North of Normal is Cea Sunrise Person's own story.
Cea was born to a teenaged mother, living off the grid, in a tepee in the wilderness, alongside her counter-culture grandparents. No electricity, running water, formal schooling and few, if any rules. Drugs were a daily part of the life of the adults around her. The approach to sex and nudity is casual and open. When she is five, Cea's mother Michelle takes her on the road with her latest boyfriend, living a nomadic life. And this life is just as chaotic and unusual. As Cea grows, she begins to question the lifestyle - and yearns for a more 'normal' life. She makes her own way - at thirteen years old.
Wow. The most intriguing, gut-wrenching, amazing stories are not fictional, but those that are true. Cea's upbringing, life and the changes that she herself implements are almost unbelievable. My heart broke for this young girl, who has no idea that her life isn't 'normal' until she grows older. I was torn on my feelings for Michelle. Her hedonistic ways are a product of the way she has been parented. Papa Dick (her father) is the force behind the step back from society. While seeing this as an idyllic lifestyle, he has damaged all four of his children irrevocably.
Person narrates this audiobook herself. And it brings to much to the listening, knowing that she is recounting her own story. Her voice is clear and easy to understand, with a slight gravelly undertone. The emphasis and inflections given to passages and events reflect Cea's reliving and retelling of her life. Listen to an excerpt of North of Normal.
I was entranced by Cea's story from start to finish. Highly recommended. Those who enjoyed The Glass Castle will enjoy Person's memoir. And there's more to Cea's story - it continues in her follow up book, Nearly Normal.