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Deliver Us From Normal (Normal)

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  413 ratings  ·  83 reviews
A humorous and heartbreaking novel about growing up in a large family. Now in paperback!

Yes, there really is a Normal, Illinois. Charles Harrisong should know; he was born there. But life in Normal is difficult for Charles because his family isn't normal at all. They're poor, for one thing. They stand out, which is the worst thing. After an ugly incident at school, Charles
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 2005)
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I really didn't like this book for quite a while as I read it because of the religion-bashing that went on. Then I got caught up in the lives of these poor children and their family and I had to see how things turned out. This is a very quirky book. Very unusual, and very un-normal. Charles Harrisong's family is very poor (white trash is what the other kids in the book call them), getting their clothes from thrift stores, renting a house instead of owning it. Things go from bad to worse when the ...more
Oct 21, 2009 Jess rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jess by: The town of Normal, baby
Shelves: z_09, juniors, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book is supposedly told from the point of view of a 6th grade boy named Charles. I say supposedly because no 6th grader would use passages like the ones she had coming from the main character, with small details about driving, etc. "Normal" is both the name and the description of the town he and his family live in. Charles has a big family that doesn't fit in, and of course that bothers him. His sister runs for class president, some kids from the school vandalize the posters, and all of the ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terrylee Mclaughlin
Deliver Us From Normal is a very nice calming book and its about a large family of seven and they are not very wealthy. They also have two bunnies that are much loved by the whole family. The oldest daughter Clara is running for class president when the family suddenly decides there moving to Alabama. There is much conflict between Ben and Laura the youngest children in the family. The parents buy a boat house over the phone and it turns out to be a run down boat. They have to sleep in there car ...more
this is by kate klise, who also wrote "regarding the fountain" and "regarding the trees". this book is for older people and is very good. it's nothing like her other books...
Robin Ibanez
This book seemed really strange to me. I'm not exactly sure I understood it (which is sad since this book is supposed to be for kids and teens). What I didn't understand was the why of everything. Why did they leave, why did Laura cry over everything, why did the parents decide to move to a houseboat, why did their parents have five kids, and many more whys. There were good points. There were cute and funny moments throughout the story. And it was interesting learning about this family and readi ...more
Sam Harrison
Well I can't say much because I have to agree with the majority of reviews out there. This story I will admit was as strange as the Harrisong family. I have to say it even made me uncomfortable at times. The plot was sort of bland and hit you with a few sucker punches. With it's mushy plot twist and over dramatic narration part 1 is something I've never read before. Part 2 was better I liked the feeling of running away from it all and living off. Charles' sisters I have to say annoyed me more th ...more
Diane Folz
Wonderful story. So well written. This story is told from the perspective of the eldest son of a large, poor family as they struggle to hang on to a shred of optimism and dignity while growing up in the town of Normal, IL when they are, in the eyes of narrator, anything but normal. After a bad turn of events, they are forced to flee town in the middle of the night and things are anything but smooth sailing from there. So witty, sad and hopeful. This will definitely appeal to both female and male ...more
A realistic fiction story about an eleven year old boy with a big crazy family. They live in a town called Normal, Illinois, but Charles wishes his family was halfway normal. The different personalities in his family embarrass him to no end, but when his older sister is the victim of school bullies he tries his best to protect her by attempting to destroy the evidence. This event sends their family on the adventure of their lives...

Packing up in the middle of the night, the Harrisong family leav
Charles Harrisong's life is one long list of embarrassments. He's embarrassed that he has so many siblings (three sisters and a brother), he's embarrassed that they have to shop at Bargain Bonanza instead of at normal stores, and he's constantly convinced that everyone around him is silently judging him. Still, he loves his family, even if he's tired of doing everything as a family, and when his older sister's campaign posters for student president are defaced in particularly nasty ways, he goes ...more
Not far enough along to say much. Just that the main character comes from a family of 5 kids. He is the second oldest. They had to leave their yellow brick home in Normal, IL (?) in the middle of the night for some reason. All else about their family sounds pretty normal so far.
I like the way they say that the "odds are with them."
Also...yellow brick. Are we suppose to think of Dorothy?
This is a funny book kind of. It took a while to get into, with no obvious plot and a lot of discussion of Go
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for

Charles Harrisong may live in Normal, Illinois, but he knows his family is anything but. They practically live at Bargain Bonanza, and they're the only family in town who rents a home with no air conditioning. They're loud, and do everything together, and cause a scene wherever they go. Then, there's just him, Charles, who makes lists and sublists of "The Most Embarrassing Things in (his) Life," such as his horrible summer at scout camp and "The Y
I'm not sure about this book. The Kate Klise is one of my favorite authors... which is why I chose this book to read. However, the storyline seemed a little all over the place.. and I kept waiting to find out what the "big event" was that caused the family to leave suddenly in the middle of the night. When I got to the part, I was confused... as mean and ugly as the event was, unfortunately, things like that happen in middle school over and over. The difference is that action is usually taken ag ...more
West Region,
Deliver Us From Normal by Kate Klise

