Friday, July 18, 2014

North of Normal: a Memoir

North of Normal, by Cea Sunrise Person
Publisher: Harper
Publication date: June 24, 2014
Category: Memoir
Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

I usually give only the main title to books, but this one has a subtitle worth mentioning. The full title is North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both. That's a mouthful and evidently a childhood full of one crazy event, person, or situation after another.

I mean, whose childhood doesn't consist of a family of nudists, open pot smoking, casual sex, an uncle who tried to kill you, and more "homes" than you can count? Not to mention living in tipis in the wilderness, miles from civilization, for years at a time. I'm not making light of these things at all. Reread that list. Can you imagine one or two of those things, let alone all of them and more, making up your childhood? Obviously, this is not the norm, but this is the childhood Cea Sunrise Person survived.

The narrative Person strings together is shocking to say the least. There isn't anything I can recount here, besides the list, that isn't already laid out best by the author. North of Normal is definitely reminiscent of Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle, maybe even a little bit crazier! Person even gives Walls a shout out in the acknowledgements for writing The Glass Castle, which gave Person the courage to write her own life story.

A definite testament to the human spirit, I couldn't help but grit my teeth and cheer Cea on as she made her way through trials that no child should ever face...and yet, come out better for it on the other side. If you are a fan of memoirs about overcoming, this is a book for you.

What is the most gripping memoir you've ever read? Why?


  1. Definitely doesn't sound like the type of things a child has to go through. I can imagine it being gripping.