It was so hot you could die. It was summer vacation 1963 and we were going to the drive-in to see a slice-and-dice called Blood Feast. We lived in Manchester, the so-called Queen City of New Hampshire. The drive-in was in the boonies, in nowheresville. We had a drive ahead of us. My father, Jimmy Norris, herded us into his Pontiac Chieftain. He wanted to get there early. Normally, Jimmy never got anywhere early. Waiting was for jerkos. He preferred to let the other guy wait for him. But tonight was special.
“It’s the hour of reckoning, little girls,” he cackled in his scary, Boris Karloff voice as he took the corner leading out of the projects at a speed fast enough to make the wheels emit a sharp squeal.
Jimmy crooked his right hand into a claw. There was dark hair growing on the knuckles, and mysterious grime under the nails. I had seen that hand rip out the still-warm guts of dead animals ten times my size. I knew what it was capable of. “
So begins Gloria Norris’s KooKooLand: a memoir written on the edge of a knife blade. Chilling, intensely moving and darkly funny, it cuts to the heart and soul of a troubled American family and announces the arrival of a startlingly original voice. The story is a profound portrait of how violence echoes through a family, and through a community. From the tragedy, Gloria finds a way to carve out a future on her own terms and ends up just where she wants to be.
In the tradition of The Glass Castle and With or Without You, KooKooLand is a bracingly funny and chilling true crime memoir about a girl’s gutsy journey to escape her charismatic yet cruel father’s reign—an unforgettable story of violence, love, and, ultimately, triumph. Read more at the Simon and Schuster website.