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Synopsis

Jeanette Winterson’s novels have establishing her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally bestselling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life’s work to find happiness. It's 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 an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.

It is the story of how a painful past that Jeanette thought she'd written over and repainted rose to haunt her, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother.

Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging-for love, identity, home, and a mother.

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Average rating
4 / 5
Why Be Happy Indeed
April 20th, 2014
This is the first work of Jeanette Winterson I have read but I now intend to read her fictional works as well. Although sometimes difficult to navigate, I found some of the randomness of her thoughts well placed to ease the shock of the horrible events of her early life. I particularly appreciated the honesty of what she endured thanks to a mentally unstable (manic? Bipolar? Personality disorder? Neglect?) mother. It's something common but not dealt with by popular literature.
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