Meghan's Reviews > Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
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Apr 27, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: memoir, england, lgbtq
Read from April 05 to 09, 2012

Jeanette Winterson's memoir about life in Northern England, growing up as the adopted only child of an older couple, her mother chillingly only ever referred to as 'Mrs. Winterson.' Mrs. Winterson, Pentecostal and deeply religious, hated herself and her life and adopted a child to try to stave off loneliness (it didn't work.) This memoir is about learning what love is from what many people would view as a grim upbringing:

"Auntie Nellie cannot have had much money. Twice a week she had all the neighbourhood children she could squeeze into her one room and she made onion soup or potato soup and all the children brought their own cup and she ladled it out off the stove.
She taught them songs and she told them Bible stories and thirty or forty skinny hungry kids queued outside and sometimes brought things from their mothers - buns or toffees - and everybody shared. They all had nits. They all loved her and she loved them. She called her dank dark little house with its one window and black walls 'Sunshine Corner.'
It was my first lesson in love."

She's also most articulate and heartfelt about the solace of literature: "At my most precarious I balanced on a book, and the books rafted me over a tide of feelings that left me soaked and shattered."
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04/27 marked as: read

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message 1: by jess (new)

jess I love her words.


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