Confessional and often hilarious, in Normal Sucks a neuro-diverse writer, advocate, and father meditates on his life, offering the radical message that we should stop trying to fix people and start empowering them to succeed
Jonathan Mooney blends anecdote, expertise, and memoir to present a new mode of thinking about how we live and learn—individually, uniquely, and with advantages and upshots to every type of brain and body. As a neuro-diverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn't learn to read until he was twelve, the realization that that he wasn’t the problem—the system and the concept of normal were—saved Mooney’s life and fundamentally changed his outlook. Here he explores the toll that being not normal takes on kids and adults when they’re trapped in environments that label them, shame them, and tell them, even in subtle ways, that they are the problem. But, he argues, if we can reorient the ways in which we think about diversity, abilities, and disabilities, we can start a revolution.
A highly sought after public speaker, Mooney has been inspiring audiences with his story and his message for nearly two decades. Now he’s ready to share what he’s learned from parents, educators, researchers, and kids in a book that is as much a survival guide as it is a call to action. Whip-smart, insightful, and utterly inspiring—and movingly framed as a letter to his own young sons, as they work to find their ways in the world—this book will upend what we call normal and empower us all.
|Publisher:||Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Jonathan Mooney’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, HBO, NPR, ABC News, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and he continues to speak across the nation about neurological and physical diversity, inspiring those who live with differences and advocating for change. He is the author of The Short Bus and Learning Outside the Lines.
Table of Contents
I Not Normal 1
II Normal Hasn't Always Been Normal 21
III Abnormal 41
IV Normed 75
V Act Normal 103
VI Normal People Suck 133
VII The New Normal 161
VIII Normal People Are People You Don't Know Very Well 185
This is an interesting and thought-provoking book that at times is flat-out disturbing. The author posits that we are “surrounded by institutions, systems and cultural practices that demand and enforce, ‘normalcy’.” In other words, we are in an age of constant judgment, seeking to align us with or outcast us from the normative. But how useful is this? Why are we so obsessed with labels which subsequently shame those who fall outside the lines of normal? Should reframing the way we think about diversity and abilities be the higher priority? The answer, of course, is yes. The author shares his very raw experiences of being placed on the “wrong” side of the normal lines as a child as he struggled with dyslexia and ADHD. The evolution of “normal” and “abnormal” are examined and it is concluded that “normal” is simply an ambiguous and fluid term, influenced greatly by societal desires. It is not a true concrete form of measurement. It is, according to the author, a “statistical fiction.” The idea of normal sucks is that the concept of normal falsely robs many of their true value. This book is both engaging and insightful.
Both inspiring and infuriating, Normal Sucks is part a history of the pursuit of normal and a memoir about all the ways Jonathan Mooney was failed by the education system and a society that is addicted to the unreachable goal of normal. As the mother of a son who has been labeled not normal, the author's story is both terrifying and ultimately triumphant. It isn't a guide on "How to Live, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines" but more one example of how a person who is labeled as disabled can overcome "dys-teachia" to become a person who is happy with himself. Written as a letter to his sons, Normal Sucks tells the authors story with humor, insight, and compassion.