Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Publisher: Vintage Canada

In 1985, at twenty-five, Jeanette published Oranges, the story of a girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, supposed to grow up to be a missionary. Instead, she falls in love with a woman. Disaster. 

Oranges became an international bestseller, inspired an award-winning BBC adaptation, and was semi-autobiographical. Mrs. Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over the novel and the author's life. When Jeanette left home at sixteen because she was in love with a woman, Mrs. Winterson asked her: Why be happy when you could be normal? This is Jeanette's story--acute, fierce, celebratory--of a life's work to find happiness: a search for belonging, love, identity, a home. About a young girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night, and a mother waiting for Armageddon with two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer; about growing up in a northern industrial town; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is also about other people's stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.

READ AN EXCERPT

When my mother was angry with me, which was often, she said, ‘The Devil led us to the wrong crib.’
 
The image of Satan taking time off from the Cold War and McCarthyism to visit Manchester in 1960 – purpose of visit: to deceive Mrs Winterson – has a flamboyant theatricality to it. She...
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PRAISE FOR

"Winterson makes the pages sing.... A moving, artfully constructed piece of writing that sustains tension until the last sentence." The Globe and Mail

"The finest and most hopeful memoir to emerge in many years." The Times (UK)

"Winterson recounts her bizarre and often brutal upbringing with verve, wit and compassion.... Blazingly good." Daily Mail (Best Book)

"The memoir is brave and beautiful, a testament to the forces of intelligence, heart and imagination." The Spectator