Normal Family: On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings

Little, Brown. Jul. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780316536547. $29. MEMOIR
“The story of how I came into this world didn’t begin in a bedroom, or bar, or on a beach with two lovers holding hands, gazing into each other’s eyes under a pink sky as they professed their mutual adoration,” writes Bilton in her compelling debut memoir. Instead, her single, lesbian mother Debra, currently sober after “getting high on every drug, religion, and sexual experiment to come out of the 1960s and ’70s” and longing to have a child, met beautiful hippie Jeffrey Harrison at a Beverly Hills hair salon, then paid him $2,000 for a sperm donation and a promise that he would “never do this for anyone else.” Feeling ashamed for “not giving us a father in the “real” sense of the word,” Debra paid Jeffrey to give her foot massages, sporadically visiting Chrysta, and to likewise father her sister Kaitlyn. He also visited the California Cryobank for a decade as Donor 150, a secret revealed years later along with the arrival of her 35 (and possibly hundreds more) siblings.
VERDICT Eloquently written and compulsively readable, Bilton’s jaw-dropping coming-of-age memoir--and the love and survival found within its pages--is one readers won’t soon forget.
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