Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

1 comments 5 stars

The shocking, heart-breaking - and often very funny - true story behind Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette's version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. It was a cover story, a painful past written over and repainted. It was a story of survival.

This book is that story's the silent twin. It is full of hurt and humour and a fierce love of life. It is about the pursuit of happiness, about lessons in love, the search for a mother and a journey into madness and out again. It is generous, honest and true.

Available Formats

  • Paperback
    $19.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9780099556091
    Published: 01/05/2012
    Imprint: Vintage
    Extent: 240 pages
  • Hardback
    $29.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9780224093453
    Published: 01/11/2011
    Imprint: Jonathan Cape
    Extent: 240 pages
  • EBook
    ISBN: 9781446402115
    Published: 01/10/2011
    Imprint: Vintage Digital
    Extent: 240 pages
See All Reviews

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"Winterson has rarely been interested in linear narrative; she moves between different periods in the past and present within each chapter...This structure and her searing honesty are a powerful combination." - Rosemarie Milsom, Newcastle Herald

"In the 26 years since the publication of her highly acclaimed first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson has proved herself a writer of startling invention, originality and style. Her combination of the magical and the earthy, the rapturous and the matter-of-fact, is unique. It is a strange and felicitous gift, as if the best of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was combined with the best of Alan Bennett... This remarkable account is, among other things, a powerful argument for reading... This memoir is brave and beautiful, a testament to the forces of intelligence, heart and imagination. It is a marvellous book and generous one" - Spectator

"While Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is rich in autobiographical detail, it is a wide and bold an experiment in the memoir form as any so far written... in writing that is astonishingly naked and brave, Winterson reveals the legacy of that difficult and painful childhood... Much of this book is laugh-out-loud funny... Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is proudly, and sometimes painfully, honest.It is also, arguably, the finest and most hopeful memoir to emerge in many years and, as such, it should not be missed" - John Burnside, The Times

"In memoir, honesty matters more than anything but, when married with humour, wit and elan vital of Jeanette Winterson's [book], it is a transformative force" - John Burnside, New Statesman, Books of the Year

"The specifics of her early abuse is vivid, violent, and no less horrifying for its familiarity... If the memoir was begun as a final exorcism of the monster mother, it ends with a moving acceptance of her" - Independent

"Moved me deeply. [It] celebrates the redeeming power of the written word and is undercut with an irresistible humour born of residence in hardship" - Juliet Nicholson, Evening Standard, Books of the Year

"There is something darkly Dickensian in the urgency and energy of her character and quest, in the acute, abrupt style of her self-presentation and in the extreme characters who have informed her life" - The Times

"Moving, turbulent" - Zoe Williams, Guardian

"Shattering, brilliant memoir... Here childhood eas ghastly, as bad as Dickens's stint in the blacking factory, but it was also the crucible for her incendiary talent" - Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times

"Verbalyl dazzling, emotionally searing, compassionate and often hilarious memoir" - Genevieve Fox, Daily Mail

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson OBE is the author of ten novels, including Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, The Passion and Written On The Body; a book of short stories, The World And Other Places; a collection of essays, Art Objects, as well as many other works, including children's books, screenplays and journalism. Her writing has won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the E.M. Forster Award and the Prix d'argent at Cannes Film Festival.

Visit her website at www.jeanettewinterson.com