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Entering Normal

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  412 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
In the tradition of The Good Mother and The Deep End of the Ocean, Anne D. LeClaire delivers a heartbreaking–and breathtaking–novel of two very different but equally loving mothers who face the most painful of losses and then find the courage not only to go on but to find meaning and hope in their lives.

Rose Nelson is a middle-aged woman with a broken past, a sorrow from w
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 5th 2002 by Orion Paperbacks (first published May 29th 2001)
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Lois Duncan
Nov 30, 2011 Lois Duncan rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because, as flawed as the two main characters were, I could relate to both of them. As a once-20-yr-old mother, who made her own share of mistakes because of immaturity, I could relate to Opal. As a middle-aged woman who lost a teenage child, I could relate to Rose and the fact that her grief was a constant part of her life. Yet both these characters carried those traits to extremes that, thank God, I did not.

The book is well written. There are a couple of surprising twists t
Jul 05, 2016 Janice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, fiction
For me, the story of how I came by this book is actually more interesting than the book itself.

I was on a family road trip and had forgotten to pack two essential items: binoculars and a book. We had been traveling all day up the coast of Maine and stopped at the Country Inn in Camden, ME to spend the night. We just fell upon the inn, having not made reservations, not knowing where we would be by night fall. What a gem it turned out to be. With a quaint, Americana them, our rooms were spacious,
Marie desJardins
Jun 12, 2012 Marie desJardins rated it liked it
I found this to be an engaging read, but ultimately some aspects of the characters just aren't believable. Rose is a bit *too* shut down; Ned is a bit *too* uncommunicative and in denial; Opal is a bit *too* clueless about certain things. It would be OK if they started off that way and gradually evolved, but instead, like in many almost-good books, they feel very static for the first two-thirds or so of the book, and then have sudden insights very rapidly in the last third. As a result, I found ...more
Jul 05, 2010 Anum rated it it was ok
This book was a bit of a disappointment... A friend of mine suggested that I read it and I thought why not? Well, to start of the characters are rather poorly developed and the plot is merely designed to support the end.

As far as the ending itself is concerned, it nearly killed me with its cliched quality. I can only give Leclaire credit for her simplicity.
Shay Caroline
Nov 19, 2013 Shay Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: chicklit
Bless me, Father, for I have procrastinated. As I have confessed before, sometimes a book will sit on my shelf long enough to start asking for the car keys before I get to it. This novel shows a publication date of 2001, but actually takes place in 1990, and so it has a rather antique feel to it, with people listening to cassettes and not having cell phones or caller ID, and fetching their dinner by hunting mastodons. Okay, I made that last bit up. That said, this is still a really enjoyable rea ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"In Anne D. LeClaire's Entering Normal, two women are bound by the shared trials of motherhood: birth, hope, separation, and grief. Though Rose Nelson is an older woman still mourning her son, who died five years ago, and Opal Gates is a young single mother scrabbling to raise her 5-year-old son, the two women begin to cleave together.

