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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