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The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman

"An absolute delight of a debut, 12 year old Norman Foreman is a joyfully unforgettable character."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Our May 2021 Book Club Recommendation.

Click here to see our Reading Group Questions.

This is one of the most squeezable and loveable books going, yet it comes with sharp and poignant notes as well as a dancing wit and humour. Norman’s best friend and comedy partner dies before they turn 12, in his grief Norman decides he’s going to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe, and his mum Sadie is determined to help him. The focus here is on family and the many different forms it can take. Chapters are headed by either Norman or Sadie, each has the most wonderfully distinctive voice. Julietta Henderson has created a cast of beautifully individual characters, they walk off the page, with little snippets of information filling in their spirit and letting you see who they truly are. Norman is a complete joy to get to know, he entered my heart and let me see with fresh eyes. There is an exquisite balance here, between heartache and warmth, piercing and diverting, amusing and engaging. The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman proclaims that empathy and kindness are winning combinations and is completely gorgeous in every way. This LoveReading Star Book is an absolute delight of a debut, it will be one of my highlights of the year.

Liz Robinson

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Primary Genre Feel-Good Fiction
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Reader Reviews

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What a brilliant book. Heart-warming and funny, and full of charm.

How do you become a comedy genius when the funnier part of your act dies and leaves you alone with just a book of comedy rules and a box of post it notes. How do you, a twelve year old boy, pick yourself up and embark on a journey to fulfil your dreams alone? This heart-warming, charming book charts Norman’s journey, from child to comedy genius in one road trip. With plenty of laughs along the way, and tender moments where you just want to hold him tight and tell him it will all be ok. He is finding his feet without his best friend at his side, and it’s a trip you just want to follow along for the ride. 

What a brilliant book. Heart-warming and funny, and full of charm.... Read Full Review


This was a really fun and entertaining book that I enjoyed very much. I would happily recommend this debut novel to anyone looking for a funny light-hearted read about family, love and friendship.

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman follows 12 year old Norman and his mum Sadie. Norman and his best friend Jax love comedy and they set themselves a goal in their 5 year plan that they will perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. But sadly, Jax dies unexpectedly and Norman and his mum are both left heartbroken. However, Norman’s mum Sadie decides she’s going to help Norman get to Fringe, and decides to take him on a road trip from Cornwall to Edinburgh in the hope that he will be able to fulfil his dream. Of course, the road trip isn’t as straight forward as Sadie was hoping.

This is a wonderfully written book, that is told through alternating chapters from the POV’S from Norman and Sadie.... Read Full Review


Pulls at your heart strings and whacks your funny bone.

Right from the outset I was captivated and remained so till the end. Julietta Henderson’s immersive detail of the lives of Norman and his mother Sadie are so natural and well executed that you feel you know them completely. Add in Leonard and the journey becomes delightful, sad, funny and heart wrenching throughout. The flaws in each of their personalities are dealt with in a sensitive and humorous way and I’m waiting for the Edinburgh Fringe to book my seat.... Read Full Review

Heather Byrne