Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? PDF/EPUB ë Why


10 thoughts on “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

  1. Sean Barrs Sean Barrs says:

    Books mean a great deal to me Are you surprised to hear me say this I think not As a consequence, I really enjoy reading books about people who really enjoy books It s just how these things work And Jeanette Winterson really, really, likes books When she had nothing, she always had her books they gave her courage and strength This is a book for those that love reading and writing this is a book for those that understand why someone would spend their entire life doing such things it is Books mean a great deal to me Are you surprised to hear me say this I think not As a consequence, I really enjoy reading books about people who really enjoy books It s just how these things work And Jeanette Winterson really, really, likes books When she had nothing, she always had her books they gave her courage and strength This is a book for those that love reading and writing this is a book for those that understand why someone would spend their entire life doing such things it is a book that speaks directly to the book lover Jeannette had a very cold childhood her mother was a depressive who had a very warped mind set She was devoutly religious but rather than seeing religion as a means of spreading love and understanding, she saw it as a way to chastise people She was a misanthrope, a hater of mankind When she looked at society all she saw was a wretched cusp of civilisation that needed to be punished It was unworthy of God s teachings, of the word of the Bible And she was obsessed with the Bible, reading it multiple times each year She attempted to limit her daughter s faculties by not letting her read beyond its pages.So Jeanette read in private, hiding her collection of books under her bed One day her mother found them and burnt them all in the back garden She destroyed the books of Jeanette s youth, but she couldn t destroy her Jeanette began to learn literature by heart because that could never be taken away from her, and then she set out to write her own story This book would become her first novelOranges Are Not the Only Fruitwhich, if you didn t already know, went on to win numerous literary awards along with establishing Winterson as a successful writer Her writing is highly autobiographical, drawing on her own experiences to create her narratives Oranges focuses much on sexuality, gender and the restrictions of religious belief This, on the other hand, centralises the relationship between Jeanette and her mother within the narrative It builds on the themes established in Oranges and addresses them in a muchintelligent voice Twenty five years have passed in between books, and her mother has died since, and as a result Winterson addresses the themes withclarity and retrospective wisdom She both hated and loved her mother Jeanette was adopted, and she has always felt unwanted and incapable of accepting love she has always felt empty inside The coldness of her adoptive mother has been to blame for much of this, but her actions created the writer Without them, Winterson would never have established her literary voice She would never have read so widely and so voraciously and set her on the path to finding her voice She knows exactly what her mother was to herShe was a monster, but she was my monsterSo this is a deeply personal account about Winterson s life it is revealing and powerful I admire her courage to not only write such fiction, but to impart so much of herself to her readers It s very brave writing, highly successful too


  2. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    If you read Oranges are Not the Only Fruit then this just reads like an early version before the editor said to the author, You can t write that, no one will believe you The clich goes that truth is stranger than fiction and this book is definitely stranger than Oranges It is hard, for instance, to believe that the author, as an adult, never addressed her mother as anything but Mrs Winterson.Small personal anecdote that has nothing whatsoever to do with the book other than it s a bit about If you read Oranges are Not the Only Fruit then this just reads like an early version before the editor said to the author, You can t write that, no one will believe you The clich goes that truth is stranger than fiction and this book is definitely stranger than Oranges It is hard, for instance, to believe that the author, as an adult, never addressed her mother as anything but Mrs Winterson.Small personal anecdote that has nothing whatsoever to do with the book other than it s a bit about Winterson s famous girlfriend who was much celebrated and made a lot of money from her book on fat and feminism, but there you go, when did my reviews ever stick to the point Years ago, having quite a lot of money and not much sense of what to spend it on I decided physical perfection was all and took myself off to a health farm, or spa , in Malta to lose some weight and tone up It was a sleazy dump with hardly any facilities and was in fact a money laundering operation for a body building company in the UK that mostly sold steroids There weren t many clients and all of us were there to lose weight which bewildered the few staff who didn t seem to know what to do with us other than to feed us very little and tell us to swim in the algae green pool In other words, a perfect place to hide out The author of Fat Is a Feminist Issue was there, the girlfriend of Jeanette Winterson Not such a feminist issue, eh Can you trust any author to be who they say they are or is it all just for effect I guess so long as the money keeps rolling in its all true , and when the money stops maybe that s time for a tell all autobiography with tv interviews revealing all the psychological problems that stopped the author from telling the truth in the first place I m thinking now of Orbach, but it applies to any author, maybe even Winterson If a tell all doesn t bring the cash in and the fame back, then there s always reality tv Edited because I was apparently very insulting with two words, so I took them out What a laugh to complain about that though


