Normal Family

On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings


By Chrysta Bilton

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This riveting, nuanced memoir about unforgettable individuals thrown together by chance and DNA tells a story of nature, nurture, and coming to terms with one's true inheritance.

What is a “normal family,” and how do you go about making one? Chrysta Bilton’s magnetic, larger-than-life mother, Debra, yearned to have a child, but as a single gay woman in 1980s California, she had few options. Until one day, while getting her hair done in a Beverly Hills salon, she met a man and instantly knew he was the one she’d been looking for. Beautiful, athletic, artistic, and from a well-to-do family, Jeffrey Harrison appeared to be Debra’s ideal sperm donor.   

A verbal agreement, a couple of thousand in cash, and a few squirts of a turkey baster later, and Chrysta was conceived. Over the years, Jeffrey would make regular appearances at the family home, which grew to include Chrysta’s baby sister. But how much did Debra really know about the man she’d chosen to father her daughters? And as a single mother torn between ferocious independence and abject dependence—on other women, alcohol, drugs, and the adrenaline of get-rich-quick schemes—what secrets of her own was she keeping?  

It wasn’t until Chrysta was a young adult that she discovered just how much her parents had hidden from their daughters—and each other—including a shocking revelation with far-reaching consequences not only for Debra, Chrysta, and her sister, but for dozens and possibly hundreds of unsuspecting families across the country. After a lifetime of longing for a “normal family,” can Chrysta face the reality of her own, in all its complexity?  Bringing us into the fold of a deeply dysfunctional yet fiercely loving clan that is anything but “normal,” this emotional roller coaster of a memoir will make you cry, laugh, and rethink the meaning of family.  

Named a 'Best Book of the Summer' by LA Times, People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon, Apple, Cup of Jo, Kirkus, Parade, & Today


And here is a doctrine at which you will laugh. It seems to me, Govinda, that love is the most important thing in the world.

—Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

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Author’s Note

To write this book, I relied upon personal journals and called upon my own memory of these events. I also drew on thousands of my mother’s photos and home videos, and in-depth conversations with my mother, father, sister, and others who appear in the book. I cross-referenced their memories with my own and the memories of others whenever possible and researched facts where I could.

I have changed the names of several people, and in some cases also modified identifying details to preserve their anonymity. I occasionally omitted people and events, but only when that omission had no impact on the truth or the substance of the story.


There’s a knock on the front door.

“It’s for you, Chrysta!” my husband yells from the kitchen without having to look. It has been this way all morning: one perfect stranger after another, standing on my porch, luggage by their side, arms outstretched to hug me, their older sister.

I walk down the stairs and open the front door to greet another sibling. The first had been surprisingly warm, kind, and likable. The second, too. What will the next be like? I wonder. Will they be like him? I open the door, smiling as brightly as I can. After an awkward hug, I introduce myself.

“I’m Chrysta,” I say, trying my hardest to put this stranger at ease.

“I’m Grace,” the woman standing in front of me replies. My eyes scan hers as I laugh uncomfortably at the uncanny physical similarities between us.

“The other siblings are in the back,” I say, helping Grace with her bag as I usher her inside.

As she walks through the front door, a bit shy, I am struck by a familiar, loud braying sound. It is my own laugh, complete with the guttural gasps for air. As I wander back to find out which of them is making that sound—my sound!—I see the dozen siblings who have already arrived standing in a circle, arranging their toes in a lineup for a photo because, according to another sibling, we all share the same feet. I slip off my sandals and add my right foot to the circle, and sure enough, my big toe has found its doppelganger—a dozen of them.

I am learning that most of us share physical traits—the same dimple on our left cheek, the same prominent eyebrows, the same muscular forearms. There are some distinct personality quirks as well, like the constant spaced-out gaze that makes friends feel like we don’t care what they have to say, when really we do—we just can’t help being lost in the clouds. Or always having the battery of whatever device we’re using linger at 1 percent.

Then, again, I hear that roaring, echoing laugh.

Then, again, another knock.

“It’s for you, Chrysta!”

But this time, as I run back into the living room and open the front door, I recognize the person waiting on the other side.

“I still can’t believe you invited them here,” Kaitlyn, the one sibling I grew up with, here in Los Angeles, whispers to me with a scowl as she looks past me and toward our brothers and sisters. She is less than enthusiastic that I agreed to host this “reunion.”

