let is in. The author has other books out there that I will now be looking into. Loved it! FIVE stars.