On My Bookshelf: I Don't Want to Be Crazy by Samantha Schutz

May 01, 2017

In I Don't Want To Be Crazy, author Samantha Schultz recounts her struggles with anxiety disorder while trying to navigate the newly found freedoms of college life. Written in verse, this memoir makes the experience of having a panic attack almost tangible for the reader. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: A harrowing, remarkable poetry memoir about one girl's struggle with anxiety disorder.

This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities -- freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she revelled in the independence. . . but as pressures increased, she began to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally shaken and physically incapacitated. Thus began a hard road of discovery and coping, powerfully rendered in this poetry memoir.
In I Don't Want To Be Crazy, author Samantha Schultz recounts her struggles with anxiety disorder while trying to navigate the newly found freedoms of college life. Written in verse, this memoir makes the experience of having a panic attack almost tangible for the reader. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: I wasn't crazy about I Don't Want to Be Crazy (no pun intended) because of its lack of character development. There was very little exposition and introduction of characters or setting before Samantha heads off to college and her mental health issues escalate. From there, the plot mainly consists of pain attacks and bad relationships.

The book does paint a clear picture of what a panic attack looks like which might be reassuring to a student who suffers from them. The book could also serve as a warning to young women headed of to college about the realities of relationships in college. Too many young men (and I'm sure some young women) are looking for quick and easy, no strings attached, leaving behind many a wounded heart.

Classroom application: Because of the rampant drug use in the book and the few sexy scenes, this would be a high school only recommendation, and even then, likely only for certain students. An excerpt illustrating what a panic attack is like could be used during a unit about mental health issues.


If you are interested in purchasing a copy of  I Don't Want to Be Crazy for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:



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