Book Connection: Why be Happy if you Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

This isn’t a book review–it’s a book connection.  I don’t know how to review a book.  I either connect to a book or I don’t.  So far I’ve devoured all of Jeanette Winterson’s novels: Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry, Written on the Body, The Passion–the list goes on.  Why be Happy of you Could Be Normal is an autobiography so I didn’t quite know what to expect.  In fact it has a lot of what I think of as Jeanette Winterson elements such as references to a vast variety of literature and poetry.  It is an adoption story which is probably why I’m drawn to her in the first place–being adopted myself.  “Adopted children are self-invented because we have to be; there is an absence, a void, a question mark at the beginning of our lives.”  I was adopted because my birth mother gave me away–left me in the care of someone else.  In my case it was a far better situation to have been adopted.  Not so for Jeanette.  I write about how I found my birth family here.  Do all adopted children have abandonment issues?  It’s likely that we do.  Jeanette also confronts her desire to love and be loved even though her adoptive family was a far cry from a role model.  She understands her desire to be for other women.  Certainly in all her novels Jeanette plays with sexuality and gender roles–another thing that I love about her.  She’s like Virginia Wolf on steroids.

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8 Responses to Book Connection: Why be Happy if you Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

  1. Lori says:

    I don’t know, if it is just an adopted persons issue, I think we all have that But at the same time it is good to know we have it and be able to work through it

  2. Ah childhood…it leaves us with a LOT of souvenirs, doesn’t it. Talk about the “formative years.” But, I would think it would be impossible to be an adopted child and not have, as you said, that question mark hanging over you.

  3. veronica lee says:

    So far, all the adopted friends I know do have abandonment issues. I think I would too, if I knew I were adopted.

  4. Ameena says:

    I agree that I think we all – to some extent – have abandonment issues. But I admire you for getting through yours with relative ease…not too many people in your shoes could do the same.

  5. LDiggitty says:

    My best friend and her sister were both adopted from different birth parents. It’s interesting to see how differently they interpret their lives through the lens of adoption – my friend is almost defiantly grateful for her adoptive parents, and has no desire to know anything about her biological family. Her sister has some pretty intense abandonment issues.

    I’ll definitely have to read this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Vivian says:

    I was not completely adopted, my step father adopted me and raised me. My family never realised that I did not remember this. I was very upset when I found out that he was not my bio father. Sometimes I think people have too much of an expectation when it comes to loving biological parents. I simply dislike my bio father and get tired of family members expecting me to have a relationship with him.

  7. momto8blog says:

    wow..sounds like a very serious thought provoking book!

  8. STEW says:

    I don’t know anything about adoption and I consider myself to have had a happy childhood and upbringing. But it seems that many adopted people do have hang ups and I find that quite sad. Jeanette seems to have handled it her way, but it never seems to leaves her. I must get hold of her latest book and try to immerse myself in it. Thanks for your connectivity and words.

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