North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both

North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both

by Cea Sunrise Person


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North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person

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.

While a successful international modeling career offered her a way out of the wilderness, Cea discovered that this new world was in its own way daunting and full of challenges. Containing twenty-four intimate black-and-white family photos, North of Normal is Cea’s funny, shocking, heartbreaking, and triumphant tale of self-discovery and acceptance, adversity, and strength that will leave no reader unmoved.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062289865
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/24/2014
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

CEA SUNRISE PERSON is the author of the bestselling book North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, and How I Survived Both. She has spoken publicly about her unusual life at numerous events, including TEDx, and also teaches memoir writing. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and three children.

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North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
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. 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.
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