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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
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (320 ratings)

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North of Normal cover art

North of Normal

Written by: Cea Sunrise Person
Narrated by: Cea Sunrise Person
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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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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.

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6 people 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🙏

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Outstanding book

This is a great story, well written and performed by the author Cea Sunrise Person. She really brings to life the spirit of the times (the 70’s) with her unconventional, pot-smoking , promiscuous who took her to live in the wilderness of Canada’s north. Some reviewers say the language is too graphic snd the mother was just awful but there is much more nuance to this story than that. Cea Person is a courageous, intelligent woman who wrote from her heart and didn’t shy away from the tough stuff. She didn’t sugarcoat it and for me it made her story very authentic and real. I loved the book and am now going to read her next book. Her narration, which isn’t that of a professional narrator, adds to the authenticity of the book and has its own charm to listen to. I didn’t want it to end, that’s how much I enjoyed this book.

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3 people found this helpful

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Inspiring!

I couldn’t stop listening, this book is an unbelievable story of Cea’s life. The way she overcame everything in her path to where she is today, is… just… wow! She is inspiring.

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2 people found this helpful

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Great Memoir

What a crazy life she led. Very interesting and captivating. Makes me really appreciate what I have and for my “normal” childhood. Highly recommend!

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Struck a FEW cords❤️

This story was captivating from beginning to end! Truly GRATEFUL for the GREATEST lesson for me is …MY Mom did her BEST!
Also a great reminder that letting go and forgiveness is exactly the healing I need!

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1 person found this helpful

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Wow! Amazing true story.

This book will hook you from the beginning. It is so raw and intense. I grew up in a home much the same except I had 2 alcoholic parents that stayed together almost to the end. Cea is an amazing writer, don’t miss out on this one.

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Fantastic!

One of the most incredible and unique stories I’ve ever heard! It was a joy and a wonder from start to finish!

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WELL DONE; COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN

I really enjoyed this book and was shocked to hear about the lack of good safe parenting provided for the writer. Amazing that she carved out her own different niche despite her upcoming, but as depicted, some of her experiences provided her with a toolbox she needed to do this; others of course have support systems they can rely on. I enjoyed the author reading the book as it increased its' authenticity for me. Cea is a very forgiving person (no pun intended), and captured the strengths and weaknesses of many of her family members. Thank you for sharing your unusual journey and I am very happy that you eventually found love and true freedom defining YOUR own boundaries.

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Trauma of a child who didn’t deserve

Fascinating. Close to home memories. Some women who give birth are not worthy of the title mom.

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