Out now in paperback



Henry Normal and Angela Pell

Henry Normal explains how his son Johnny brings out the best in him.

A Normal Family
‘A wonderful self-portrait of a family with autism at its heart. Uplifting and grounded, frank and encouraging, serious and funny, A Normal Family affirms that there is life after an ASD diagnosis – an atypical life, yes, but an abundant and nourishing life just the same’ David Mitchell, author of THE REASON I JUMP

‘Honest but funny’ Sunday Express

‘Pell and Normal describe hopes shattered, dreams deferred and victories gained in this brave, funny, and searingly honest memoir’ Daily Express

‘A stunning read that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved’ Brighton Post

‘When we got home after the diagnosis I was numb, trying to take it all in. There we were again, alone as a family, like coming back from hospital after the birth, only this time with a task a thousand times more daunting.

This wasn’t the anticipation of an adventure. No-one we knew had faced this problem before. We were on our own. There was no instruction booklet. We’d not been taught about this at school. We were unprepared, adrift at sea.

But how could I let Angela down? How could I let my own child down? I had no choice, I would have to cope.

No, it was more than that: I would have to fight.’


Johnny is twenty. He likes music, art and going to the beach. He is also autistic – in his case that means he will never get a job, never have a girlfriend, never leave home. And over the last eighteen years this is what his father, TV producer and comedy writer Henry Normal has been trying to come to terms with.

This is a book for anyone whose life has been touched by autism – a collection of snapshots in the life of a boy, now a young man, and his father, who feels like he’s trying to communicate with someone from another planet.

It’s about the hope, the despair, and the messy, honest, sometimes hilarious day-to-day world of autism, and it will be the go-to book for anyone faced with a daunting diagnosis, as well as a wonderful, warm book about the unconditional, unconventional love between a father and a son.


HENRY NORMAL is an English comedian, television producer, poet and writer. He is Managing Director of Baby Cow Productions Ltd, which he set up with Steve Coogan.

ANGELA PELL is a writer for film and TV whose credits include Snow Cake, starring Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman, and the upcoming adaptation of Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell’s The Reason I Jump.


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