Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Audiobook CD - 2011
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Jeanette Winterson's bold and revelatory novels have established her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most acclaimed books of the last three 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 considered one of the most important books in contemporary fiction.

Jeanette's adoptive mother loomed over her life until Jeanette finally moved out at sixteen because she was in love with a woman. As Jeanette left behind the strict confines of her youth, her mother asked, "Why be happy when you could be normal?"

This memoir is the chronicle of a life's work to find happiness. It is an audiobook 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 drawer; about growing up in a north England industrial town in the 1960s and 1970s; and about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, which Winterson thought she had written over and repainted, rose to haunt her later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also an audiobook about literature, one that shows how fiction and poetry can guide us when we are lost.

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

Publisher: North Kingstown, RI : AudioGO ; Grand Haven, MI : Brilliance Audio, p2011.
Edition: Library ed..
ISBN: 9781469201931
Characteristics: 5 sound discs (ca. 369 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.


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Hearing this memoir in the author's own voice is a gift. And if, like me, you thought of Winterson's fiction as high-brow or self-consciously esoteric because of its experimental or nontraditional narratives, listening to "Why Be Happy" will dispel that notion. There is something tremendously reassuring in learning that Winterson is never sure of herself, but simply writing what she feels she must in order to survive (and she's definitely had a lot to survive). I don't think any book I read in 2015 made me feel more genuine hope and wonder than this one.

JCLHunterSt Jun 16, 2013

This book had me laughing out loud one moment and crying in despair for the life experiences of this author. This is a memoir of Winterson, written in a matter-of-fact style, both hard hitting and honest. It's one of the better literary memoirs I have read.


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JCLHunterSt Jun 23, 2013

That is what literature offers—a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn't a hiding place. It is a finding place.


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