Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Mar 6, 2012 - Social Science - 242 pages
48 Reviews
A New York Times bestseller: The “magnificent” memoir by one of the bravest and most original writers of our time—“A tour de force of literature and love” (Vogue).
 
Jeanette Winterson’s bold and revelatory novels have established her as a major figure in world literature. Her internationally best-selling debut, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, and has become a staple of required reading in contemporary fiction classes.
 
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a “singular and electric” memoir about a life’s work to find happiness (The New York Times). It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in a north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, rose to haunt the author later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also a book about the power of literature, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, or a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.
 
Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded story of the search for belonging—for love, identity, home, and a mother.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AJBraithwaite - LibraryThing

Such an interesting, funny-yet-harrowing read. Winterson's childhood was so sad and damaged, it's amazing that she was ever able to write anything. Or does a person need to have a traumatic past in order to become a fabulous writer? Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amerynth - LibraryThing

I really loved Jeanette Winterson's semi-autobiographical novel "Oranges aren't the Only Fruit" so reading her memoir "Why be Happy When You Could Be Normal" seemed like a natural progression. It is ... Read full review

Contents

The Wrong Crib
Get Born
In The Beginning Was The Word
The Trouble With A Book
At Home
Church
Accrington
The Apocalypse
This Is The Road
Art and Lies
Intermission
The Night Sea Voyage
This Appointment Takes Place In The Past
Strange Meeting
The Wound
Coda

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About the author (2012)

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959 and graduated from St. Catherine's College, Oxford. Her book, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, is a semi-autobiographical account of her life as a child preacher (she wrote and gave sermons by the time she was eight years old). The book was the winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction and was made into an award-winning TV movie. The Passion won the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize for best writer under thirty-five, and Sexing the Cherry won the American Academy of Arts and Letters' E. M. Forster Award.

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