  3. Cecily Cecily says:

    Beautifully written, engrossing, and suffused with a love of the saving power of literature This is the truer, grittier,analytical version of Oranges are Not the Only Fruit my review HERE , with an update of Winterson s very recent attempts to trace her birth mother, and interspersed with thoughts on words, writing, literature and a dash of politics of family, class, feminism and sexuality It is better if you are familiar with Oranges, but not essential There also seem to be significan Beautifully written, engrossing, and suffused with a love of the saving power of literature This is the truer, grittier,analytical version of Oranges are Not the Only Fruit my review HERE , with an update of Winterson s very recent attempts to trace her birth mother, and interspersed with thoughts on words, writing, literature and a dash of politics of family, class, feminism and sexuality It is better if you are familiar with Oranges, but not essential There also seem to be significant autobiographical aspects to Lighthousekeeping, as explained in my review HERE.NOT MISERY LIT When I read Oranges many years ago, it was before the vogue for misery lit , a genre I have avoided However, reading this, I realise that despite the erudition and humour, both books are perhaps in that category Don t let that put you off Much of Winterson s upbringing was awful neglect, psychological bullying, deceit and most importantly, lack of love, and yet she comes through it all the stronger and even when she has a major breakdown in later life, still realises that her pain has made her who she is.PLOT SUMMARYThe story is now well known, but to recap, Jeanette was adopted by a poor, middle aged, dysfunctional couple who belonged to a Pentecostal church Most of the time, they all act as if their quirks and cruelty are entirely normal She escaped into forbidden books and grammar school an academically focused school , but fell foul of her family when she fell in love with a girl PARENTS MRS WINTERSON and DADHer mother is almost entirely referred to as Mrs Winterson just occasionally my mum , but never just Mum , whereas her father is Dad and mostly in the background until old age Mrs W is the farvividly drawn character a flamboyant depressive I think Mrs Winterson was afraid of happiness She was also hypocritical a supposedly secret smoker who neither believed not practised all the teachings of her chosen church and who had unexplained disappearances, whereas Dad is just weak, or perhaps too peaceful to stand up to her, who hated him not in an angry way, but with a toxic submissive resentment My father was unhappy My mother was disordered We were like refugees in our own life. There was a barrier between us, transparent but real. She was her own Enigma code and me and my dad were not Bletchley Park. And specifically about Mrs W Our conversations were like two people using phrase books to say things neither understands. But despite all the pain, as a middle aged woman, Winterson notes I hate Ann criticising Mrs Winterson She was a monster but she was my monster. ABANDONMENTThe undercurrent of the book and Winterson s life is abandonment given up by her birth mother, unloved and abused by her adopted mother, and abandoned by her first lover as soon as they were caught In her troublesome teens, she wonders Were we endlessly ransacking the house, the two of us, looking for evidence of each other I think we were she, because I was fatally unknown to her, and she was afraid of me Me, because I had no idea what was missing but felt the missing ness of the missing. As an adult I have never felt wanted And I have loved most extravagantly where my love could not be returned but I did not know how to love. LOVE OF LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE Books don t make a home they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book, and you go inside Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space. One of the aspects of this book that I most enjoyed was Winterson s feel and passion for language and literature, enhanced by the lengths she had to go to to enjoy them She Mrs W knew full well that writers were sex crazed bohemians who broke the rules and didn t go out to work Books had been forbidden in our house. The perverse exception was murder mysteries The trouble with a book is that you never know what s in it until it s too late. But for Winterson literature isn t a hiding place It is a finding place She was right A book is a magic carpet that flies you off elsewhere Do you come backShe was not a high flier at school, and yet I knew how words worked in the way that some boys knew how engines worked. The best thing about Oxford University was Its seriousness of purpose and the unquestioned belief that the life of the mind was at the heart of civilised life It was like living in a library and that was where I had always been happiest. Writing is evenpowerful, and there are two kinds the one you write and the one that writes you The one that writes you is dangerous The other side of that coin is that at her lowest point, which is brutally and bravely documented, language left me Terrifying for anyone, let alone a writer And not for the first time, it is poetry that rescues her, All that poetry I learned when I had to keep my library inside me now offered a rescue rope If poetry was a rope, then the books themselves were rafts At my most precarious I balanced on a book, and the books rafted me over the tides of feelings that left me soaked and shattered The poem finds the word that finds the feeling Winterson also analyses the narrative of her own life, Adopted children are self invented adoption drops you into the story after it has started Regarding Mrs W s reaction to Oranges, What you leave out says as much as those things you include Mrs W objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story s silent twin And both twins change when she traces her birth mother Until then, My whole identity was built around being an orphan and an only child The meeting is visceral, traumatic, comic, but ultimately somewhat unresolved A couple of other wonderful books that have this theme in different ways Stoner, my review HERECold Mountain, my review HEREANALYSING HERSELF I would rather be this me than the me I might have become without books, without education. That education comes to the fore towards the end, in a short chapter called The Wound where she compares lots of myths about wounds literal and metaphorical , adoption, mistaken identity etc It s a powerful and erudite exploration of some of the themes in the book, but doesn t quite fit in style.There is understandable bitterness towards Mrs W, but despite rejecting the church, she is also grateful to it in some ways Belief in God helped her when she was small God made sense of uncertainty and she saw many working class people living a deeper,thoughtful life than would have been possible without the church Bible study worked their brains An unintended consequence being that familiarity with the 1611 Bible and daily use of thee and thou in their own speech, made Shakespeare was relatively accessible She documents the contradictions of her church some unpleasant, some merely comical with a degree of fondness When homeless and living in a car, she observes, I was lucky in one way because our church had always emphasised how important it is to concentrate on good things In a similar vein, The one good thing about being shut in a coal hole is that it prompts reflection I m not sure that would be benefit enough to appease a social worker.PURSUIT OF HAPPINESSHer life is about the pursuit of happiness, life long, and it is not goal centred She says that as a child, she always wanted to escape her life, as did Mrs W in a different way every night she prayed Lord, let me die However, she also says, I don t know anyone, including me, who felt trapped and hopeless , albeitin terms of church putting poverty into perspective Applying to Oxford was apparently not so much about escape but because it was the most impossible thing I could do In working class areas of the north in the 1970s, men were still in charge, and women undervalued, My world was full of strong able women who were housewives and had to defer to their men The result of this strange and traumatic upbringing is that The things that I regret in life are not errors of judgement but failures of feeling. TYPES OF ENDING When we write we offer the silence as much as the story Words are the part of silence that can be spoken Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent. It would be easy to summarise the book in the lines She longed for me to be free and did everything she could to make sure it never happened. and All she ever wanted was for me to go away And when I did she never forgave me. However, that would do it a disservice, because it is really farabout the necessity of love understanding it and fully experiencing it Winterson herself categorises three types of ending revenge, tragedy and forgiveness this book contains all three


