Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.
It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.
Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.
I kept going back and forth debating with myself if I should read this book. The story didn’t seem that interesting to me, but I kept hearing some really good things about it. I finally decided to just read it!. It’s only 210 pages, so if I hated it, I wouldn’t waste that much time on it. Well, I loved it! I had it finished in a few hours. I thought it was such a great, cute, coming if age story, and I’m really glad I decided to read it!
Ten Miles Past Normal is about Janie, who, when she was younger convinced her parents to move to the countryside and start a goat farm. Now she’s a freshman is high school, and living on a farm, with the possibility of going to school with goat poop on your shoe (Yes, that has happened to her!) just isn’t cool. All Janie wants in life is to be a normal teenage girl. It’s hard to be normal when you’re the only one is your school who lives on farm and your mom is mini-celebrity because she blogs about farm and family life. My favorite character would have to be Monster. He was sweet, fun, and just so real! I loved the scenes that Monster was in. I would have liked to learn more about him though.
There was also a historical component to the book which I loved. Janie and her best friend Sarah had to do a class project and choose The Civil Right Movement. The girls learn that there town played a large part in the movement and taught local men and women how to read and write. Some of the locals were even arrested and attacked by the Klan because of it. Through this assignment, the girls learned a lot about themselves. I liked watching Janie grow as a character. She realizes that being normal is overrated (It totally is!) which is something that, I think, is very hard for teenagers to grasp.
Ten Miles Past Normal is a short, entertaining read and I would highly recommend it!