Why be Happy when You Could be Normal?

Front Cover
Vintage, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 230 pages
82 Reviews

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published. It tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents. The girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionary. Instead she falls in love with a woman. Disaster.

Written when Jeanette was only twenty-five, her novel went on to win the Whitbread First Novel award, become an international bestseller and inspire an award-winning BBC television adaptation.

Oranges was semi-autobiographical. Mrs Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over that novel and its author's life. When Jeanette finally left her home, at sixteen, because she was in love with a woman, Mrs Winterson asked her: why be happy when you could be normal?

This book is the story of a life's work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother. It is also a book about other people's stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life-raft which supports us when we are sinking.

Funny, acute, fierce and celebratory, this is a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, an identity, a home, and a mother.

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Beautiful Writing... - Goodreads
... re: poetry: "Poetry is easier to learn than prose. - Goodreads
It was a good explanation of her writing habits. - Goodreads
I always feel her writing right in my stomach. - Goodreads
Taught about living with this one, and writing. - Goodreads
Her background and thoughts on Literature and writing. - Goodreads

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

User Review  - Lisa N. Johnston - Book Verdict

An acclaimed British novelist, Winterson deftly writes of a rough childhood with her adoptive fundamentalist parents in a dark, industrial town. It's England, the 1960s, and the air is full of social ... Read full review

Review: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

User Review  - Frank O'connor - Goodreads

This is a book about the damage that parents (both real and adoptive) can inflict on children, and how that damage is carried through in adult life. It is full of insight, sadness, wit and surprises ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Jeanette Winterson OBE is the author of ten novels, including The Passion, Sexing the Cherry and Written on the Body, a book of short stories, The World and Other Places, a collection of essays, Art Objects as well as many other works, including children's books, screenplays and journalism. Her writing has won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the E. M. Forster Award and the Prix d'argent at Cannes Film Festival.

Visit her website at www.jeanettewinterson.com

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