Call Me Crazy, I Dare You: A Memoir

The Sunday Wishbone: A MemoirCall Me Crazy, I Dare You, is an inspirational coming of age memoir about growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother and what that looks like through the eyes of a child.  Set in the 1950’s and 60’s in Cincinnati, Ohio, this family saga takes you into a world like no other, testing not only the sanctity of family secrets but ultimately the innate bond between a mother and daughter. 

Excerpts from Mary’s memoir have been published in both professional and lay publications, and in a book chapter coming out in October, 2013 through PCCS Books in the UK.

What readers are saying about CALL ME CRAZY, I DARE YOU:

“I held this book to the toughest standard I know – page-turner.  And that it is.  It’s the harrowing journey, from childhood to young adult, of a girl who must navigate a labyrinth of poverty, abuse and exploitation.  Like the journeys from Twain and Salinger, it’s taken through the eyes of innocence. Her resilience in the face of cruel and seriously flawed adults is heartbreaking.

It’s a quest for the most universal and elusive of all treasures – Love.  And it’s all the more powerful for being a true account.”

Don Shroll, MFA

“I love many things about this brave, vividly-written, heart-breaking and heart-lifting book.  Perhaps what strikes me most is its willingness to allow all of its characters a full humanity.  The book documents extraordinary heartlessness at times, but it’s the heartlessness of complex individuals fighting their own battles.  The ultimate triumph of the book is thus deeper, richer, harder-won, and more genuine than we might ever imagine.”

Lon Otto, Writer
Instructor, University of Iowa Summer Writing Workshop

“When I think Mary Shannon, I think “courage.”  Mary grapples with fear and stigma when telling her story, yet her commitment to liberation from the tyranny of the past, for herself and others leads her to being an honest, compassionate and powerful storyteller.  I am happy that her reach is extending, as I believe she has the capacity to inspire and move the world.”

Paul Browde, MD, PLLC
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
NYU School of Medicine
Narrative Medicine Teaching Faculty Columbia University

“In a conference room in Manhattan, fifteen writers pitched their manuscripts to four New York editors.  This tiny blonde powerhouse of a woman stood up and quietly made her pitch and I burst into tears.  Three more times she made her pitch to the remaining editors, and three more times I found tears in my eyes.  I knew I had to read her book and I was not disappointed.  This is memoir at its best:  unflinchingly honest but without sentimentality, rich with telling details, a gripping plot and an ending full of hope.”

Beth Browne,


A Note from Mary to Book Groups:

I love connecting with readers and have been honored and humbled by those of you who have reached out to me. If your book group is reading Call Me Crazy, I Dare You, I’d love to be a part of it…either in person or by phone. Email me and we’ll try to set something up!