After reading and loving The Distance Between Us last month, I was eager for another, similar story for my next read. I’m partial to memoirs, and, in addition to The Distance Between Us, I also adored The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, which I read years ago on my honeymoon. Both memoirs are stories of turbulent childhoods in which the authors face enormous adversity and eventually rise above it. In my hunt for another memoir like these two, I found North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both. I read it last week and it did not disappoint. From the Amazon description:
Sex, drugs, and . . . bug stew? In the vein of The Glass Castle and Wild, Cea Sunrise Person’s compelling memoir of a childhood spent with her dysfunctional counter-culture family in the Canadian wilderness—a searing story of physical, emotional, and psychological survival.
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 the Canadian wilderness. 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 a pot-smoking, free-loving, clothing-optional life under a canvas tipi without running water, electricity, or heat for the bitter winters.
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 seemed to be a mostly happy existence. For Michelle, however, now long separated from Cea’s father, 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 in order to save herself.
Have you read it? What did you think? I loved it. And now I’m looking for something new to read. I was thinking about this one. (I guess I’m on a memoir kick at the moment). What are you reading? Any recommendations?