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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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    3 out of 5 stars

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

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 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🙏

2 people found this helpful

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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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Touching and beautifully narrated

I enjoyed this so much that I had to pace myself so I don't finish it too quickly. Broke my heart at times, and opened my mind in others. Cea is such a survivor who takes us on a journey of struggle, and healing. I was so inspired and did a lot of self reflection about my life, my relationship with my family, and who I am as a person.

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Oh Cea, I'm so glad you came so far despite the hardship of growing up structureless and basically without parental guidance, I know how uneasy it can be. I loved the book, thank you!

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Just wow!

I couldn't stop listening...this book was wild! thank you for sharing your life with us!

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Amazing Read

Absolutely loved this book! Great story, beautifully narrated. Highly recommend! I couldn't put it down

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  • 2021-02-06

amazing story

a tremendous amount of vulnerability, struggle and growth in this story! very compelling, and insightful! Bravo!

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Could not stop listening!

Wow, I don't think I have finished an audiobook that fast before. Cea's story is both spell-binding and heart-breaking. I normally don't leave reviews but this book brought me to tears more than once. It reflects the importance and outcomes of (adverse) childhood events in such a detailed way. Would definitely recommend!!!

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  • 2019-05-26

Narrator is terrible.

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