North of Normal

North of Normal

Book - 2014
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Sex, drugs and . . . bug stew? 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 Dick, they lived in a canvas Teepee, grew pot, and hunted and gathered to survive.

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 was a happy existence. For Michelle, however, 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 made in order to get the life she craved.

From nature child to international model by the age of thirteen, 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.

Publisher: Toronto, ON. : HaperCollins Publishers, 2014
ISBN: 9781443424370
Branch Call Number: 746.9 PER 2014
Characteristics: 301 pages, 8 pages of unnumbered plates : colour illustrations


From Library Staff

A powerful memoir of a traumatic childhood. SCL library was pleased to host Vancouver based Cea Sunrise Person at our fall feast of Words event in 2017.

From the critics

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Aug 14, 2018

I read this incredible memoir it’s like Wild meets The Glass Castle in the Canadian Rockies!
Also lucky to heard her speak in person-thanks to SCL!

Jul 07, 2018

I saw this book on the shelf as a "Staff Pick" and it piqued my interest. So glad I read this book as the story was quite amazing and a true testament to the resilience and coping skills of children.

May 29, 2018

13 Library copies

Apr 10, 2018

I really enjoyed this autobiography of the author's amazing upbringing. I did feel the author rushed it along as she got older, skipping huge chunks of time.

Feb 24, 2018

This book is fantastic. I love reading memoirs and this one did not disappoint. Highly recommend. Compelling story and well written.

Sep 25, 2017

Our Art Lovers Book Club ended up giving this a 5 out of 10. It seems to be a book you either love or hate, with some rating the book as high as an 8 and some giving it just a 1 or a 2. Of course, books that have such diverse opinions are sometimes the best to discuss, which was definitely the case with this title.

Jul 31, 2017

Impossible to put down. This true story captured my attention from the first paragraph and the Canadian setting held my interest. Her journey is difficult and amazing. A fantastic read!

May 16, 2017

Wow, what a story and I am so surprised that she survived such a childhood. A very good read. From such a humble upbringing she sure had an adventurous life. I am glad that her life took such a turn, modelling in Europe and now she is married to a wonderful man with a family of her own. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a different good book to read.

Feb 14, 2017

They lived a real hippie life in the bush in Alberta and BC, many places I recognized which made it interesting.
Cea did a good job describing her dysfunctional family and wild wilderness childhood.
Book made me smile at times.
A good read.

Feb 12, 2017

A very interesting read. Amazing, unbelievable stories. Even after reading the book, I still have no idea how anyone could have survived. Hard to believe she has even more to tell in her follow up book. Looking forward to checking it out as well.

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Feb 14, 2017

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Nov 02, 2014

natalieruhl thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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