When I went off to college, I started telling people that my mother died in a car crash.' Ellie and Izzy have lived a crazy life, with a mother whom they adored, but who wasn't without problems. From long midnight baths, to dancing in the dark in the rain, to driving the family car straight into the lake, she's been a magic but maniacal figure, someone whose colourful stunts and bold lies have been the source of both pride and shame for the girls. Then, in March 1971, Izzy's mother locked herself in the garage and sat in a Dodge Dart with the engine running. Now, on the eve of her own 41st birthday, Izzy realises that she's about to reach an age her mother never got beyond and she's entering virgin time, the second half of a life her mother never knew. All she wants is a phone call from her father, and a simple 'Happy Birthday' from her sister, Ellie - a call from one sane sister to another. But she knows that isn't going to happen, for they're both flying out for an emotionally charged weekend visit and Izzy can't help feeling that she's still responsible, that there are apologies to be made. Surely now, she's at an age where a grown-up daughter can put things behind her? Spare and sweet, "Crazy As Chocolate" is an enchanting, involving novel of the acceptance and remembrance of familial madness set against an idyllic and wild childhood.