From the author of the bestselling memoir North of Normal comes the harrowing story of a past that won’t let go, and one woman’s attempt to put her life back together after everything falls apart
In her bestselling memoir North of Normal, Cea wrote with grace about her unconventional childhood—her early years living in a tipi in Alberta with her pot-smoking, free-loving counterculture family. But her struggles do not end when she leaves her family at the age of thirteen to become a model. Honest and daring, Nearly Normal reveals the many ways that Cea’s unconventional childhood continues to reverberate through the years.
At the age of thirty-seven, Cea has built a life that looks like the normal one she craved as a child—husband, young son, beautiful house, enviable career. But her carefully art-directed world is about to crumble around her. As she confronts the death of her still-young mother, the disintegration of her second marriage and the demise of her business, all within a few months, she finally faces the need to look at her past to make sense of her present.
The Globe and Mail says “Person’s best gifts as a writer are her memory, her knack for knowing when to dig down into the finer details of a scene, and when to pull back.” Nearly Normal chronicles the many stories Cea left untold but that needed telling. Settled into a new and much happier life after the release of her first book, she is nonetheless compelled to continue searching for answers about her enigmatic family. She discovers the value in the lessons they taught her, and the power of taking responsibility for her own choices.
CEA SUNRISE PERSON is the author of the bestselling book North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, and How I Survived Both. She has spoken publicly about her unusual life at numerous events, including TEDx, and also teaches memoir writing. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and three children.
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 the Canadian wilderness. 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 a pot-smoking, free-loving, clothing-optional life under a canvas tipi without running water, electricity, or heat for the bitter winters.
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 seemed to be a mostly happy existence. For Michelle, however, now long separated from Cea’s father, 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 in order to save herself.
While a successful international modeling career offered her a way out of the wilderness, Cea discovered that this new world was in its own way daunting and full of challenges. Containing twenty-four intimate black-and-white family photos, North of Normal is Cea’s funny, shocking, heartbreaking, and triumphant tale of self-discovery and acceptance, adversity, and strength that will leave no reader unmoved.
For the last forty years, award-winning songwriter Linda Thompson has quietly led one of the most remarkable lives in show business. The longtime live-in love of Elvis Presley, Linda first emerged into the limelight during the 1970s when the former beauty pageant queen caught the eye of the King. Their chance late-night encounter at a movie theater was the stuff of legend, and it marked the beginning of a whirlwind that would stretch across decades, leading to a marriage with Bruce Jenner, motherhood, and more drama than she ever could have imagined.
Now, for the first time, Linda opens up about it all, telling the full story of her life, loves, and everything in between. From her humble beginnings in Memphis to her nearly five-year relationship with Elvis, she offers an intimate window into their life together, describing how their Southern roots fueled and sustained Graceland’s greatest romance. Going inside their wild stories and tender moments, she paints a portrait of life with the King, as raucous as it is refreshing. But despite the joy they shared, life with Elvis also had darkness, and her account also presents an unsparing look at Elvis’s twin demons—drug abuse and infidelity—forces he battled throughout their time together that would eventually end their relationship just eight months before his untimely death.
It was in the difficult aftermath of Elvis’s death that Linda found what she believed was her true home: the arms of Olympic gold medal—winner Bruce Jenner. Detailing her marriage to Bruce, Linda reveals the seemingly perfect life that they built with their two young sons—Brandon and Brody—before Bruce changed everything with a secret he’d been carrying his entire life, a secret that Linda herself kept for nearly thirty years, a secret that Bruce’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner has finally laid bare for the world. Providing a candid look inside one of the most challenging moments of her life, Linda uncovers the struggles she went through as a woman and a mother, coming to terms with the reality of Bruce’s identity and resolving to embrace him completely no matter what, even as it meant they could no longer be together.And yet, despite her marriage unraveling, her search for love was not over, eventually leading her to the legendary music producer and musician David Foster—a relationship that lasted for nineteen tumultuous years, resulting in a bond that spurred her songwriting career to new heights but also tested her like never before. Filled with compelling and poignant stories and sixteen pages of photographs, A Little Thing Called Life lovingly recounts Linda’s incredible journey through the years, bringing unparalleled insight into three legendary figures.
Every orphan comes with a story. Every journalist has a story that stays with them. And everyone has the power to make a difference.
From rural Queensland to rural China, China Baby Love is the story of moving mountains, one shovel at a time. Former foreign correspondent and host of ABC TV's ‘One Plus One', Jane Hutcheon introduces us to Linda Shum, a not-so-ordinary grandmother and widow from Gympie whose compassion for China's forgotten children inspired her to create an unlikely empire.
The story of COAT (Chinese Orphans Assistance Team) and Linda's quest to help orphans, many with multiple disabilities, reveals the hidden human aftermath of the One-Child Policy. A tentative visit to an orphanage in a small Chinese city turned into many over a period of twenty years. Linda's curiosity transformed into sheer determination to battle superstition, bureaucracy and a constant lack of funds, to found foster homes and a special needs school that has transformed hundreds of lives, including her own.
What Jane intended as a five-minute ‘human interest' segment in a news broadcast inspired an unexpected friendship and the writing of a book that would take Jane back to China. Through the story of Linda Shum's life and work, Jane gets to the heart of some painful truths behind modern Chinese families living in a one-party state.
Zakia and Ali were from different tribes, but they grew up on neighboring farms in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. By the time they were young teenagers, Zakia, strikingly beautiful and fiercely opinionated, and Ali, shy and tender, had fallen in love. Defying their families, sectarian differences, cultural conventions, and Afghan civil and Islamic law, they ran away together only to live under constant threat from Zakia’s large and vengeful family, who have vowed to kill her to restore the family’s honor. They are still in hiding.
Despite a decade of American good intentions, women in Afghanistan are still subjected to some of the worst human rights violations in the world. Rod Nordland, then the Kabul bureau chief of the New York Times, had watched these abuses unfold for years when he came upon Zakia and Ali, and has not only chronicled their plight, but has also shepherded them from danger.
The Lovers will do for women’s rights generally what Malala’s story did for women’s education. It is an astonishing story about self-determination and the meaning of love that illustrates, as no policy book could, the limits of Western influence on fundamentalist Islamic culture and, at the same time, the need for change.