Many funny moments & many sad thoughts, too.
At thirty-nine, Hanna Painter has returned to her hometown of Ash Creek, Ohio. Her husband, Ed is dying of cancer inside their home. Pete is four when his father passes away there. This is the start of Hanna’s journey without her husband by her side.
Hanna, a young widow and her son trying to go on after the death of her husband. Now, a single mom that had hopes of a bigger family instead of a smaller one. Pete becomes a five-year-old expressing so much laughter while his mother grieves inside for what she had once and it is gone. Her close friends and her dreams are keeping her afloat.
Little Pete tells his mom, “Now you’re a window,” he says this after his dad dies in their home. He is quicky, and a comical boy often during this story.
Hanna is teaching older women to write about their lives at the local YMCA and she also works at the local library. Eventually, Pete starts kindergarten and he quickly finds a best friend, named Omar, the Indian son of Mazur, who runs the local cleaners in a strip mall in their town.
Pete wants to keep of his father’s stuff and he moves most of it to his closet for safe keeping. Their neighbor, Thomas becomes a central person in their lives. September 11 becomes an important topic among these characters as the story unfolds and shows us what they felt about it. Thomas works as a cooper at the eighteenth-century colonial restoration outside of town that he calls The Hill. However, he also leaves town often on business. During one of his road trips, a girl appears in his drive. She is driving a flashy sports car and Hanna sees her from her kitchen window.
Hanna, Thomas, and Pete form a new family together. The Twin Towers are attacked and changes appear in their community.
Prejudice thoughts are a recurring device towards the end of this book. Mazur and his family are a target in the community and Hanna finds herself puzzled by this and the why behind it. Maureen enters Thomas’s life and in turn, she enters into Hanna’s too. The Hill is a setting where the characters often meet or retreat to during the story. Hanna’s dreams are central, too as these characters grow closer to each other.
I’m on page 144 of 208 of Sweet & Crazy: and, Pete asks his mother about the mailman, “Why is he wearing those special gloves?”
The whole story is about Hanna and her life. The ending leaves me thinking about some of the other characters and what happened to them. However, I think Hanna finds what she is looking for through Thomas in the end.
Patty Dann’s writing is very poetic throughout this novel and a joy to read.