Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (Grove Press)
We're thrilled to present Jeanette Winterson, author of some of Skylight's favorite novels, as she discusses her extraordinary memoir.
This event is free and open to the public, but we will be using signing line "tickets" at this event. The tickets are free and first come, first served, and give you a guaranteed place in the signing line. You can pick them up at our register. We can hold signing line tickets over the phone only with the simultaneous purchase of one or more of Jeanette Winterson's books. Members in Skylight's Friends with Benefits program will get a special ticket for priority in the signing line (members go first) and will also receive 20% off Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, as with all event books each month.
Jeanette Winterson's novels have established her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally bestselling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life's work to find happiness. It's a book
full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.
It is the story of how a painful past that Jeanette thought she'd written over and repainted rose to haunt her, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging--for love, identity, home, and a mother.
"Shattering, brilliant . . . There is a sense at the end of this brave, funny, heartbreaking book that Winterson has somehow reconciled herself to the past. Without her adoptive mother, she wonders what she would be—Normal? Uneducated? Heterosexual?—and she doesn't much fancy the prospect. . . . She might have been happy and normal, but she wouldn't have been Jeanette Winterson. Her childhood was ghastly,
as bad as Dickens's stint in the blacking factory, but it was also the crucible for her incendiary talent."—Daisy Goodwin, The Sunday Times (UK)
"Unconventional, ambitious . . . The experience of reading Why Be Happy is unusually visceral. Winterson confronts her actions, personality quirks, even sexuality, with a kind of violence, as if forcing herself to be honest. . . . The prose is often breathtaking: witty, biblical, chatty, and vigorous all at once."—Emily Stokes, Financial Times
"An extraordinary tragic-comic literary autobiography."—Mark Lawson, The Guardian (Best Book of 2011)