The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia.
A socially awkward genius child, an adolescent cat burglar, a philandering husband and a doormat wife in desperate need of a backbone, a neighborhood where only the houses are similar.....The Turners are practicing normal as best they can attempting to craft a happy life, and facing down a history they have no control over.
And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett’s secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face.
Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That’s what happens when you’re practicing normal.
Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
Reviews for Practicing Normal
"Does facing the truth beat living a lie? In Practicing Normal, Cara Sue Achterberg has given us a smart story that is both a window and a mirror, about the extraordinary pain - and the occasional gifts - of an ordinary life." Jacquelyn Mitchard (bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, the very first Oprah book club pick)
"Practicing Normal takes a deep dive into the dysfunctional dynamics of a 'picture perfect family.' A compelling story about the beautiful humanity in the most ordinary of lives: from first love to a marriage on the downward slide to an unexpected family tragedy. Achterberg handles each thread with tender care and we can't help but root for every member of the Turner family." Kate Moretti (a New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year)
"What does is really mean to have a normal life? Achterberg's stunning new ovel explores how a family can fracture just trying to survive, and how what makes us different is also waht can make us most divine." Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World and the New York Times bestsellers Pictures of You and Is this Tomorrow
Olga Nunez Miret, a psychiatrist and book reviewer, had this to say.