Both move through their worlds in a dreamlike trance, only surfacing above their own self-absorption when confronted by the violence of life: infidelity, pa
Sabrina Thomas
Dec 13, 2013 Sabrina Thomas rated it liked it
Entering Normal by Anne D. LeClaire is a heartfelt book that I enjoyed reading, her words really spoke to me. Her word choice was what blew me away, sometimes it made it difficult because of her choice of words but in the end I really got a lot out of it. What really made this book so interesting for me to read was because it was a story of a normal girl, someone who was going through things that people have to deal with in everyday life. Betrayal, loss, taking risks for the ones you love, these ...more
Mar 04, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
"Entering Normal" is the story of two women and the intersection of their lives in small-town New England. The characters are somewhat stereotypical. Rose Nelson is a middle-aged Yankee closed off to the world after the death of her son. Southerner Opal Gates is on the lam from her family and son's father, gushing "Shugah" endearments. Opal seems to run her life by signs, whether a roll of a die or fruit sticker on the kitchen cabinets. They collide in Normal, MA, as reluctant neighbors, and for ...more
Courtney Perry
Apr 09, 2013 Courtney Perry rated it really liked it
The beginning of the book really had me worried that this would be not a book for a teenager, but the further you got into it the more it pulls you in! I loved the contradiction between the two main characters, Rose and Opal. But though many twist and turns thy become great friends. What I didn't like was (spoiler!) that Rose's husband died. It was so random and not needed. I just really didn't like it at all, but it did bring rose and opal closer. I like the style of the two minds of the women, ...more
Jul 18, 2013 Phyllis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never wanted this book to end because I fell in love with the two main characters, especially the older married woman who has lost her son to a car accident. I could identify with her living for years and suffering with guilt and sorrow. The friendship that develops between the older and the younger woman provides such redemption for the characters and for the reader also. The beginning doesn't look good for a relationship between the two, and so the ending of the book is very satisfying. I re ...more
MMy idea of a good book is one that awakens the readers emotions which is exactly the effect this book had on me. Opal, a young unwed mother dealing with a meddling mother as well as her child's father fighting for full custody stirred numerous concerns and feelings making this part of the story interesting and very real. This book also deals with the grief a mother deals with after traumatically losing her teenage son and the effects this loss had on her emotional self. Fabulous read!! I highly ...more
Feb 12, 2013 Alice rated it it was ok
This book had potential but did not live up to it. The characters were too predictable and the ending seemed Hollywood-ish and very corny, and not believable. I hate it when characters have sudden unrealistic epiphanies or go against their own grain for the sake of a happy ending. It amazes me that this book found a publisher, when there is so much really well-written fiction out there that doesn't get published. I can only think that some editor liked this book because it's an easy read that fi ...more
Jnfr Fuller
Jun 23, 2008 Jnfr Fuller rated it liked it
This was a pick up while at the beach with my family. Well written with characters I easily saw keeping company in the same neighborhood as my granny. The names of the two mothers (Opal and Rose) and the associations one can have to those words added to the expansion of the characters. Alternating 1st person perspective between these two women created a lovely balance as the story built up to the pivotal (and thus transformitive) crisis point. And I am always down with the belief in signs. Good ...more
Nov 28, 2010 Coralie rated it it was ok
This book was quite predictable and unrealistic. Opal is twenty and has a five year old. She leaves her home in North Carolina to get away from her domineering mother. A roll of the dice leads her to Western Massachusetts, to a town called Normal, that seems a lot like Greenfield. The older couple next door lost their only child, a son, five years ago. The wife, Rose, has been pretty much shut down since her son's death, but Opal's arrival wakes her back up again. There is an unexpected plot twi ...more
Apr 20, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This was a great book ~ I enjoyed it immensely, even though there was more sadness in it than I expected or wanted. The characters were very engaging, and totally true to life, and even though things didn't always go their way, they never lost hope, never quit. I'm looking forward to reading other books by this author.
Nov 17, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and the story it told which was very engrossing but I must admit that I did not like the ending that Ned had died who was a good man the whole time, it seemed unfair that he had to lose his life when he was the "good guy" all through the story so I must admit that I really enjoyed the story until that point, oh well guess they can't all have a happy ending!!
May 19, 2012 Jane rated it it was ok
Shelves: family-struggles
In Anne D. LeClaire's Entering Normal, two women are bound by the shared trials of motherhood: birth, hope, separation, and grief. Though Rose Nelson is an older woman still mourning her son, who died five years ago, and Opal Gates is a young single mother scrabbling to raise her 5-year-old son, the two women begin to cleave together
Dec 02, 2007 Trish rated it really liked it
This is about two very different women who form an unlikely bond. While quite sad, the book really stayed with me. I felt as though I, myself, had experienced loss. The author has some interesting things to say about grief and sadness, yet balances it with the witty inner musings of the characters.
Bernadette Kearns
Feb 26, 2015 Bernadette Kearns rated it liked it
This was a quick read. The story was very predictable, but I did like bits and pieces of the author's exploration of the two main characters, Rose and Opal. I also thought the insight into Rose and her husbands grief over the loss of their son made some parts of the book compelling. Overall, it was just a so-so read.
Rhonda Rae Baker
Jun 04, 2010 Rhonda Rae Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story, deeply moving, real life, and circumstances that will twist your insides but strengthen you all the same. I felt attached to these people for their point of view was told so wonderfully.

Jul 08, 2013 Lori rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for what it was--not great, but an interesting read with some basically one-dimensional but entertaining characters. The novel was supposed to be uplifting, and strangely enough, I thought it was!
Grandma Jo
Jan 22, 2013 Grandma Jo rated it really liked it
An immensely readable story of two women who come together as friends.
Both women faced tragedies in their lives, one a young single mother,
The other a middle aged woman who is unable to move on with
Her life after the death of her son.
Jun 04, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
It took a while, but this book ultimately was very satisfying and enjoying. I particularly liked the way the relationship developed between Rose and Opal. I loved watching their fondness for one another grow despite what seemed to be insurmountable differences.
Nov 19, 2010 JoAnne rated it really liked it
Picked this book up at a sale. I really enjoyed it. A quick read, but one that I wanted to keep reading and found compelling. While the story may have been predictable I found the writing really wonderful at times.. many passages stuck with me.
Marisol Hoil
Aug 05, 2013 Marisol Hoil rated it really liked it
es una historia que te entretiene lo suficiente como para seguir leyéndola pero sin ese suspenso de querer saber que pasa, es casi como una historia con variables con resultados que podría haber en la vida real.
Aug 20, 2009 Christina rated it liked it
My hardest part of this book was finding somehow to relate to either main character. The older woman just frustrated me and the younger one's lack of responsibility and common sense irritated me. That said, this book did make me think and there were parts that I did enjoy.
Aug 30, 2010 Shawna rated it really liked it
I was prepared not to like this book, but I found it very readable. It draws you in even though the themes it discusses, grief, life, and single motherhood have been explored in many other novels. I would highly recommend it for a little light-hearted escapist reading.
An OK easy read. Hard to relate to characters.
Quick summer read, with a depressing plot.
Apr 23, 2012 Dorothy rated it it was ok
It was an easy read...will make a nice LMN movie.
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I grew up on a farm in a small town in Western Massachusetts, the middle of three daughters of a school teacher mother and an electrician father. I was the family "story-teller," not always meant in the good way. In fact, I love that while I was once punished for making up stories, I now get paid for it.

Okay, so I was a small town girl. But my ambitions were as fanciful as they were impractical. M
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