Jeanette Winterson: Why be Happy when you can be Normal?


Jeanette Winterson books saw me through my angsty late teen years into early adulthood in university. This was such a poignant great read. I have in fact read all of her books. The first being Oranges are not the only fruits, that I related to at so many levels as an angry adolescent in my late teens… 18 I think when I was seeking my own solace and answers in literature, poetry and words.

I went on to read all of Jeanette Winterson’s other books (except the children fiction) and it always felt so raw, honest and articulated so much of my own emotional baggage. I always felt like she was just sitting across the table as I listened to every word and meditated over it and how it so perfectly articulated my own feelings, my search for a sense of belonging and mending the wounded inner child as I know it today.

This is a brilliant read on family, relationships and making sense of “lost loss”, accepting and reconciling the reality of past and present, which is at once, tragic, happy, sad and funny at the same time.

“So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say how it is.

Jeanette Winterson

It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.”

“The next day my father’s coffin was carried into the church I broke down. I had not been in that church for thirty five years and suddenly everything was present again; the old present.” 

“The pursuit of happiness is more elusive, it is life long and not goal-centered. What you are pusuing is meaning – a meaningful life. The fate the draw that is yours and it isn’t fixed, but changing the course of the stream thats going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive , on your own terms, is better then living a bloated half-life on someone else’s terms.
The pursuit isn’t all or nothing – it’s ALL and NOTHING.”

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