  4. Michael Michael says:

    Resolute and unsentimental, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal reckons with the legacy of childhood neglect In the memoir s first part Jeanette Winterson reflects on her experience of growing up gay in Accrington, England, inside the household of her adoptive mother, a Pentecostal fanatic prone to abusive tendencies In matter of fact prose, with great wit, the author confronts the harrowing conditions of her childhood narrates the social history of her working class hometown and recounts Resolute and unsentimental, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal reckons with the legacy of childhood neglect In the memoir s first part Jeanette Winterson reflects on her experience of growing up gay in Accrington, England, inside the household of her adoptive mother, a Pentecostal fanatic prone to abusive tendencies In matter of fact prose, with great wit, the author confronts the harrowing conditions of her childhood narrates the social history of her working class hometown and recounts how her local library helped inspire her to seek a better life The memoir s second part, by contrast, follows the author in the present as she searches for her biological mother, with the help of her partner Compared to the first, it understandably feels less polished andenmeshed in uncertainty Both sections are characterized by fragmented, nonlinear narratives, a choice explained at length toward the book s end, and both paint a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the woman the author only can call Mrs Winterson, not Mum Winterson s resilience is remarkable, her craft exceptional, and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal easily is one of the most moving memoirs I ve read


  5. Paul Paul says:

    This is a remarkable memoir, honest and very moving beautifully written and there is a passion for reading and books that runs through it Winterson describes books as her hearth and home and I know exactly what she means As well as being a moving memoir, it is a memoir that will resonate with every lover of books This is also a follow up from the fictionalised version of Winterson s childhood Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit The first half of the book outlines the real story of Winterson s c This is a remarkable memoir, honest and very moving beautifully written and there is a passion for reading and books that runs through it Winterson describes books as her hearth and home and I know exactly what she means As well as being a moving memoir, it is a memoir that will resonate with every lover of books This is also a follow up from the fictionalised version of Winterson s childhood Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit The first half of the book outlines the real story of Winterson s childhood, including the less palatable parts The second half takes a few snapshots from her life, her time at university and her breakdown at the end of a relationship the descriptions of the breakdown are very painful and difficult to read The last part of the memoir relates to Winterson s search for her birth mother and what happened when she found her Some parts of this certainly resonated with me as I was also brought up in an Elim Pentecostal Church and recognised some of the character traits and apocalyptic beliefs and the exorcism The telling title comes from the moment Winterson told her mother she was leaving home because she was in love with a girl and was happy Her mother s response was Why be happy when you could be normal Winterson s mother throughout referred to as Mrs Winterson is a monstrous character, regularly locking her daughter in the coal shed or locking her out of the house so she had to sit on the doorstep Love was not an emotion It was a bomb site between us Winterson used to hide the books she bought under her mattress, when her mother found them, she burnt them Another thing that really resonates with readers Winterson s adventures in the library are interesting as she discovers new authors and there are touches of humour throughout The one good thing about being shut in a coal hole is that it prompts reflection The passages relating to Winterson s breakdown are difficult to read, but the presence of Susie Orbach as Winterson begins a relationship adds some light and a fixed point Winterson also manages throughout to show even her mother as human and severely damaged herself as well as the monster she undoubtedly was Winterson is very honest about herself I have big problems around home, making homes, making homes with someone Love, loss and longing are central to her writing as is adoption Adoption drops you into the story after it has started It s like arriving after curtain up The feeling that something is missing never, ever leaves you and it can t, and it shouldn t, because something is missing This is a memoir well worth reading and has reminded me I need to readby Jeanette Winterson


  6. Andy Marr Andy Marr says:

    Despite the humour and the occasional glimmer of hope, there were times when I found this book almost too hard to read I imagine writing about it will prove equally traumatising, so I ll say only that this memoir was superbly written, and heartbreakingly honest, and will remain with me for a very long time.


