Growing Up
Mostly Normal
in the Middle of Nowhere:
A Memoir
by John Sheirer

Cover for Growing Up Mostly Normal in the Middle of Nowhere: A Memoir


"A brilliant and delightful showcase of boyhood memories
...this memoir sings with honesty, humor, and grace."

Kevin O'Hara, author of
Last of the Donkey Pilgrims



Growing Up Mostly Normal
in the Middle of Nowhere:
A Memoir

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About this book, read ...


Snippet from Book

I wasn't kidnapped as a child, never abused, abandoned, beaten, or sold to the highest bidder. My parents didn't lock me in the basement. The cults never got hold of me--not counting a pretty wacky Bible camp. I wasn't transgendered, interracial, or multinational. No president denied that I was his love child. No aliens abducted me (although sometimes I wished they would). I wasn't blind, deaf, mute, epileptic, dyspeptic, or unable to digest milk. I wasn't an altruistic autistic. No one in my family was a psychopath or a sociopath, but a few of my cousins definitely went down the wrong path. My worst disease was mumps, and the closest I came to physical tragedy was a bee sting on the lip.

I'm not a celebrity or related to one or sleeping with one.

I breathe air, drink water, eat food.

But on a Tuesday afternoon in fourth grade, I realized for the first time that I was only "mostly normal."

more excerpts


Photo of John's parents, circa 1948

John's parents, William Junior Sheirer and Thelma Mae Crites Mason Sheirer, young and in love, circa 1948.

Photo of cabin and Tracker

The cabin, now a country-style getaway, was built in 1812. It's part of the family farm.

Excerpts | Comments And Reviews | Author Info


About This Great Book

"I wasn't kidnapped as a child, never abused, abandoned, beaten, or sold to the highest bidder."

So begins John Sheirer's delightful Growing Up Mostly Normal in the Middle of Nowhere. With the depth of a memoir and the flow of a novel, Sheirer chronicles how his simple youth of farm, sports, school, nature, and family led him to an unlikely adulthood as an author and college professor.

In bookstores overflowing with shallow celebrity "tell-alls" and wallowing rants about dysfunctional upbringings, this memoir stands out as a beautifully written account of a mostly happy, mostly normal, fully real life at once both ordinary and extraordinary. Sheirer explores intensely personal experiences and relationships with humor, surprise, awe, suspense, and deep insight.

Growing Up Mostly Normal in the Middle of Nowhere teaches us we can go home again . . . in fact, like the author, we never really left.

2004 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Award Finalist


From A Review

The title John Sheirer selected for his memoir Growing Up Mostly Normal in the Middle of Nowhere begs the question as to why anyone who would define his life story this way would write a memoir, but that seems to be exactly the point Sheirer is trying to make. In other words, even relatively normal, ordinary people have a story worth telling, and that is indeed true in Sheirer's case.


From The Author

After more than twenty years away from the little farm where I was raised, I thought my upbringing wasn't an important part of my life. But then I went home for a visit, and the memories came flooding back so powerfully that I took two years to write this book. I'm not famous--you probably aren't either. But our lives are worth writing and reading about just as much as celebrities.

This is far and away the best writing I've ever done. I've included the saddest, happiest, most embarrassing, and most meaningful moments of my life in this memoir, and I'm thrilled to be able to share these experiences with you.

John Sheirer


Photo of John's fourth grade class

Fourth grade class, setting of the book's Prologue. This was the last year John was the tallest member of his class. John's twin sister June is second from the left in the second row.

Photo of childhood home

John's childhood home in Pennsylvania, in "the middle of nowhere."

Photo of Grandma, Dad, and John

Grandma, Dad, and John at twins Tam and Pam's birthday dinner.

John's family farm, looking postcard lovely, as seen from the cabin's front yard.


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