Seeking Normal
by Jane St. John 
Trafford Publishing

"Before I learned to tie my shoes, the delicate laces that held my life together began to unravel."

What is normal? "Normal" is nothing but a subjective attempt to classify psychological functioning. The author relates her quest to seek normality, but what she discovers is that such a search is typical for all persons, for normal is only relative to what is abnormal. Throughout a childhood and adulthood of dysfunction, she relates her history of trying to fit in while locked into the extremity of denial, denial which caused her even more trauma. The story begins in the 1950's where she grew up in an upper-middle-class family, with an alcoholic, mentally ill father, a mother in denial, and two older brothers who were already out of the home when she was growing up. Recognizing she was homosexual, she married a man who was bisexual, and discovered he was also a sex addict and pedophile. While enjoying raising her two sons, returning to college and working as a teacher, she found herself sinking into her own difficulties with schizophrenia and depression, disability and medication. Throughout these trials, she continued to seek a healthier life by coping with the trauma and her psychiatric issues, and finally, finding acceptance of her homosexuality.

This is much more interesting and poignant than the back cover of the book reveals. Very well written in both content and style, it is a treatise to the human spirit regarding hope and overcoming adversity. While at times the author does some blaming of her situation on others, she mostly accepts responsibility for her life and her choices. And it must be noted that in the 1950's until the 1980's, society was not so advanced in its thinking and treatment regarding child abuse and mental illness, as well as the limitations of societal mores regarding the acceptance of homosexuality. At times, the story evokes feelings of frustration, sadness, anger, disgust, hope, defeat, grief, excitement, and happiness—all which show the depth of the story and the writing. It is truly a story of one woman's perseverance and her ability to accept that what is normal for her may not be what society values as normal.

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