“Couldn’t you have chosen a neutral spot at least—somewhere that’s not your personal space where you live with your children?” she asks.

“Kait, they are all very sweet,” I say, hoping to ease her concerns. “Just go outside and meet them.”

“These are strangers, Chrysta,” she says, hardly concealing her panic behind a dissociative gaze. “Just because we share biology with them doesn’t make them our family.” Then, as she looks past the hallway and out toward my backyard, where she can see one sibling now playing with my toddler, Kaitlyn leans in and wonders aloud, “How do you know someone won’t steal something?”

I look at her irritated expression and can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation we now find ourselves in.

“Kait,” I say, trying to hold a straight face. “If the worst thing that comes from this weekend is that one of our siblings, who we have never met, steals something from my house, I will consider it a rousing success.”

Kaitlyn is not amused.

“I told my therapist about this,” she says as she looks at the luggage, reminiscent of the baggage claim area of a small-town airport. “And she agreed: this is very strange.”

She pauses for a moment; clearly she’d just heard our laugh, too.

“What are they like? Do they look like us?”

“A lot like us.”

“Where’s Mom?” she asks, still lingering with one foot out the door.

This reunion is my mother’s worst nightmare. We have known about the siblings—that there are anywhere between three dozen and a few hundred—for more than a decade, since the shocking day the story appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Since then, Mom’s coping strategy has been to pretend the whole thing never happened rather than face the reality that she was partially responsible for it.

My decision to meet and host the siblings is a dose of reality so vivid it threatens to completely upend all the illusions Mom has ever harbored about our family. And she wasn’t happy when I told her I was doing it.

I take a deep breath as I look out toward the street and see my mother’s navy-blue Prius pull around the corner and park, the rear jutting out at an angle and several feet from the curb. I watch with the same combination of love and anxiety my mother often inspires in people as she reluctantly makes her way out of her car; her face is red from crying. She opens the rear door to grab her sidekick, a pudgy Pekingese beagle with tiny legs and as much separation anxiety when it comes to my mother as my mother has when it comes to Kaitlyn and me.

Mom is dressed in her usual several shades of orange, head to toe, to match her orange apartment and orange dog, Gracie. Wearing orange is one of the many lingering traditions she still carries from a life she spent as a pioneer in many of the new age religions—and a few cults—to come out of Los Angeles in the sixties, seventies, and eighties.

“Hi, Mom,” I say, smiling warmly, hoping I can defuse some of the intensity of her inner world by simply refusing to acknowledge it.

She approaches, and as I open the door a bit more, she bursts into sobs.

“I pulled over and cried for an hour before coming here,” she explains.

I stand, quiet and resolute.

Her eyes dart back and forth, waiting for my reaction, perhaps hoping she can bully me into canceling my plans. I invite her in, a demonstration to signify that there is nothing she can do to stop me.

“This is a bad idea, Chrysta,” she warns, abruptly ending her display and turning irate as she walks right past me and into the house. “A really bad idea.”

Part One


When I was three years old, my mother started a tradition she called the Golden Memory Box. At the end of every December, with the Christmas tree still sparkling in the corner of our living room and me off playing with whatever exciting new toys Santa had brought me—and there were always a lot of toys, regardless of whether the money spent on them should have been used to pay the rent—Mom would turn on Nat King Cole and ceremoniously waltz around the house collecting treasures from the past twelve months. She would carefully stack my most precious drawings, paintings, rocks, and seashells from our walks and the hundreds of photos she’d taken of my every step in a large box. Then, with a ballpoint pen and her giant, round, larger-than-life handwriting, she would label it CHRYSTA’S GOLDEN MEMORY BOX, along with the year and a few elaborately drawn hearts and stars. When my little sister Kaitlyn arrived a year and a half later, a second box was added to the tradition, though the boxes became much more disorganized, and eventually years were skipped and the tradition slowly died.

Sometimes, on a random Saturday, my mother would suggest that we “take a trip down memory lane” and slide a chance year’s box out from under her bed. On one such afternoon, a few months after learning about our extended biological family, I sat cross-legged on the floor as we dug through one labeled CHRYSTA 1993. Unlike other tours into the past, this time I noticed something about my childhood that didn’t add up. I pulled out dozens of photos of me and my father—pictures of him hugging me at my ninth birthday party, others of me sitting on his lap while he strummed a song on his old acoustic guitar, yet more of him chasing Kaitlyn and me around the house as the “tickle monster”—and I realized I had no recollection of his being around then. Not a single memory was attached to a single photograph. I felt like a stranger looking at my life. I thought to myself, Look, he must have been there. But I could not recall him visiting even once in 1993.

