Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?
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Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?

By (author) Jeanette Winterson

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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.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 140 x 200 x 18mm | 181.44g
  • 04 Dec 2012
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • English
  • 009955609X
  • 9780099556091
  • 2,231

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Author Information

Jeanette Winterson OBE was born in Manchester. Adopted by Pentecostal parents she was raised to be a missionary. This did and didn't work out. Discovering early the power of books she left home at 16 to live in a Mini and get on with her education. After graduating from Oxford University she worked for a while in the theatre and published her first novel at 25. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is based on her own upbringing but using herself as a fictional character. She scripted the novel into a BAFTA-winning BBC drama. 27 years later she re-visited that material in the bestselling memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? She has written 10 novels for adults, as well as children's books, non-fiction and screenplays. She writes regularly for the Guardian. She lives in the Cotswolds in a wood and in Spitalfields, London. She believes that art is for everyone and it is her mission to prove it.

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Review quote

"Unforgettable... It's the best book I have ever read about the cost of growing up." -- Daisy Goodwin Sunday Times "A searingly felt and expressed autobiography...Funny and profoundly hopeful - a tale of survival" -- Kate Hamer Metro "This book is good, sensible, beautiful company... Try this" -- A.L. Kennedy Week "Vivid, unpredictable, and sometimes mind-rattling memoir... This book... which had been funny enough to make me laugh out loud more times than is advisable on the No 12 bus - turns into something raw and unnerving" -- Julie Myerson Observer "This is certainly the most moving book of Winterson's I have ever read... but it wriggles with humour... At one point I was crying so much I had tears in my ears. There is much here that is impressive, but what I find most unusual about it is the way it deepens one's sympathy, for everyone involved" -- Zoe Williams Guardian

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Back cover copy

'Laugh-out-loud funny...proudly, and sometimes painfully, honest. It is also, arguably, the finest and most hopeful memoir to emerge in many years and, as such, it really should not be missed' John Burnside, The Times 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. 'Brave and beautiful, a testament to the forces of intelligence, heart and imagination' Spectator 'Boasts everything that she does best: courage, ferocity and prose that soars' Julie Myerson, 'Books of the Year', New Statesman

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