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North of Normal

A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both
Written by: Cea Sunrise Person
Narrated by: Cea Sunrise Person
Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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. North of Normal is Cea's funny, shocking, heartbreaking, and triumphant tale of self-discovery and acceptance, adversity, and strength that will leave no listener unmoved.

©2014 Cea Sunrise Person (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent. Power through adversity.

I loved it. it's a true story written through the eyes of a child as she tries to comprehend the crazy world around her. Written for all of us who feel our childhood was the craziest. Adult reading with adult situations. I could not put this book down and I'm glad that I didn't. Well done Cia, well done.

2 people found this helpful

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A good story

but Educated by Sara Westover is better written and more compelling. If like me, you spent your credit on this and didn't return it fast enough, then you may as well not waste your credit and listen to it. The story is okay....different way for a young girl to grow up. Somewhat akin to Glass Castle, another memoire about growing up through neglect or child abuse. Glass Castle is a really good read too. Choose it or Educated over this book

1 person found this helpful

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Thank You

This book has been written from a place of a gracious heart. I appreciate the authors courage and ability to hold the vision for good in her life regardless of the obstacles she faced. Her love for self inspires me greatly.
Thank you for digging deep and sharing your story with us🙏

1 person found this helpful

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  • 2020-05-13

glad I listened through

it's difficult to listen to at times. perhaps too raw and vulgar. But as Cea's story comes together, as a listener I understand it had to be said this way, as it was. Thank you Cea. I'll be reading (listening) nearly normal.

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Liked it in the end

I had a hard time getting into this book. I found the style of writing bland in the first half.The second half was much more interesting. I appreciate the authors honesty. Overall I liked it.

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An unbelievable childhood !

This book was shocking, sad, beautiful, horrible, and wonderful!
Cea's a survivor of her life!

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Thought provoking

I thought about my own childhood, but mostly I thought about my three kids who I had by 24. I also thought about my three husbands and how it took me three to get it right.
At times I was saddened by this little girl living in the conditions that she did, also the codependency of the mother child relationship.
I have heartened Cea that you have a husband and three children plus a healthy relationship with your father.
It was my kids who put me on to your book while we were on a group text. I look forward to hearing their thoughts on your book and will be ordering Almost normal today.
I wake up each morning looking across the Lower Shuswap at Scotch Creek. Blessings to you and your family.

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What a life

Cea Sunrise Person's recounting of her wild upbringing awakens the spirit for freedom and adventure at the same time it makes one cry out for calm and normalcy. Pearson appears to have risen from her unusual and uncertain early life to achieve her dreams. All with bravery and hope. Bravo!

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Brave lady

I really enjoyed this book. I am amazed that the young girl turned into such a great story teller.
I can’t imagine such a difficult living condition.
In places it was a bit too explicit, but under her circumstances I guess there was no other way to make the readers understand completely her situation. Besides it was normal for her.

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couldn't put it down (turn it off)

This being my first audible book I was amazed at how hard this was to put down(finished in two days), the narration by Cea herself, certainly lent a little extra push to carry on, the pronunciation as she read just kept you wanting to turn the page again and again so to speak.
Having grown up in small town saskatchewan in the same era I can definitely relate to certain aspects of the story good and bad and having lived in alberta and traveled BC for last 30 years recognizing all the places in her story made it feel like you were listening to an old friend tell you a story.
Ones own strength shall not be denied !
Cea my heart aches and rejoices

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  • RBC
  • 2019-05-26

Narrator is terrible.

The narration sounds like a third grader giving a speech. Sing songy and brutal. Impossible to listen to.