  7. Ines Ines says:

    This is a book that will remain in my memory and soul forever I had absolutely no idea what I was going to read, I took this book by chance thinking it was a woman s story and the discovery of Winterson s homosexuality Instead this book is shocking, it s a bomb, it enters in your bowels leaving the reader to me surely often unable to go on the reading for the trauma and psychological violence written there I didn t even know I would be a witness reading of a woman with a very serious psy This is a book that will remain in my memory and soul forever I had absolutely no idea what I was going to read, I took this book by chance thinking it was a woman s story and the discovery of Winterson s homosexuality Instead this book is shocking, it s a bomb, it enters in your bowels leaving the reader to me surely often unable to go on the reading for the trauma and psychological violence written there I didn t even know I would be a witness reading of a woman with a very serious psychiatric form that some crazies worse than this lady are gonna give her a baby for adoption.This is a chilling story of a survival, of Jeanette struggling with daily conditions of acute mental suffering and continuous violents and unspeakable mystical psychotic crisis of her mother The aspect of the Janette s homosexuality it is not central in the narrative,it is central the unfortunately fractured growth in those fundamental aspects that are the security of parental love and the care of the child in her most elementary needs Nothing will got this child, except a material cure almost enough to survive, but so much will receive in neglect, not only from the maternal side but also from the father who will be ideologically castrated by his wife and relegated to an appearance littlethan existing but not incident in the life of family.A ferocious reading, full of wonderful references to English literature and not only often the episodes reported and bombarded by so many old biblical passages are given in the eyes of the reader also with in a almost tragic and ironic way and I was so ashamed, but I also laughed at the sentences reported by Mrs Winterson the adoptive mother and so called by Jeanette.Jeanette is saved thanks to her love for literature and the grace of an encounter, with the literature teacher who will give her that fundamental help to be accepted at the university.What shocked me the most, are the biblical passages of the Old Testament which are reported and given with wickedness by the mother, wickedness she was but the only way for this woman to communicate with this daughter, wanted but then rejected and then desired and hated at the same time Why did Jeanette Winterson write this book even though she later met her biological mother In this constant mention of the adoptive mother while vomiting all the pain and laceration on her, what does she crave The possibility that she would have wished for a small shred of love in this land of terror Salvador Dal The Persistence of MemoryQuesto un libro che mi rimarr nella memoria e nell anima per per sempre io non avevo assolutamente idea di cosa stavo per leggere, ho preso questo libro un p per caso pensando che fosse il racconto di una donna e la scoperta della sua omosessualit Invece questo libro sconvolgente, una bomba, di entra nelle viscere lasciando al lettore a me sicuramente spesso incapace di andare avanti nella lettura a causa dei traumi e violenze psicologiche ivi raccontate Non sapevo neanche sarei stata testimone nella lettura di una donna con una gravissima forma psichiatrica ora ditemi come possibile che, neanche a farlo apposta, le trovi tutte io queste condizioni nei libri scelti come dileggio a cui dei pazzi peggio di lei, daranno in adozione una bimba Questa non altro che la storia agghiacciante di una sopravvivenza, di Jeanette alle prese con condizioni quotidiane di acuta sofferenza mentale e continue violente inenarrabili nate da crisi psicotiche mistiche della madre L aspetto dell omosessualit di Janette e si e no centrale nella narrazione, centrale la crescita purtroppo fratturata in quegli aspetti caposaldi che sono la sicurezza dell a genitoriale e la cura del figlio nelle sue esigenze piu elementari Nulla avr questa bambina, se non una cura materiale quasi sufficiente per sopravvivere, ma tanto ricever in negligenza non solo da parte materna ma anche dal padre che verr ideologicamente castrato dalla moglie e quini relegato a una comparsa poco piu che esistente ma non incidente nella vita di famiglia Una lettura feroce, pienissima di meravigliosi riferimenti alla letteratura inglese e non solo.spesso gli episodi riportati e infarciti da tantissimi passi biblici vengono dati agli occhi del lettore anche con una possibilit di lettura quasi tragicomica e mi sono vergognata tanto, ma ho anche riso per le frasi riportate di Mrs Winterson la madre adottiva e cos chiamata da Jeanette.Jeanette si salva grazie all a per la letteratura e la grazia di un incontro, con la professoressa di lettere che le dar quell aiuto fondamentale per venire accettata all universit.Quello che mi inquieta di piu sono i passi biblici dell antico testamento riportati e detti con malvagit dalla madre, una malvagit che altro non era che unico modo per questa donna di comunicare con la figlia, voluta ma poi rifiutata ma allo spesso tempo desiderata Perch la Winterson ha scritto questo libro nonostante abbia poi conosciuto la madre biologica in questo suo continuo nominare la madre adottiva pur vomitandole addosso tutto il dolore e lacerazione vissuti, cosa brama la possibilit che comunque avrebbe desiderato un briciolo di a in questa landa di terrore


