Deliver Us From Normal Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Deliver Us From Normal

The Harrisong family lives in Normal, Illinois—but this loveably quirky family still has a hard time fitting in. Mr. and Mrs. Harrisong are financially challenged but rich in good intentions. While struggling to make ends meet, their homemade dresses and gaudy bargain-bin gift-wrap inadvertently provides the five Harrisong kids with plenty to blush about. Luckily, Clara, a 12-year-old budding artist, is too confidently optimistic to notice, and 8-year-old Ben is too much of a comedian to care. 6-year-old Laura and 4-year-old Sally are simply too young to understand shame—but 11-year-old Charles is a bundle of raw nerves, and his family has a knack for getting under his skin. Charles manages the embarrassment by talking to God, organizing his fears into lists, and reading.
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But sixth grade thrusts Charles into a whole new world of worry: junior high. The new school overwhelms even his best defense mechanisms, and Charles becomes increasingly self-conscious and withdrawn. Reading Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" prompts two significant reactions: empathy with the oddball Boo Radley and fear that he can relate to Boo a little too well. As summer slides into autumn, Charles increasingly finds himself flooded with conflicting emotions—particularly where his family is concerned—and haunted by horrible thoughts and impulses that contradict his gentle words and deeds.

Unfortunately, Clara's campaign for 7th Grade Class President inspires a wave of middle-school meanness that only intensifies the Harrisongs' vain struggle to be a normal family in Normal, Illinois. After a particularly ugly incident that Klise never fully discloses, the Harrisong family flees Normal in the middle of the night to start a new life on a rundown houseboat in Alabama. When the boat springs a leak, Charles is forced to shed shyness and fear for the sake of his family's safety. In doing so, he develops a better understanding of his family, his self, and his place in the world.

The review of this Book prepared by Tracie Amirante

Chapter Analysis of Deliver Us From Normal

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   humorous Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   religious influences Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Age 11-14 Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   grade school Something wrong upstairs/downstairs?    -   searching for identity/meaning

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Deep South    -   Midwest Water?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Kate Klise Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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