"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."
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Meet Henry Pendergast, the lovable ten-year-old boy doing his best to survive four consecutive holidays in this bittersweet coming-of-age novel.
This first volume in the Normal Family Trilogy introduces us to the crazy cast of characters, each one an obstacle to Henry's core desire to live a normal life. His life is anything but normal and slowly disintegrates with each passing holiday as he does his best to understand the chaos around him. Set against the turmoil of 1968 America, the novel is at turns funny and sad, written in an engaging tone that will pull you in from the first page.
This is the first book in the trilogy. Normal Family covers youth; No One Ran to the Altar covers adulthood, and All The Lies We Live covers old age. Across the sweep of the trilogy we are introduced to many memorable characters, including Henry's self-destructive mother, genius older brother, explorer/author grandfather, and sister Lucy, who perseveres in the end against great odds.
Featuring moments of tenderness surrounded by hilarity, Normal Family is the perfect read for the holidays or any other time when a good laugh is needed. No One Ran to the Altar, Volume Two INFO HERE
“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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