  8. Moira Russell Moira Russell says:

    This book came in the mail today, I opened the package, opened the book and looked at a few pages randomly, started reading, and about half an hour later turned back to the beginning so I could start reading it properly That s as good a star ranking as anything, I think This book isn t really a memoir, but then again, if you expect linear storytelling from Jeanette Winterson it skips twenty five years of her life in an Intermission and the end is so open ended a great breeze might com This book came in the mail today, I opened the package, opened the book and looked at a few pages randomly, started reading, and about half an hour later turned back to the beginning so I could start reading it properly That s as good a star ranking as anything, I think This book isn t really a memoir, but then again, if you expect linear storytelling from Jeanette Winterson it skips twenty five years of her life in an Intermission and the end is so open ended a great breeze might come through there s a lot about doors and thresholds, being locked out and being let in, in this book What made it amazing for me is the power, the fire, of Winterson s descriptions of reading, her personal, visceral attachment to books I imagine this is being sold as the dark side of the moon companion to Oranges, Winterson s first, most realistic and most openly autobiographical novel indeed, my British edition of the book has a little round orange sticker declaring it to be BY THE AUTHOR OF ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT Clever clever, marketing department But this book is the story of what didn t get into the story of Orangesraggedy, stitched together, with great gaping absences, spurts of language and then painful silences, aporia, lacunae Winterson called it the backstory of Oranges on her blog, which fits it s the backstage story, the back of the tapestry, the story of how she got dragged back to what she describes as the central wound of her life, being given up for adoption Oranges was a self made origin myth this goes back further, to the origin of that origin myth, and while the tale is still self made, one of its larger points is how made we are by what happens to us, who brings us up, who nurtures us Our background which she brings to the fore of her story.This book is muchangry than Oranges which had a kind of deliberately willed, commanded, courage and optimism which is part of Winterson s own defiant makeup she charmingly explains the difference between her and her adopted mother in their choice of favourite hymns hers is Cheer Up Ye Saints of God, Mrs Winterson s is God Has Blotted Them Out Winterson writes about the blighting of the industrial North of England her description of Manchester as the country s engine is stunning and Thatcherism, the tutor who said to her at Oxford, You are the working class experiment her best friend got You are the black experiment , and there s a striking paragraph long explosion at cultural critics who called her arrogant after her books were published, who didn t understand that for a working class girl daring to dream of being an author, that wasn t arrogance, it was politics Again from her blog Shelagh Delaney, writer of A Taste of Honey, was so good, and she didn t get the support she needed to develop She was a working class girl, before feminism, living in Salford, and she had incredible talent She should have been up there in the theatre along with Osborne and Pinter But although she got her break, she didn t get the crucial follow up She was born in 1939 and wrote A Taste of Honey as her first play when she was about 20 She co wrote the movie with Tony Richardson and it won everything at Cannes.Her second play faltered, and she went into film work There was so muchshe could have done and how amazing to see a woman at the centre of the Kitchen Sink Realism as well as all those male heroes We have to look after people Space, time, encouragement, there is no such thing as the lone genius or the lone talent.At the end of the book, Winterson meets her biological mother and half brother, and a heap of other relations, and thinks sadly how intelligent they all are, how they re trying to read and study and learn on their own just as she did and she beautifully describes being nurtured by a number of different women, from the female librarian who gave her a spare room to her present partner, Susie Orbach warning that interview will make you want to kick Aida Edemariam in the shins A refrain in the book is about want You were wanted, Jeanette how her birth mother wanted but couldn t keep her, and Mrs Winterson had her but didn t want her But, as Julie Myerson said Of course, one of the book s queasiest ironies and one you sense Winterson is fully aware of is that it was Mrs Winterson who made her into a writer By attempting to stunt her daughter s emotional and imaginative growth with fear and religion, she succeeded in doing the exact opposite She created someone who learned to live in her head, and to love, trust and remember words Fuck it, I can write my own, was young Jeanette s thought as she watched her beloved books burn.Excerpt from the book in the Grauniad this is what made me buy it from .co.uk because I couldn t wait to read it I linked it to nearly every one of my friends Its ending deserves to be quoted in full I realised something important whatever is on the outside can be taken away at any time Only what is inside you is safe I began to memorise texts We had always memorised long chunks of the Bible, and it seems that people in oral traditions have better memories than those who rely on printed text The rhythm and image of poetry make it easier to recall than prose, easier to chant But I needed prose too, and so I made my own concise versions of 19th century novels going for the talismanic, not worrying much about the plot I had lines inside me a string of guiding lights I had language..The books had gone, but they were objects what they held could not be so easily destroyed What they held was already inside me, and together we would get away And standing over the smouldering pile of paper and type, still warm the next cold morning, I understood that there was something else I could do Fuck it, I thought, I can write my own And she did


