How to Live, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines
“As an accessible primer on reassessing disability and mental health, it’s invaluable, and as an exploration of what it’s like to grow up feeling different, it’s incredibly cathartic.”
Growing up, it didn’t take long for Jonathan Mooney to figure out he was considered not normal. He was a neurodiverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn’t learn to read until he was twelve, and trying to fit into the box of normalcy cost him his education, his sense of self, his friendships—and nearly his life. The realization that he wasn’t broken but the idea of normal was saved Mooney’s life. Framed as a letter to his own sons, Normal Sucks blends memoir, anecdote, and expertise to show us what happens to kids and adults who are trapped in environments that shame them and tell them, in both subtle and heartbreakingly blatant ways, that they are “not normal” and that they are the problem. Diving into the history of the concept, Mooney explores how people in power have used the term normal for centuries to keep diverse and outsider perspectives silent and compassionately investigates the lasting effects of shame, segregation, and oppression. But Mooney also offers hope—and a way forward—arguing that if we can reorient the ways in which we think about diversity and ability, if we can finally admit that “normal sucks,” then we can truly start a revolution. This inspiring book will move and empower us all to embrace and celebrate our differences.
Jonathan Mooney’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, HBO, NPR, and ABC News, and he continues to speak across the nation about neurological and physical diversity, inspiring those who live with differences and advocating for change. His books include The Short Bus and Learning Outside the Lines.