North Of Normal: A Memoir Of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, And How I Survived…

Paperback | September 30, 2016

byCea Sunrise Person

not yet rated|write a review

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.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$8.00 online
$22.99 list price
Out of stock online
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

Sex, drugs and . . . bug stew? An utterly compelling tale of survival—of nature, family and geneticsIn 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 tryin...

Cea Sunrise Person, now a happily married mother of three, supported herself from age thirteen to thirty-one as an international model, working primarily in Europe. She now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

other books by Cea Sunrise Person

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:September 30, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443424382

ISBN - 13:9781443424387

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspired by this story A page-turner, life of a little girl in the wood, seen throught the eyes of a child
Date published: 2016-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly inspiring story of resilience and strength An a amazing and very eye opening memoire to the many different paths and realities we all learn to know as life.
Date published: 2015-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Captivating read Sooooo fascinating! I could hardly wait to find out how in the world the author ended up "normal" enough to write a book, but enjoyed the narrative along the way so much that I wasn't impatient to get to the end.
Date published: 2015-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing What a great story. I would have never thought people lived like this This in the woods. Just kept on wanting to read more
Date published: 2015-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I am from a very dysfunctional family growing up very poor however in the city and i did live in a flat in Montreal. I could relate to the emotions significantly. Thank you for telling your story. I think about putting mine to paper some day.
Date published: 2015-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from North of normal This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I read alot. Cea's story is truly stranger than fiction and I wanted to take that little girl in my arms and truly give her "normal". Bravo for telling us your story.
Date published: 2015-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Amazing story of a complex life and the author's way through it. A true page turner. What a remarkable life!
Date published: 2015-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put it down! Read this book over a long weekend! Such a great read and an inspiring author. I have recommended it to a few friends and family since!
Date published: 2015-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such an Exciting Journey! I love this book! From the moment I picked it up I could not put it down! Cea takes you on a journey that most could not even imagine let alone live.
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from North of Normal Okay, this is a tremendously full life that seems to be so far removed from normal, definitely north. Enjoyable to read, thanks for sharing, glad I didn't have to live it with you.
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book I absolutely loved reading this book I could barely put it down when it was time to go to sleep.I wish I was reading it again for the first time. Sometimes I was cringing when I knew she might be in trouble but she always got past stuff that I'm not sure I could of.How anyone can put they're child through this is beyond me. If you want a book that you can totally lose your self in .....this is the book...........thanks Cea Sunrise Person for writing this.
Date published: 2015-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! Could not put this book down. Loved the way it was written. If you loved "The Glass Castle" - you'll love this book. Definitely worth reading.
Date published: 2015-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from North of normal Extremely interesting. What a childhood experience, life learning Lessons of life and survival. Not easy but the end sometimes justifies the means. Good job. Glad you are at pease. Thanks
Date published: 2015-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from North of Normal This book about a chaotic family life was wrtten with an honesty and vulnerability. The multy layerd individuals were portrayed with their flaws and beauty a great read.
Date published: 2015-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it ! I didn't know what to expect when I got this book, so I kept an open mind. Once I opened it, I simply couldn't put it down..always wanting to know more of how things turned out. This book touched many subjects that made me reflect on my own childhood,and my own path. A truly, inspirationnal read !
Date published: 2015-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable and Incredible I gave this book FIVE BRGHT and GLOWING stars because I was so absorbed in this true life survival story. It is so well written. I became a prisoner to this book because I could not escape it's content until I finished the last sentence, in just two sittings. Cea wrote her story as if she was sitting beside the reader and telling her gripping story in person. Cea Person's childhood was as complex as it was heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time. The book reveals how adult lifestyles and relationships can emotionally harm a child without any bad intent. The experiences of living in the Alberta wilderness with a family who's bizarre values were extreme and was also dangerous and selfish - BUT Cea survived beyond belief. A child this strong deserves to live a long and happy life. The ending is a happy one.
Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Wow. Crazy life. Really enjoyed this book. Hard to imagine someone growing up in those conditions. Cea is a tough woman!
Date published: 2015-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from North of normal What an incredible adventure we went on. Loved this book. Life is betr than fiction. Cant make this stuff up
Date published: 2015-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring story of perseverance. An eye opener to what Cea had experienced living the life of “freedom” a la hippie style. Author deals greatly with the relationships of family members and the values placed on such relationships or lack thereof. Makes you realize how irreplaceable strong foundation in a family is and how vital it is to have a place to call home. The book concentrates on her childhood she does not talk much about her modeling experience nor her adult life. It ends rather quickly as if she wanted to finish the book due to exhaustion thinking about her past. Overall I was impressed with her strength and will to move on trying to overcome the past. Thank you Cea for sharing your experience! Great read.
Date published: 2014-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I bought this book last week and could not put it down. Great read, highly recommend!
Date published: 2014-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great writer, disturbing I read this book for a book club, and it was certainly not a book I would've chosen to read. The writer is very good at describing things in a unbiased way from her view as an adult looking back on her childhood. Many of the things that occurred in her childhood, however, were very disturbing and sad. Makes me wonder how many kids there are living that type of life today.
Date published: 2014-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Read I really enjoyed this book. Amazing life Cea experienced.
Date published: 2014-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down My sister recommended this book to me and I am so glad she did. It was such a well written memoir. I couldn't believe the resilience of the author. I think I finished it in 3 days because I couldn't put it down. Read this book!!
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is an inspiring story about a young girl's challenging relationship with her family, and her inner motivation to be true to herself. This amazing real-life story is told by Cea Person with honesty and integrity. Her unique history unfolds as her family decides to raise her in the wilderness. We are taken on a journey with Cea as she recalls and shares her unique experiences, family dynamics and a life that is shocking at times. What we take with us is her inspiring determination to create a life for herself that true to who she is. This book is hard to put down and will stay with you like a true life experience ..... a must read.
Date published: 2014-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW!! An incredible story told by a courageous and determined Person! We couldn't put this memoir down - a courageous and brave little girl determined to find "normal" ... We were touched and amazed at the story-telling from the POV of a child forced into a dysfunctional adult-world in the middle of the wilderness - congrats Cea on sharing with us an emotional, thoughtful and life-changing experience - the book makes you appreciate the normal we sometimes take for granted.
Date published: 2014-05-18

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

“Her account of this Alice-in-Wonderland life is rendered with . . . grace, and without self-pity.”