  9. Oriana Oriana says:

    I finished this book on a frigid Sunday afternoon, lying lazily on my too deep couch, covered in a ridiculously soft blanket, with my boyfriend cackling in the other room while watching news fails on YouTube and my little dog curled up by my side, lending me his warmth I have had such an easy life, it is sometimes difficult to fathom.Jeanette Winterson has not had an easy life Or anyway she had an almost impossibly surreal awful childhood adopted by a frighteningly inconsistent and extrem I finished this book on a frigid Sunday afternoon, lying lazily on my too deep couch, covered in a ridiculously soft blanket, with my boyfriend cackling in the other room while watching news fails on YouTube and my little dog curled up by my side, lending me his warmth I have had such an easy life, it is sometimes difficult to fathom.Jeanette Winterson has not had an easy life Or anyway she had an almost impossibly surreal awful childhood adopted by a frighteningly inconsistent and extremely religious mother, who regularly locked her in the coal shed overnight , an adolescence during which she lived in her car after mom kicked her out for being a lesbian , and a young adulthood wherein she took her impoverished, working class self all the way to and through Oxford, despite staggering sexism, homophobia, and snobbery they told her she was their working class experiment, and her best friend was their black experiment She has spent her life overcoming overcoming abandonment and adoption, overcoming a lack of love, overcoming poverty, overcoming provincialism, overcoming heteronormativity, overcoming the judgments of the entire world And yet this memoir, which I expected to be agonizing, is instead matter of fact, witty, piercing, and generally triumphant Jeanette is not a dweller or a wallower, at least not any she is frank about the difficulties she has gone through, relating even rather harrowing anecdotes with grace and compassion Hers is a journey, always, toward understanding trying to figure out those around her, saving herself through literature, learning how to love by piecing it together day by day The book is in two parts The first, from birthor less to college, has a narrative tone that is at a slight remove from the story Jeanette is, of course, a writer, with a writer s sense of pacing, of plot arc, of what to reveal and when to reveal it, of the flourishes necessary to a tale well told She relates most of the anecdotes from her childhood smoothly after all, she s spent her whole career polishing and retelling them This part of the story is moving but a bit pat it is clever and rather self aware, although it is certainly devastating and illuminating in turns.But then after a two page interlude that encompasses about twenty five years the second half of the book is practically in the present, starting maybe five years ago, and it encompasses Jeanette s search for her birth mother And suddenly the narrative becomes ragged, jagged, raw This is the story Jeanette is still living, and it has not been rehearsed it has barely even got done being lived She navigates the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of the British legal system with a somewhat crazed frenzy, and with the help of kind souls along the way She opens up her brain and her body and lets us look right in, into her hysterical fears, her calcified anger, the wailing hopefulness she has spent her whole life tamping down into frustration I can t even describe it it s devastating, enraging, anxiety ridden, and so so intense And even still, clever Her writing style throughout is very British and dry, no nonsense y and simple but shot through with literary allusions, with whole quoted poems and passages And funny, I can t stress that enough, because it was the last thing I was expecting I m tempted to start quoting lines, but I d wind up transcribing pages and pages, and I haven t got the time.But listen this book is really brilliant I am now going to sink right back into my too deep couch, grab the cuddly dog, and start rereading Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit And after that I m going to Netflix the BBC movie of it, and then I m going to comb my shelves and my friends shelves for all her other books, which I ve either never read or haven t read in years Jeanette, I love you You are astonishing


