Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette Winterson. Grove, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2010-6
“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.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2011
Release date: 03/01/2012
Show other formats
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-8021-2087-8
Paperback - 978-1-4458-8404-2
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4464-0211-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4692-8272-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-8273-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4915-7750-9
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-986-5829-32-2
Book - 978-1-4692-1228-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-307-40125-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-0195-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4692-0193-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4692-0192-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-0194-8
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-307-40126-7
Hardcover - 230 pages - 978-0-224-09345-3
Hardcover - 230 pages - 978-0-307-40124-3
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-8021-9475-6
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-0-09-955609-1
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.