I’ve just read A Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton as part of a Random Things Blog Tour. The quote on the back says, “Absolutely riveting from beginning to end,” and I completely agree. It gets five stars from me.
This memoir is about chaos, addiction, and two little girls brought up in an unconventional household. Chrysta’s father was a sperm donor, and as an adult, she discovers that she has more than 35 siblings.
Even more astonishing is her childhood, which really gripped me from the beginning. Her mother Debra is unlike anyone I have ever come across or read about. She even asked Warren Beatty to father her children! In the first couple of chapters, I struggled to keep up with events but then realised this adds to the narrative. It gave me a glimpse into the chaotic lives of Chrysta and Kaitlin as children, their mother pulling the carpet from under them on numerous occasions, all in a bid to stay loved, sober, solvent and alive.
It’s shocking, heartfelt and even amusing in parts. It could have all ended badly and nearly did on several occasions. I love reading books which give me an insight into a world different to my own, and at times it was so jaw-dropping that I felt I must be reading a brilliant fiction title.
It’s my book of the year so far and is a truly wonderful read. As memoirs go it’s right up there with Educated, the highly-rated survivalist memoir by Tara Westover and Certified, the comedy-drama by Roger Wilson-Crane.
I was gifted the book by the publisher in return for an honest review.