  10. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    This is about a girl who was adopted by a religious lunatic and who realised she was a lesbian.Yes.Uh oh.It s a squirmy, maddening, elusive, full frontal, raging, psychonewagebabbly, moving, heartfelt, essential memoir I was going to be cute and say that in 1969 The Beatles decided to release an album on which there were no overdubs, no studio tricks at all, but the resulting album Let It Be broke its own rule by containing overdubbed strings so many years later Paul McCartn This is about a girl who was adopted by a religious lunatic and who realised she was a lesbian.Yes.Uh oh.It s a squirmy, maddening, elusive, full frontal, raging, psychonewagebabbly, moving, heartfelt, essential memoir I was going to be cute and say that in 1969 The Beatles decided to release an album on which there were no overdubs, no studio tricks at all, but the resulting album Let It Be broke its own rule by containing overdubbed strings harps choruses so many years later Paul McCartney fixed this dishonesty by producing a new version, called Let It Be Naked, which really is a no overdub live in the studio Beatles album the truth at last And I was going to say that Oranges are Not the Only Fruit is Let It Be and Why Be Happy when you Could be Normalis Let it Be Naked. But it s not true analogy does not hold water, says GR reviewer Yes, you find out that in Oranges and I m thinking that you need to have seen the tv series or read the book first, both recommended, so no hardship a lot of punches were pulled but no, the whole picture is still not revealed, and JW uses the full panoply of 32 track overdubbing, phasing, extreme stereo panning, hotshot studio musicians, the works, in her new version of the old story of her crazy childhood It s not a simple tale In fact it s like Hilary Mantel s frankly weird memoir Giving up the Ghost and even Bob Dylan s glorious Chronicles certain parts of the lives in question are given the full treatment, the significant bits, and others are blanked, bits which the reader might object to hey, what about this thing and that thing and whyja do that and what happened here Memoirs are for readers who can contain their irritation at being fed only what the author wants them to be fed We are often left panting with our tongues lolling and whining Poor memoir readers That s the name of the game.So, Oranges is great but the other two JW novels I read The Passion and Sexing the Cherry each earned two meagre stars fully of gorgeous paragraphs they may be, but I could not make head nor tail of them This has happened to me before I love early Joni Mitchell, but then she took a bad turn and produced Hejira and Don Juan s Reckless Daughter mama mia Horrible stuff Oh you love those albums Sorry this is where the rot set in So I m not a JW fan, except that she occasionally appears on political discussion shows on the BBC, and I LOVE hearing her, she cuts through the nonsense like laser surgery She was a monster, but she was my monster.JW says this about her adoptive mother who she consistently refers to as Mrs Winterson This mother was physically huge and a religious fruitcake, a key member of an evangelical sect who had strict rules about everything So on top of the dire poverty of working class England in the 60s and 70s, you had another whole set of deprivations imposed However, here s JW on the subject of growing up in a crazy Christian cult It is hard to understand the contradictions unless you have lived them the camaraderie, the simple happiness, the kindness, the sharing, the pleasure of something to do every night in a town where there was nothing to do then set this against the cruelty of dogma, the miserable rigidity of no drink, no fags, no sex or if you were married as little sex as possible , no going to the pictures, no reading anything except devotional literature, no fancy clothes not that we could afford them , no dancing no pop music, no card games, no pubs TV was OK but not on Sundays On Sundays you covered the set with a cloth.Here s the young JW walking through town Accrington with her mother We went past Woolworths A Den of Vice Past Marks and Spencer s The Jews killed Christ Past the funeral parlour and pie shop They share an oven Past the biscuit stall and its moon faced owners Incest Past the bank Usury Past the Citizens Advice Bureau Communists Past the day nursery Unmarried mothers This book is full of great, pained observations on the English working class of the 60s and 70s A lot of women had moustaches in those days I never met anyone who shaved anything, and it didn t occur to me to shave anything myself until I turned up at Oxford looking like a werewolf.Less great was the banging on about love, which is JW s first, second, third and 10th commandment Love thyself, love others, learn how to love, love is all you need, love loves to love love It probably comes from listening to too much pop music, but love gets on my wick when it s promoted into a mystical panacea But JW is all about the love, the difficulty of it, the elusiveness of it, the overwhelming blah blah blah of it She says she reads a lot of MindBodySpirit stuff I wouldn t touch that stuff with YOUR bargepole, never mind mine not with my bargepole I would have liked less of that kind of blather andof why she consistently describes herself as difficult and also there s a startling paragraph where she says that as her adoptive mother wanted a boy but got a girl The Devil led us to the wrong crib she actually said that to Jeannette and maybe dressed her in the already bought boy baby clothes, then that s what made her into a lesbianReally I am not much a believer in the gay gene she says.Okay as you see, hampers full of food for thought and many hoots of laughter to be had are right here a lovely book


