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Book of the week

This compelling book tells the story of a young girl's deep-seeded desire for normalcy.
North of Normal

Book: North of Normal: A memoir of my wilderness childhood, my counterculture family, and how I survived both

Recommended by: Paula Benson, Okotoks Public Library circulation and technical services supervisor

Description: An utterly compelling tale of survival--of nature, family and genetics

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 northern Alberta. 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, they lived in a canvas Teepee, grew pot and hunted and gathered to survive.

Living out her grandparents' dream with her teenage mother, 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 was a happy existence. 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.

From nature child to international model by the age of 13, Cea's astonishing saga is one of long-held family secrets and extreme family dysfunction, all in an incredibly unusual setting. It is also the story of one girl's deep-seated desire for normality-a desire that enabled her to risk everything, overcome adversity and achieve her dreams.

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