I kept rummaging through the box and came upon a framed eight-by-ten photograph, professionally shot, of two little foxes snuggling in the snow. For months in 1993, I’d been obsessed with this particular animal, and upon seeing the image I was immediately taken back to the delight I’d felt when I’d unwrapped this gift. I turned the frame over, and on the back, in Sharpie in my mother’s giant round handwriting, was a note: TO CHRYSTA BEAR, LOVE MOMMY AND But it stopped there. While I did not remember the moments captured in the photographs with my father, I did recollect every minute detail of the woman whose name was now hidden in Wite-Out, erased haphazardly by my mother. (I call it haphazard because if you really looked, you could still see her name.)

Sitting on the floor now, staring down at, on the one hand, photos of Dad during times I hardly remember him being around and, on the other hand, the deliberate removal of the name of someone whose presence still felt meaningful to me all these years later, I realized these boxes weren’t memory boxes at all, but a heavily curated version of my life, the way my mother hoped I would remember it. There were no empty bags of cocaine in the boxes, or eviction notices from landlords, or photos of the father who had lost most of his teeth while living in a broken-down motor home on Pico. There was no trail of the broken hearts our mother left behind as she bounced from one girlfriend to the next to survive and provide for us. No photos of our childhood cats and dogs who we’d loved and who were later sent to live “on a farm” when we had to move into yet another friend’s home while Mom got back on her feet. And while many more handsome and put-together photographs of our father did exist, it was because, as I’d later learn, my mother had paid him to be there. A dozen times a year, Mom would clean Dad up, give him a shower, maybe send him to a dentist, and then have him appear on the stage of our lives. He would do a little guitar solo, and Mom would snap several rolls of film in the hope that any trace of our more painful memories would be replaced with these picturesque ones. The going rate for our father’s Academy Award–winning performance: a crisp twenty-dollar bill.

Staring at Sable’s name, hidden under white paint, suddenly released in me a sweep of unprocessed grief I never realized I had, followed by questions about what had really happened to her, and if she ever missed me. I realized then that if I wanted to know the whole, possibly painful truth about my life, I wouldn’t find it in my mother’s retelling. So I began digging for the details she had left out. To my good fortune, every once in a while—perhaps due to sheer exhaustion at keeping track of so many “fibs,” her tender word for bending the truth—Mom would get into a short-lived mood of openness, and the truth would spill out of her like an over-poured martini. I’d seize on these moments like a defiant child, pouncing on the crack in the sidewalk you are supposed to skip over, and ask as many pointed questions as I could because I knew that in a few minutes the conversation would be over, and any details that brought my mother pain would later be vehemently denied.

“Tell me again how you met Dad,” I would ask my mother. It was a query I’d asked five thousand times, and each time, a new fact would be gifted to me, entirely by accident and despite her best intentions.

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. It began in a much more unlikely place: a hair salon called Michaeljohn’s on the corner of Camden and Brighton Way in Beverly Hills.

It was 1983, a few ovulation cycles before I would be conceived, and my mother, Debra, was in her early thirties. The Summer of Love, which she could have been the poster child for, had faded over the past decade and a half and been replaced by skyscrapers, Wall Street, and the beginnings of the Cold War, special thanks to then president Ronald Reagan, who Debra, a die-hard liberal, found “adorable” despite his political leanings.

While the world was on edge from a geopolitical standpoint, she found it as exciting a time to be alive as ever. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was pushing through the top of the album charts, a sign of sociological progress made more poignant for her because she had just fallen madly in love with a talented singer and actress named Ann Weldon—Annie for short—who was Black and twenty years her senior. On a whim, Debra had decided she would start a new career as Annie’s music manager (even though she had absolutely no idea what the job entailed and no experience in the music industry). She was enjoying a torrid affair with Annie while booking her gigs, which included opening for Jane Fonda at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and for Dizzy Gillespie at nightclubs throughout Paris.