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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? ❴BOOKS❵ ✫ Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Author Jeanette Winterson – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk In Jeanette Winterson s first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published It tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents The girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionar InJeanette Winterson s first novel, Oranges Are Happy When MOBI · Not the Only Fruit, was published It tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents The girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionary Instead she falls in love with a woman Disaster Written when Jeanette Why Be PDF/EPUB ² was only twenty five, her novel went on to win the Whitbread First Novel award, become an international bestseller and inspire an award winning BBC television adaptation Oranges was semi autobiographical Mrs Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over that novel and its author s life When Jeanette finally left Be Happy When Epub á her home, at sixteen, because she was in love with a woman, Mrs Winterson asked her why be happy when you could be normal This book is the story of a life s work to find happiness It is a book full of stories about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished and, about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother It is also a book about other people s stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft which supports us when we are sinking Funny, acute, fierce and celebratory, this is a tough minded search for belonging, for love, an identity, a home, and a mother.

    Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? PDF/EPUB ë Why of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished and, about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother It is also a book about other people s stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft which supports us when we are sinking Funny, acute, fierce and celebratory, this is a tough minded search for belonging, for love, an identity, a home, and a mother."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 230 pages
  • Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
  • Jeanette Winterson
  • English
  • 15 December 2019
  • 0224093452

About the Author: Jeanette Winterson

Novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, Happy When MOBI · England in She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in She graduated Why Be PDF/EPUB ² from St Catherine s College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assistant editor at Pandora PressOne of the most original voices in British fiction to emerge during the s, Winterson was named as one of the Best of Young British Writers in a promotion Be Happy When Epub á run jointly between the literary magazine Granta and the Book Marketing Council She adapted Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit for BBC television in and also wrote Great Moments in Aviation, a television screenplay directed by Beeban Kidron for BBC in She is editor of a series of new editions of novels by Virginia Woolf published in the UK by Vintage She is a regular contributor of reviews and articles to many newspapers and journals and has a regular column published in The Guardian Her radio drama includes the play Text Message, broadcast by BBC Radio in November Winterson lives in Gloucestershire and London Her work is published in countries.