Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson is one of those memoirs, like The Glass Castle written by another Jeannette but with the last name Walls, that leaves you feeling flabbergasted, angry, and sad at the way grown folks who choose to become parents treat their children. In the case of Winterson, she is the adoptive daughter of a woman whom she refers to as Mrs. Winterson. Jeanette writes: “Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home–they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space.”
I don’t usually gravitate towards psychological thrillers. I’m unsure about the reason. I enjoy them, even if a majority of the time I figure out the plot before it’s revealed. Things unfolded slowly and kept me guessing. The only part that felt rushed to me is the obligatory explanation of the villain’s backstory. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but it explained a lot and allowed for the book to progress as it did.
It’s no wonder Harris’s soul looks back. Through a romance with Sam, a colleague more than ten years her senior, she ran in the same circles as Sam’s best friend James (Jimmy) Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.