In addition to being happily in love and enjoying the challenge of turning a straight woman bisexual (a favorite sport of my mother’s), she had a new lease on life special thanks to a program called Alcoholics Anonymous, which she’d discovered in the process of getting her little sister, Diane, off heroin. For almost a year before finding AA, Debra had done everything to get Diane clean. She’d bang on her sister’s bedroom door, begging and pleading for her to come out.

“Shhh!!! I’m studying to be a director!” Diane would shout while she put a needle in her arm and nodded out to reruns of I Love Lucy.

One afternoon Debra called the Beverly Hills Police Department for help but they said they’d come only if Diane was a “danger to herself or someone else”—heroin addiction not qualifying. So Debra planted a gun on Diane and called 911.

“She’s got a gun and just threatened to kill me!” she screamed to the operator.

From jail, Diane—furious with her sister for framing her—was given a choice between spending a month in jail or checking into a six-month recovery program. She chose the latter and began the process of withdrawal at a treatment center in Pasadena called Impact.

While Diane was in rehab, Debra wrote her a letter, interrupting midsentence as if they were having a conversation to write, “Hold on, I have to go make some carrot juice.” Debra then went into the kitchen and did a line of cocaine. In that moment, which Debra would later recall as “a powerful moment of clarity,” she realized that she was also an addict and had been in denial. Watching the miraculous transformation that took place in Diane’s life after rehab, Debra began attending AA meetings—determined to get sober herself after spending most of her teens and twenties getting high on every drug, religion, and sexual experiment to come out of the 1960s and ’70s.

My mother had always been a hedonist, yearning to overdose on everything, especially life. When the Beatles meditated in the Maharishi’s Ashram in India, Debra was there. When Bhagwan Rajneesh, later known as Osho, needed a visa to continue operating his new age cult in Oregon, Debra was the person they summoned to tap her political connections. When Warren Beatty lived in the penthouse suite at the Beverly Wilshire during the McGovern presidential campaign and the filming of Shampoo, Debra rented a suite next door—where she wrote her college thesis on communism for UCLA in between seducing women with Warren. She’d counted Jeff Bridges as her first serious boyfriend and Eva Gabor among her many high-profile closeted girlfriends. Men loved Debra, women loved Debra, and Debra loved a good adventure.

Debra was striking. She had thick blond hair, high cheekbones, and a strong, attractive face, which was softened by a childlike innocence and the mischief emanating from her deep brown eyes. She had a feminine presentation that was often confusing to men, who chased her around with little luck. Her bright red lips always matched her long, perfectly painted red fingernails. She wore an antique eighteen-karat-gold coral ring on her right pinky finger that made her look like an Egyptian goddess and that she loved because it reminded her of the ocean. She also had enormous breasts that usually roamed free under a delicate blouse because she hated to be constricted. Beyond her looks, though, it was Debra’s contagious enthusiasm for life and her unshatterable confidence that were intoxicating to everyone who met her. When they no longer excited her, they were usually just left with a broken heart while her curious dark brown eyes darted off to look for whatever shiny new thing might be waiting around the corner. Now that she was sober and done partying, the adventure she’d set her heart on was motherhood. What she wanted more than anything was a child.

The obstacle was that Debra was a lesbian. And in the early 1980s, she did not know a single gay person who had started a family. It was rare for even a single straight woman to start a family on her own—at least on purpose. The American dream still clung fiercely to the idea that the one and only healthy way to raise a child was within the nucleus of the nuclear family: father, mother, 2.5 children. It was revolutionary enough that Debra, having come of age in Beverly Hills in the 1950s in a high-society family—the prized granddaughter of a former governor of California, Culbert Levy Olson, and the daughter of a prominent judge in Los Angeles—now lived her life somewhat openly gay in the sense that she’d admitted to herself, and to a select group of trusted friends, that she preferred women.

There were zero playbooks for Debra to operate from. There were no openly gay icons or role models. No sperm banks handing out pamphlets outlining alternative routes to parenthood for gay couples. No Modern Family, Ellen, or Will & Grace television shows. As a rule, Hollywood had few story lines that dealt directly with homosexuality; gay and lesbian characters in film and print, what few there were, often died or met some other unhappy ending. The AIDS epidemic, which had been labeled the “gay plague” by a popular televangelist named Jerry Falwell, was in full swing. The atmosphere for lesbians and gay men in the early ’80s, even in liberal Los Angeles, wasn’t just uncomfortable; it was hostile.