My name is Charlie Harrisong, and I can’t believe that I am once again here at Bargain Bonanza for back-to-school shopping with my family. "Please God, don’t let me see anyone I know. Please, God, don’t let me see anyone I know." Then, around the corner I hear, "Hey, it’s Charlie Harrisong! Hi, Charlie," and there were 3 of the most popular girls in my class. And I imagine you can guess why I didn’t want anyone to see me shopping today of all days, and at Barg
Eduardo Gonzalez
Deliver Us From Normal by: Kate Klise wasn't what I was expecting. Kate Klise usually writes book in mail format. Letters, news articles, memos, emails. This was her first attempt to do a serious book and she didn't do so good. The book didn't get to the point. Although the book crossed a very sensitive subject [bullying] Some parts were really good. The characters were well-developed and almost lifelike.The main character is 11 year-old Charles Harrisong and people mispronounce and misspell his ...more
Molly Siegel
Hmmm...not a bad story line but I don't think I liked it very much. The story was a little too out there for me. I had a hard time sympathizing with the characters; for some reason they didn't come to life for me. To me, it seemed like a book that boys wouldn't normally be in to but it didn't deal with "girl" issues enough for girls to like it. I believe that Klise is mixing up family life and school/social life a little too much in this book. Plus the whole Bargain Bonanza thing was a bit chees ...more
A wonderful story, with a strong message of hope even through the worst of times. For the Harrisong family, the worst can be predictably anticipated. 11-year-old Charles is the narrator who documents it all. He’s fully aware that his family is poor, luckless and strange. He sees how their hardships multiply, and spends most of his time worrying over what will come next.

Charles doesn’t sound like any 6th grader I know. He shares some incredibly perceptive, and often hilarious, asides. And his an
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's not a perfect book-- but it comes so close to wonderful so often that it is well worth your while. Charlie Harrisong is our adolescent everyman --painfully self-conscious, well-meaning, confused, and a very likable narrator. The crazy family he complains about doesn't seem so crazy until the story takes a big turn in the middle, but we understand why he's embarrassed by them anyway, and why his most fervent wish is to be a normal kid in a normal family in Normal, IL. I listened to the audio ...more
Jun 09, 2015 Emmy added it
I didn't get this book. Why was everyone blaming Charlie? What did he do? Why did the family leave? So some stupid kids cussed at Clara. Why did they need to move? Can someone explain this to me?
Ms. K-M
There really is a Normal, Illinois, but life for Charlie Harrisong is anything but normal--mostly because his family is anything but normal. First of all, they're poor. But most of all, they stand out. And worst of all, none of them seems to realize how much they stand out--nor do they care. But Charlie realizes it, and he cares a lot. But the Harrisongs' life becomes even less normal when, after an ugly incident at school, they leave home in the middle of the night and head South, hoping to mak ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: teen, 888
I remember being so totally embarrassed by my parents when I was a teenager, but never to the point of Charlie Harrisong, who feels that his life is nothing but one big embarrassing moment after another. He can't believe that his older sister Clara doesn't feel the same way. Things come to a head when a nasty incident at school convinces his parents that they've finally had enough and they take off for a better life. I'm not sure how realistic that part of the book is, but I did feel for Charlie ...more
A tale for anyone who has felt like an outsider or that family is just too embarrassing.
Charles Harrisong may live in Normal, but he and his family are anything but normal. The fact that there are so many kids in their family is one strike; they are poor is the second; and the third is that they stand out wherever they go.
Charles has spent his young life trying to avoid the scrutiny of his fellow students but has been unsuccessful. After one really ugly incident at school, his parents decide it
this book is terrible dont know what people were thinking!!!!!!
I truly LOVE Kate Klise but, I was reading this and I couldn't focus on the story and even when I wasn't tired and TRIED to read it during the day, (I usually read before bed,) I just kept dozing off. It's more interesting if it's like Letters from Camp, or Regarding the Fountain, where it's basically a big collage of letters, "WHILE YOU WERE OUT" notes, newspaper clippings, and memos. Now THAT is what I like to see from Kate Klise. So if your looking for books, don't try this one, but try these ...more
Lee Anne
Slightly odd but not quite enough for more stars.
Katie Bruce
This book was very unusual and unlike anything else I've read in kid lit land in a long time. It's getting at least an extra star for that. Definitely reads like an adult writing FOR kids. Charles' voice isn't quite there, but I liked a lot of the things Kate Klise was trying to do in this book. The back blurb says it is her first solo novel, so I will def. be checking out some of her later works. The main draw for me was that this was set in Normal, IL, but that really exists more as a plot dev ...more
My new favorite line from a book: "Hey, is this Lent? 'Cause this sure feels like Lent." Said when engaged in some thankless or seemingly neverending chore.

A sweet book, Deliver Us from Normal is the story of the Harrisong family, a working-class, Catholic family whose older son Charles suffers from severe consciousness of their many eccentricities. I appreciated the fact that the author does deal with the issue of social class, something ignored in too many children's books which are focus on m
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Catherine "Kate" Klise is an American author of children's literature. Many of her books are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. Their popular Regarding series is presented in a scrapbook style format, with letters, journal entries, and related ephemera telling the story. She is also known for her picture
More about Kate Klise...

Other Books in the Series

Normal (2 books)
  • Far From Normal
Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road, #1) Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks Over My Dead Body (43 Old Cemetery Road, #2) In the Bag Till Death Do Us Bark (43 Old Cemetery Road, #3)

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