Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

By Jeanette Winterson
(Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802120106, 230pp.)

Publication Date: March 2012

List Price: $25.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2012 Indie Next List
“Readers familiar with Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit will have an inkling of the earnestness and pathos as well as the source of this most perfectly chosen title quote, but no one should stop there: this memoir delivers far more than the expected exploration of that story's roots. This is a captivating book, quotable, and brightly flecked with humor, a personal and, at times, painfully raw story about an adoptee's lifelong search for love. It also makes the strongest case I've ever read for how a life can be saved by literature.”
-- Jennifer Indeliclae, Ebenezer Books, Johnson, VT


Description
Jeanette Winterson's novels have established 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 belongingfor love, identity, home, and a mother.



About the Author
Jeanette Winterson s first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, won the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel. Since then, she has published seven other novels, including Lighthousekeeping, The Passion, Written on the Body, and The Powerbook, a collection of short stories, The World and Other Places, a books of essays, Art Objects, and most recently a children s picture book, The King of Capri. She has adapted her work for TV, film, and stage. Her books are published in thirty-two countries. She lives in Oxfordshire and London.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. “My mother tried to throw me clear of her own wreckage and I landed in a place as unlikely as any she could have imagined for me” (p. 225). How does Jeanette become reconciled to her birth story and adoption?

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