Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Deliver Us From Normal” as Want to Read:
Deliver Us From Normal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Deliver Us From Normal (Normal)

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  489 Ratings  ·  98 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Deliver Us From Normal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Deliver Us From Normal

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 11, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a little surprised at how heavy this book felt. Charles, the main character, is 11 years old and wracked by anxieties. He's incredibly self-conscious and embarrassed by almost everything his family does. He also thinks that a lot of his family's problems are his fault. It's only at the very end of the book that he finally starts to relax. I'm not sure if he ever realizes how skewed his perception is. That was a little surprising to me in a children's book.

Embarrassment and anxiety is very
Mar 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Too much religion-bashing and profanity, especially for a book about a Christian family.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jess by: The town of Normal, baby
Shelves: middle-grade, z_09
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nanette Zorn
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
My son picked this book out during our weekly quest for the best audiobook yet discovered (by us). Having grown up in Eastern Iowa, I was familiar with the town of Normal, IL and drawn to both the Catholic undertones of the title as well as the promise of some interesting childhood moments, compliments of the rural setting. It was told through the eyes of a very self-conscious 11 year-old boy, Charles, who was the second of five children (which might have explained some of it's pull for my 11 ye ...more
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens_lit
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
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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...
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: youth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mia Sabbara
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This month I read a book called "Deliver Us From Normal" written by Kate Klise. The genre of this book is Realistic Fiction because the book has events that can actually occur in real life, but it's still based on a made up story which makes it's fiction. Since this book doesn't have a confirmed time set, I'm guessing it's present day because there is no old characteristics in any of the events stated in the book. The settings of this book are in Illinois and Alabama. The main characters of thi ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Deliver Us From Normal is the story of a particularly angsty pre-teen (Charles Harrisong) and the moment that allowed him to move past that. As such, it really resonated with me. I was also an awkward worry-prone tween; fortunately, my disposition was tempered by a resemblance to Clara, the creative, positive, rise-above-it older sister of the main character.

The story takes place as Charles is starting Junior High and trying desperately to be absolutely unnoticeable. He does not succeed, in lar
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
Evan Macrone (Will Work For Books)
I just read Deliver Us From Normal. It's Thanksgiving, so screw a cool intro like "Now, I am a HUGE sicker for cool titles with great potential..." I'm just going to give my thoughts plainly and simply. Here they are:

Does a very good job displaying the emotions and inner workings of a teenager (I, as a teenager myself, am a reliable source).

Pacing wasn't great. They spent a lot of time setting stuff up only to rush out a 3 or so chapter conclusion (Note I said conclusion, meaning I don't count
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
Nov 14, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Molly Siegel
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an interesting story with distinct and unique characters. I loved much of the description and there were several parts that I found really funny. The philosophical discussions the main character has with is older sister about religion and the nature of God are interesting. However, I found use of the word "God" far too frequent. Often it was used in the sense of prayer but there were other times it felt profane.

I'm not 100% sure I like where the story ended. The main character's growth
Int'l librarian
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
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Why I loved it:
-Lived in Normal, IL during college - loved the setting!
-Quirky family who does what I wish more families would do: get out of town when their children are being bullied at school! I loved that they did this!
-Each of the family members are lovable and realistic

A few issues:
-Wow... a bit too much cussing for me considering I picked this up to potentially add to my library collection for third grade readers
-Why all of the knocking of religion? Not sure of the point of this, exactly.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Decent story about a family who lives just outside of Normal, both literally and figuratively. The book's protagonist, Charles Harrisong, wants nothing more than to blend into his typical suburban community. But he comes from a family that can't help but stick out. Then something happens that forces Charles to reevaluate the family he's constantly so embarrassed to be around. I won't give away the ending, but I will say that this book really didn't do it for me. The problem with Charles's quirky ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, 2008
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
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
Ms. K-M
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Reaching for Sun
  • Fourmile
  • Porcupine
  • Mercy on These Teenage Chimps
  • The Great Death
  • Departure Time
  • God of Beer
  • North
  • Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference
  • Do Not Pass Go
  • Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library!
  • The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World
  • Born to Rock
  • This Is What I Did
  • Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems
  • Gemini Summer
  • The Last Invisible Boy
  • Nobody Was Here : Seventh Grade in the Life of Me, Penelope (Elston Prep, #1)
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

Share This Book

“some wishes come true. some wishes dont. sometimes you find out you were wishing for the completely wrong thing.” 25 likes
More quotes…