Thursday, 5 October 2017

Book Club: North of Normal

North Of Normal: A Memoir Of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, And How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person
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Book: North of Normal
Author: Cea Sunrise Person

Sex, drugs and . . . bug stew? An utterly compelling tale of survival—of nature, family and genetics.
In the late 1960s, riding the crest of the counterculture movement, Cea’s family left a comfortable existence in California to live off the land in northern Alberta. But unlike most commune dwellers of the time, the Persons weren’t trying to build a new society—they wanted to escape civilization altogether. Led by Cea’s grandfather Dick, they lived in a canvas Teepee, grew pot, and hunted and gathered to survive.

 Living out her grandparents’ dream with her teenage mother, Michelle, young Cea knew little of the world beyond her forest. She spent her summers playing nude in the meadow and her winters snowshoeing behind the grandfather she idolized. Despite fierce storms, food shortages and the occasional drug-and-sex-infused party for visitors, it was a happy existence. For Michelle, however, there was one crucial element missing: a man. When Cea was five, Michelle took her on the road with a new boyfriend. As the trio set upon a series of ill-fated adventures, Cea began to question both her highly unusual world and the hedonistic woman at the centre of it—questions that eventually evolved into an all-consuming search for a more normal life. Finally, in her early teens, Cea realized she would have to make a choice as drastic as the one her grandparents once had made in order to get the life she craved.

From nature child to international model by the age of thirteen, Cea’s astonishing saga is one of long-held family secrets and extreme family dysfunction, all in an incredibly unusual setting. It is also the story of one girl’s deep-seated desire for normality—a desire that enabled her to risk everything, overcome adversity and achieve her dreams.

What I Have To Say:
This was a compelling read. Cea does a great job of sharing her unconventional childhood, and in a way that makes you want to keep reading. While it was an interesting read, there were also points that were sad and made you really feel for this child. This is a memoir, but the characters and experiences  are so out there, it's hard to believe they aren't made up.  
Final Verdict:
Fascinating is the best way to describe this book.  


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