Book Review: Ten Miles Past Normal

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell.  2011.

It’s hard to be normal when you have to milk goats every morning before school. Or when your mom is a quasi-celebrity who blogs about your family life. And it’s hard to complain about it when it was all your idea.

Janie’s family moved out of town to a small, organic farm a few years ago after Janie made a comment at dinner one night. She had no idea that the dreamy look in her parents’ eyes when she mentioned the words “organic farm” would spark an actual life makeover, and now she is living with the consequences. One of which is her mother’s popular blog about their family’s life on the farm. What teen wants the details of her home life on the Internet? What’s a girl to do but join the school’s Jam Band and learn to play the bass guitar? That’s normal… right?

Of course, Janie learns that normal is just a word, and she is who she is. But it is a complex journey that includes getting arrested (in the name of a school assignment), a boy named Monster (his real name), and her best friend Sarah (not to mention Sarah’s rebellious older sister Emma).

In all honesty, I was bound to like this book. I have a secret dream of moving my family to an organic farm someday. I blog about my family life, including my three-year-old daughter who is probably going to hate it when she is in high school. And I’m married to a musician who would have loved it if his high school had a Jam Band. All those things aside, I feel confident writing that fans of Frances O’Roark Dowell will not be disappointed.

Blogger:  Mindy L