'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 16 October 2021

Review: A Different Sort of Normal

A Different Sort of Normal is a different sort of book, in all the best ways. It’s a true story. A memoir. A look into someone’s world and their thoughts and ideas about their life. This is the story of Abigail Balfe.

At the beginning, Abigail shares a story about being four and having a birthday party she did not enjoy. It had all the ingredients for a perfect party, with all the things perfect parties should have. But Abigail didn’t want it, nor did she want to enjoy the entertainment. She was different from the other kids her age.

Abigail explains that as an adult she discovered she has autism — that she is different, and this this is a good thing. The book is a look at her past and present, exploring the ways she is different and giving readers a personal look at who she is.

This book is fun, silly, entertaining, inspiring and supportive. It lets readers take a peek into the realness of experiencing the world differently, and it shows readers it really is okay when you’re not the same as your closest friends.

Abigail reveals it all, including her aversion to toilets as a child, how she manages uncomfortable social situations, the friends that have come and gone over the years, and her reflections on why that may have been.

A Different Sort of Normal is a joy to read and provides a lot of insight and comfort. It’s written tenderly, with kids in mind. So, while Abigail does not shy away from the truths of her world, the way she explores them are kid-friendly, welcoming and easy to understand.

The book is also comprehensively illustrated by Abigail, filled with drawings, doodles, and colourful self-portraits on every page. Lots of care and thought has gone into the layout, breaking up chunks of text and using art to group sections, making it a really easy read and a super fun book to explore.  

This is a great book for any kid who feels a little bit different from their peers, but equally perfect for those who don’t. It is through wonderful books like these we can all learn that being different from the person standing next to us isn’t a bad thing and grow our empathy and understanding to love everyone for exactly who they are.

Thank you, Abigail Balfe. I will never forget this book.

Title: A Different Sort of Normal
Author/Illustrator: Abigail Balfe
Publisher: Penguin, $19.99
Publication Date: 20 July 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241508794
For ages: 8+
Type: Non-Fiction, Junior Non-Fiction