North of Normal

You Should Read This Book If: you’re wondering what its like to live in the wilderness.

Non-Fiction.

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Breaking conventual norms is something everyone thinks about. Even if it’s just once. Living in a modern world where everything revolves around technology, the idea of being far out and removed seems exceptionally enticing. The memoir of Cea Sunrise Pearson delivers an incredible account of what it’s like to leave society as is, grow up in the wilderness (teepee and all), then reintegrate. I must say, this book left me speechless and in awe. It’s not so much a how-to guide or even a vivid description of unchartered territory. What this book really is, is a meditation on the hippie movement, familial relations, consumer culture and what it means to come into one’s own regardless of your location in the world.

Quotes:

“He had long debates about the state of the American psyche with his comrades. “Folks don’t own houses,” he loved to say. “Houses own folks. Once you’re beholden to an institute of finance, you may as well just put yourself in prison and throw away the key for good”

“Welcome this, he said to me, for life lessons come by experience and not by chatter”

“The truth was, I had successfully created the appearance of my dream–beautiful from the outside, and perfectly hollow within. It was an illusion I knew would have to be completely shattered to be rebuilt in reality, but the idea of doing so was scarier than anything I’d ever faced”

“I had survived too much to let anything as mundane as financial stress and domestic discord stop me from achieving my dreams. I wasn’t going to be the one to fail the legacy of my family. The Pearsons may have their share of craziness and weaknesses, but they never lacked courage in their convictions or allowed themselves to be derailed by fear”

“Since leaving my second husband, my financial situation had become so desperate that I’d even had to pawn my wedding ring to put gas in my car (my friend’s car, actually, as I had left my marriage without even a vehicle) and food in my fridge. But somehow, despite the daily stress of living under an umbrella of constant worry, I was happier than I had ever been. It was as if, for the first time as an adult, I was experiencing real freedom. I often thought about my grandparents, who found their independence only when throwing all things material to the wind, and the irony of our parallel situation was not lost to me”

“This man before me was a throwback to what had once been so popular–a movement toward minimalism, emancipation, and freedom that, for most, had ended with the turning of a decade, maturity, ambition or family obligations. Not so for Papa Dick, my grandfather of innovation and courage”


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