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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
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The shocking, heart-breaking - and often very funny - true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

About the Author

Jeanette Winterson OBE was born in Manchester. Adopted by Pentecostal parents she was raised to be a missionary. This did and didn't work out. Discovering early the power of books she left home at 16 to live in a Mini and get on with her education. After graduating from Oxford University she worked for a while in the theatre and published her first novel at 25. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is based on her own upbringing but using herself as a fictional character. She scripted the novel into a BAFTA-winning BBC drama. 27 years later she re-visited that material in the bestselling memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? She has written 10 novels for adults, as well as children's books, non-fiction and screenplays. She writes regularly for the Guardian. She lives in the Cotswolds in a wood and in Spitalfields, London. She believes that art is for everyone and it is her mission to prove it.

Reviews

"What would it have meant to be happy? What would it have meant if things had been bright, clear, good between us?" Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit) asks of her relationship with her adoptive mother, questions that haunt this raw memoir to its final pages. Winterson first finds solace in the Accrington Public Library in Lancashire, where she stumbles across T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral and begins to cry: "the unfamiliar and beautiful play made things bearable that day." She is asked to leave the library for crying and sits on the steps in "the usual northern gale" to finish the book. The rest is history. Highly improbably for a woman of her class, she gets into Oxford and goes on to have a very successful literary career. But she finds that literature-and literary success-can only fulfill so much in her. There's another ingredient missing: love. The latter part of the book concerns itself with this quest, in which Winterson learns that the problem is not so much being gay (for which her mother tells her "you'll be in Hell") as it is in the complex nature of how to love anyone when one has only known perverse love as a child. This is a highly unusual, scrupulously honest, and endearing memoir. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Unforgettable... It's the best book I have ever read about the cost of growing up. -- Daisy Goodwin * Sunday Times *
A searingly felt and expressed autobiography...Funny and profoundly hopeful - a tale of survival -- Kate Hamer * Metro *
This book is good, sensible, beautiful company... Try this -- A.L. Kennedy * Week *
Jeanette Winterson's writing is poetic, emotive and beautiful * So Many Books So Little Time (blog) *
Incredibly moving and full of Winterson's characteristic wit. * Elle *

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