What the **** is Normal?!

Francesca Martinez

Published by Virgin Books in Hardback (£12.99) on 22-05-2014

‘This is a funny, compassionate and inspiring story of how “being different” can become, with the right attitude, an unlikely advantage. Also, it’s bloody funny and touching. This book makes me want to be more active and to hang out with Francesca more. I think this book will make millions of people feel the same and necessitate draconian security for Francesca.’ RUSSELL BRAND

‘A cheerful optimistic belly-laugh broadside at prejudice and a wonderful testament to the power of ‘being funny’, I love Francesca Martinez.’STEVE COOGAN


Francesca doesn’t really want to be ‘an inspiration’, but she BLOODY WELL IS!… [she] tackles some of the big questions like, ‘What is normal?’ with such a lightness of touch that they sit really comfortably in amongst her story of growing up… this ridiculous rumour that women aren’t funny, is completely and utterly exploded by this wonderful woman and the stories she has to tell.’ JO BRAND

‘Pulse-pounding action from chapter one, as Jason Bourne takes on his greatest challenge yet…Oh. Wait. No. This is Francesca’s book, right? I LOVED it!!! Cannot recommend it highly enough. In your face, Bourne. This is miles better.’ JONATHAN ROSS

What do you do when you’re labelled abnormal in a world obsessed with normality? In a world where wrinkles are practically illegal, going bald is cause for mental breakdown, and women over size ten are encouraged to shoot themselves, what the **** do you do if you’re, gasp… disabled?

Francesca was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was two years old and her parents were gravely told that she would never lead a ‘normal’ life. After a happy childhood filled with tree climbing, mischief and little regard for her bit of palsy, Francesca arrived at high school with a confidence verging on indestructible, only to be turned into a miserable and insecure wreck. Luckily for her, salvation came from Grange Hill, a stand-up comedy workshop, and a passionate love affair replete with scintillating conversation. After one particularly mind-blowing chat, Francesca realised she had the power to stop judging herself by society’s unhealthy standards and create her own. So she did. This powerful new perspective changed her entire life forever. After all, she’s never met a normal person, have you?

What the **** is Normal?! is a very funny, very moving celebration and exploration of learning to be happy with who you are. Neither an autobiography nor a self-help book, it’s a powerful and political call-to-arms that rails against the relentless media bombardment of what is culturally perceived as ‘normal’. Francesca equipped herself with the tools to stick two shaky fingers up to society’s unrealistic and damaging expectations, and with this book, she hopes to help more people to do the same. THE WOBBLY REVOLUTION STARTS HERE.

PR Collective’s current campaigns

See more campaigns →

Nine Nasty Words

Language evolves with time, and so does what we consider profane or unspeakable. Nine Nasty Words is a rollicking examination of profanity, explored from every angle: historical, sociological, political, linguistic. In a particularly coarse moment, when the public discourse is shaped in part by once-shocking words, nothing could be timelier.

Read more →

I Can’t Believe It’s Baby Food!

My aim is to help parents make both cooking and mealtimes as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. It’s all about sharing food that the whole family will love, with your baby in a highchair pulled up to the table. Apart from the first few weeks of weaning, there really is no need to cook twice. In fact, it’s much better that you don’t! Your baby will benefit both nutritionally and developmentally from eating with you; and, if you are not stuck in the kitchen all day preparing endless different meals, you’ll be happier and less frazzled, too.

Your child’s development depends on three key areas of health that are intertwined and are interdependent – these are the Brain, the Immune system and the Gut (BIG). The first thousand days seems to be the critical window to get this essential BIG nutrition trio functioning well, as that is when your baby’s mind, immune-resilience and intestinal health are being primed for the future.

Read more →

Extra Life

Steven Johnson will present a four-part television series with historian David Olusoga, also titled Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. As with the book, the series, set in the context of today’s COVID-19 crisis, explores the lessons learned from previous global pandemics—including smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu, and others—and reveals how scientists, doctors, self-experimenters, and activists launched a public health revolution, saving millions of lives, fundamentally changing how we think about illness and ultimately paving the way for modern medicine.

Read more →