Debra would think of having a child, then turn on the television or the radio and get a stomachache as she listened to the opinions of popular figures such as the singer and anti-gay-rights activist Anita Bryant, and Falwell saying things like “Please remember, homosexuals do not reproduce! They recruit! And, many of them are after my children and your children.”

Debra worried that having a baby as a lesbian and single mother would make life incredibly hard for a child. She was also older than most of the mothers she knew and aware that she didn’t have a lot of time before her biological clock ran out, especially if she wanted more than one child. So, when the big, pressing urge to have children first hit her four years before that fateful day at the hair salon, she did what any logical person would have done in her situation: she decided to go straight. It was not ideal, but it was doable—she hoped.

She’d met a perfect gentleman for the job: Sol West “the Third,” the handsome heir to an oil fortune. Sol was from San Antonio and on the hunt to buy an estate in Los Angeles. Debra, who at the time was building a successful career in real estate, had become Sol’s broker. The two would sit in the back seat of his black limousine and go from open house to open house through the rolling hills of Bel Air as Debra enthralled him with slivers of her life story: about the night she slept on the Sphinx in Egypt or the time she introduced Tina Turner to Buddhism. Her stories had a mythic quality—and you wanted to believe them—but sometimes they were so insane it took a real leap of faith to trust the narrator. Still, Sol’s rugged, wild, Republican heart skipped a beat as he walked from room to room, following this crazy blond Democrat from Beverly Hills. He was so captivated by her that he sent her two dozen red roses after their first date, and then bought the third property she showed him, on the spot, before even going up the driveway.

After escrow closed, Debra handed Sol the keys to his new kingdom and he reciprocated, inviting her to live with him. She had her own wing of the property, filled with designer clothes, fur coats, and an unlimited expense account. She even attended weekly therapy sessions to try to “straighten out.” Though the straightness never did take hold, Debra grew to love Sol in her own way. Like her, he had grown up in a deeply dysfunctional family. (After his older brother died of a heroin overdose, Sol’s sister-in-law, also an addict, stipulated in her will, which was made public after her own eventual overdose, that Sol could inherit his brother’s fortune only if she were buried dressed in her favorite baby-blue nightgown in her favorite blue Ferrari 330 America. Sol fought the order in court but ultimately lost. It was the most famous burial in San Antonio history.)

More important than being in love with Sol was Debra’s sense that being with him would make her parents proud, even if they were dead. Sol’s wealth and good manners—not to mention his gender—were everything her father would have wanted for her. She also felt that Sol would make a caring dad. And so, a few months after moving in, Debra convinced Sol to begin trying to get her pregnant. For two years they tried. Every month, when she was ovulating, Debra and Sol would make love, and then Debra would get on the bed in a yoga position with her feet up on the wall, to make sure the pregnancy took, as Sol lay next to her, watching the financial news on TV. A few weeks later, she would look down in disbelief at a negative pregnancy test. Eventually, she and Sol visited a fertility specialist named Dr. Cappy Rothman, who ran a new fertility clinic called the California Cryobank in Century City.

Debra found out during their meeting that, to her great surprise, Sol was the one with the fertility problem. Cappy explained that Sol had a low sperm count caused by a varicocele under his testicles, likely a result of having spent so much time in those late-seventies-era 115-degree hot tubs.

“It’s a common problem,” Cappy explained to the couple. “Luckily, a very simple surgery will fix it.”

In the months that followed, Sol refused to set a date for the operation. Debra pushed, which led Sol to confess the truth: he hadn’t had a very happy childhood, and he wasn’t sure he wanted kids.

Debra was furious. For two years, she and Sol had been trying to get pregnant. She wondered now if some part of him had known all along that he couldn’t give her children. She felt betrayed.

“Either you set a date for the surgery, Sol,” she said, “or I’m leaving you.”

“You’ll never leave me, Debra,” he replied smugly. “You’re going to be the wealthiest woman in Los Angeles. You’d be an idiot to walk away from all this.”

Sol proposed marriage to Debra soon after this exchange, during what was meant to be a romantic horseback ride at his family’s San Antonio oil ranch. She fell off the horse she’d been riding bareback and broke her knee, which my mother took as a sign from the universe that their relationship wasn’t meant to be.

