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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette Winterson

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

by Jeanette Winterson

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette Winterson

5 min
3 key insights
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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? follows the story of acclaimed writer Jeanette Winterson's life, highlighting the challenges that the adopted, working-class queer woman had to face in a conservative society.

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

by Jeanette Winterson

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette Winterson

Overview

Jeanette Winterson, author of critically-acclaimed book Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, tells the real-life story behind her most famous novel. Winterson was born in Manchester, in 1959. Her biological mother was 17 at the time and unable to raise her. Winterson was adopted by Jack and Constance Winterson, a Pentecostal family who took care of her with the goal of turning her into a missionary as an adult.

Winterson's new family life was tumultuous. Constance, her adoptive mother, struggled with depression and mania, and she often blamed Jeanette for her unfulfilling life. Mrs. Winterson, who was obsessed with the coming of the Apocalypse, emotionally abused the child and forced her husband to perform harsh physical punishments on her. She was beaten with a belt and left outside to sleep in the cold British winter. This cruel treatment traumatized the little girl. She grew up isolated, with abandonment issues, and fearful of disappointing her mother.

Being a queer woman in a devoutly Christian family meant Winterson was chastized, and ultimately forced to leave home, live in her car, and pursue odd jobs in order to sustain herself financially. In this book, Jeanette Winterson tells her life story as a pursuit of happiness and closure, despite having had a rough upbringing. She delivers heartwarming lessons on the nature of love, attachment, and forgiveness - all of which helped her achieve emotional healing and success.

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Favorite Quote

"The things that I regret in my life are not errors of judgement, but failures of feeling."

Jeanette Winterson

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette Winterson

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