Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 January, 2012, 12:00am


Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?
by Jeanette Winterson
Knopf Canada (e-book)

Halfway through the book, readers will find the quote used for its title, 'Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?' That's what Jeanette Winterson's adoptive mother said when the author, at 16, decided to leave home rather than be prevented from loving someone of her own sex. Winterson's lesbianism had previously caused Mrs Winterson (as she is called in the memoir) to arrange an exorcism to drive out the demon she was sure was involved. By this stage, most will be feeling sorry for the author, brought up by a God-fearing depressive who denied her husband sex, and was a crucial reason for her daughter's obsession with love. Winterson, who has chronicled some of her life before, in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, reveals that she began to go mad shortly after her lover of six years left her, and that she tried to commit suicide. Life's dramas continue, with her new partner, psychoanalyst Susie Orbach, and the discovery of her birth mother. The book will exhaust readers but it's one they will find hard to stop reading.