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“Normal Family by Don Trowden is a novel that reads like a memoir. But this one — because it’s fiction — is funny, and made me laugh out loud.
“All I ever wanted was a normal family — whatever that might be — free from the constant insanity and fighting, to be raised in a supportive environment along the lines of what I saw in other respectable homes,” young Henry, our protagonist, tells us. “Why was my family so bizarre? Had I been secretly adopted? Was I being punished for the sins of some previous life?”
Henry’s grandfather had a bomb shelter next to his New England home, “a subterranean hideout where he frequently slipped away for solitude and gin.” His mother suffered from depression, but each person in the family had quirks. “My mother, brother and grandfather were similar in one significant way — each had little use for other people. Each had an investigative mind, the scientist’s mind. Input from others was always wrong; no one could possibly do anything as well as they could.”
The book has tender moments surrounded by hilarity, along with some wonderful one-liners: “Albert (his brother) had drolly remarked our mother was someone who preferred to burn her bridges before she got on them”; “Grandpa swerved up the lawn looking like Frankenstein in search of unsuspecting villagers.”
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Trade Paperback, 250 pages; ISBN: 978-0-9979137-3-6
New! Volume Three
Normal Family Trilogy
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"I loved Normal Family. It is tragi-comic at times which is not always easy to do. And whilst I was reading it those around me asked what book I was reading because of the range of emotions it incited in me.
Some of it rang so true, it left me wondering how much was (auto)biographical and/or observed. I liked the writing too and the author's voice definitely spoke to me: authenticity. So if none of it is authentic he is a damned good writer.... The book is still with me.
It manages to be really good fun, and deal with deeper, more serious issues almost simultaneously."
All the Lies We Live
The exciting conclusion to the Normal Family Trilogy opens on a remote New England island, with a hurricane looming, as Henry Pendergast and family gather to celebrate his 80th birthday.
Henry and his sister Lucy have overcome many hurdles over the years. Each has broken free to create a healthy adult life, in a remarkable display of perseverance. All the Lies We Live brings together Henry, Lucy, Chloé, their distant cousin Sasha, plus Henry’s former therapist Jim Williams. We see that Chloé is a tragic character, who needs help to find love again. Love arrives toward the end of her life in the most unexpected of places, with the appearance of the charming local lobsterman, Wilbur Warren.
Henry and his grandson, Lakshmi, share a special love that harkens back to the innocence of Henry as a child and his relationship with his grandfather, George. A hurricane threatens to ruin Henry’s island celebration, as well as his relationship with Lakshmi. Will there be yet more family tragedy at novel’s end, as seen in the first two volumes? Or will Henry overcome the setbacks that have wounded him for much of his life and achieve his own dreams?
The concluding volume of the trilogy brings together an affable cast of determined octogenarians still pursuing their dreams. Funny, sad, and filled with the beautiful scenery of a remote island off the coast of Maine, the theme throughout is redemption through love. Nature is a constant backdrop and serves as the central metaphor for the trilogy: that all life is a series of beginnings and endings, a perfectly architected cycle, as seen in the trilogy’s own structure. Normal Family Volume One HERE.
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