This is a novel for the general reader. It isn’t just for Mennonites, a few of whom would probably find it sacrilegious; it has gotten good, sometimes rave, reviews from others who have read it. When asked which of my novels to read, I invariably recommend it. It’s not necessarily my best work—I’m partial to others, such as The Church of the Comic Spirit, which is my wife’s favorite.
Its point of view is first person. The narrator is a kid who grows up experiencing the world from within a fictional little town in Idaho. He’s something of a rascal—not a bad guy, but not the kind you’d want your daughter to marry. The trick was to think myself back into each stage in the life of a typical young boy; Penrod and Huckleberry and Holden Caulfield were always in the back of my mind.
Crazy is also my first endeavor—or so I thought until I happened on a box containing a short novel I’d written as kind of a catharsis during a dark stretch. This misremembered piece contains bits of subtle humor, but it would be a lie to say it is a comic novel, which all the other of my endeavors can claim.
The novel was first published as Christian Bride, Muslim Mosque. When it came time to present it in a second edition, I happened to remember a line from Shakespeare’s Othello (“Rude am I in my speech”) and immediately imagined the present title.