Charity'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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I wasn't sure I liked this memoir, but I ended up enjoying it. I appreciate the emotional complexity with which Winterson tells her story. I share her interest in how we each put together our stories of ourselves, and I enjoy the messy and presumably honest (and maybe factual?) way she lets her story unfold. She neither aims for the happy ending nor wallows in the abuse of her childhood; she simply tells how she's experienced the events of her life. The story of her search for her biological mother seems a little out of place with the rest of the memoir, but I really enjoyed this section, so I'm not complaining.

Winterson does some funny things with other people's stories that I can't quite make sense of. She embellishes an anecdote about Gertrude Stein's driving from The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, and she inaccurately references a scene from The Odyssey (it's Eurycleia, Odysseus's old nurse, who identifies him from his scar, not Penelope). All through the memoir, Winterson plays with fact and fiction, with the ways in which we create the narrative of ourselves and so I'm not sure if these inaccuracies are mistakes or intentional. I can't quite figure out the purpose of the deception if they're intentional, though.

Overall, I'm glad I finished this memoir, but I don't think that I'll go out of my way to read any of her fiction, especially given my dislike of The Gap of Time.

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Reading Progress

December 3, 2019 – Shelved
December 3, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 21, 2020 – Started Reading
January 29, 2020 – Finished Reading

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