After several months of soul-searching, with the financial anxiety of Debra’s childhood never far from consciousness, she eventually moved out, but not before accepting Sol’s $50,000 to jump-start her career as her secret girlfriend Annie’s “music manager.” (Debra happily spent the entire sum on what she would later refer to as her “honeymoon” with Annie, her “client,” who would become the first of my many second mothers.)


  • "By turns hilarious, wrenching, and achingly tender, this is a memoir about family that turns the whole idea of family upside down. Bilton writes beautifully, with sharp insight and a light touch, about her harrowing, astonishing journey into understanding her parents, her (very) extended family, and herself."
     —Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book
  • Normal Family had me absolutely riveted from beginning to end. Chrysta Bilton has woven an impeccable narrative about the explosion of love, betrayal, and addiction—not to mention the menagerie of animals—that made up her madcap and calamitous childhood. The story is dominated by Bilton’s hedonistic, cult-inclined, womanizing, unstable and uncanny lesbian single mother, who had to make it up as she went along, and is surely one of the most mesmerizing ‘characters’ in recent memoir. Normal Family narrowly escapes being a tragedy, redeemed by Bilton’s compassionate storytelling and unwavering love for her untraditional family.”—Stephanie Danler, bestselling author of Stray and Sweetbitter
  • “I thought my family was complicated until I read Chrysta Bilton’s wonderful memoir about the unique—eccentric, wild, expansive—collection of irresistible characters in her life. Bilton has a big heart, gentle wisdom, keen eye and lovely wit. She’s a gifted writer with an astonishing story to tell.”—David Sheff, NYT bestselling author of Beautiful Boy
  • "Bilton's warts-and-all depiction is sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying, always grounded in extraordinary forgiveness and resilience...A wholly absorbing page-turner that everyone will want to read. You should probably buy two." —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
  • “Chrysta Bilton's astonishing, wildly unpredictable memoir NORMAL FAMILY starts out as rollicking and suspenseful and only ramps up from there, becoming by turns frightening, riotously funny, and finally quite moving.” —Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road
  • “It’s hard to put into words the many ways this book spoke to me. Normal Family reads like a thriller with its core mystery being the very meaning of life itself: vividly specific but also universal, with family as protagonist and antagonist, but always the hero.”—Ry Russo-Young, filmmaker (Nuclear Family)
  • "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."—Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
  • "Every family is uniquely dysfunctional in its own way, but Bilton’s might take the cake. In her fascinating memoir, the author writes of her unconventional upbringing and discovering her father had sired dozens of children.”—USA TODAY, Best Books of Summer
  • “Bilton’s twisty life story is fascinating, and her eye for detail and ability to plumb her painful past for meaning make this a riveting debut.”—People Magazine
  • “This beautiful, warm, funny book is a testament to human resilience, forgiveness and humour. It is also a love letter to an extraordinary mother.”—Marianne Power, TIMES (UK)
  • “shines a much-needed light on the impact of the secretive, unregulated world of sperm donations…Bilton’s deeply human narratives so aptly convey[s]…no one should ever be in the dark about his or her own origins.”—Gabrielle Glaser, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
  • “This remarkable and wise book is actually two memoirs, braided together with such tendresse that readers will come to believe the ironic title in earnest. Born via turkey baster to a lesbian mother with countless connections and even more schemes, Chrysta and her younger sister didn’t learn until decades later that their family secrets included one that would change everything, including their definition of ‘family.’”
     —Bethanne Patrick, LOS ANGELES TIMES
  • “It’s an extraordinary memoir about identity, family secrets, the nature of love and forgiveness, and resilience that’s alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking, redemptive and triumphant. I couldn’t stop turning the pages, and never stopped thinking about this story long after I finished.”—Aviva Loeb, WASHINGTON POST
  • “At age 23, the author learned that, owing to her estranged father’s prolific (and unregulated) sperm donations, she has at least 150 half-siblings — and that’s not even the most fascinating element of this memoir, which chronicles her bohemian upbringing in Los Angeles, floating between a hippie counterculture, rich private school kids, and even the occasional celebrity crew.”—Seija Rankin, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

On Sale
Jul 12, 2022
Page Count
288 pages

Chrysta Bilton

About the Author

Chrysta Bilton is an American writer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Normal Family is her first book.

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