Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jeanette’s birth mother, Ann was just sixteen and working in a factory when she got pregnant. After six months of raising Jeanette in a home for mothers and babies, Ann chose to give Jeanette up for adoption. One of ten children, Ann and her large family embrace Jeanette once she finds them again—Ann tells Jeanette that she was “always wanted,” confirming what Ria told Jeanette months earlier. Ann is warm, welcoming, and funny, and both interested in and sorry for Jeanette’s difficult childhood and adolescence. In the book’s coda, Jeanette describes her burgeoning relationship with Ann—the two of them are similar in some ways but very different in others, and though Jeanette thinks that Ann “would like [Jeanette] to let [her] be [her] mother,” Jeanette is “wary” of believing she has lucked into an “instant family.” Jeanette, at the book’s end, does not know exactly how she feels about Ann, and has “no idea what happens next.”

Ann S. Quotes in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

The Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? quotes below are all either spoken by Ann S. or refer to Ann S.. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? published in 2012.
Coda Quotes

I am interested in nature/nurture. I notice that I hate Ann criticizing Mrs. Winterson. She was a monster but she was my monster.

Related Characters: Ann S.
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ann S. Character Timeline in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

The timeline below shows where the character Ann S. appears in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13: This Appointment Takes Place In The Past
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
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...Jeanette develops a cover story and calls the man, who tells her that her mother, Ann, is alive. Jeanette, whose “whole identity [has been] built around being an orphan,” now has... (full context)
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...arrives several days later with a baby photo of Jeanette enclosed. The letter explains that Ann was sixteen when she got pregnant, looked after Jeanette for six weeks after her birth,... (full context)
Chapter 14: Strange Meeting
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Ruth Rendell calls Jeanette, and tells her to “go [meet Ann] and get it over with.” Jeanette, who trusts Ruth and always listens to her, agrees.... (full context)
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On the way to Ann’s, Jeanette speaks to Susie on the phone. She is nervous as she travels through the... (full context)
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Ann knows about Jeanette’s life already, she says.  Jeanette sent Ann a DVD copy of Oranges,... (full context)
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Ann is “straightforward and kind,” and this baffles Jeanette, who believes “a female parent is meant... (full context)
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Ann asks Jeanette if Mrs. Winterson had been a “latent lesbian,” and Jeanette nearly chokes on... (full context)
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...to go. Though her new family has proven easy to talk to, she is exhausted. Ann embraces her and tells her how grateful she is that Jeanette has found her. Jeanette... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Wound
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Jeanette writes that Ann “had to sever some part of herself to let [Jeanette] go.” Jeanette says that she... (full context)
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Jeanette feels she has “worked from the wound” all her life, and now, with Ann in her life, Jeanette recognizes that Ann too is and has been wounded. Mrs. Winterson,... (full context)
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Ann tells Jeanette that she ordered Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit from the library, and... (full context)
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...[and] Forgiveness.” She believes that forgiveness “redeems the past [and] unblocks the future,” and forgives Ann for throwing her from the wreckage of her own life into another unknowable, unforeseeable kind... (full context)
Coda
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Jeanette still doesn’t know how she feels about having found Ann. She says that “the TV-style reunions and pink mists of happiness” that often surround adoption... (full context)
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Jeanette describes having met Ann for a second time in Manchester, one-on-one. At their lunch, Ann reveals that Jeanette’s father... (full context)
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Jeanette believes that Ann would like her to “let [Ann] be [her] mother,” but Jeanette does not feel that... (full context)
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Jeanette struggles with the fact that Ann is her mother, but “also someone [she doesn’t] know at all.” Jeanette does not feel... (full context)
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Ann comes to London, a move that Jeanette describes as a “mistake.” The two fight, and... (full context)