Francesca Martinez: 4 Books That Changed My Life

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  • The stand-up comedian and actress tells Marie Claire about the books that have influenced her the most.

    Francesca Martinez 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. She went on to become an award-winning stand up comedian who has toured globally with her one-woman show, What The **** is Normal?!.

    American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True
    This book had a huge impact on my comedy and me. What struck me the most about Hicks was that he lived his life exactly as he wanted to with no worry about what others thought of him. I was very inspired by his fiercely independent way of living and thinking.
    Kitchener Blue by Alex Martinez
    My father published this novel when I was eighteen. It’s a beautifully written story of the devastating effects the First World War has on a family in London. I found it incredibly moving and powerful in its anti-war sentiment – and was in awe of my father’s talent after reading it!
    A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
    I was hooked on page one and could not put this book down. Frey’s writing style is unique, and has a raw, hypnotic quality, which pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. I cried for an hour when I finished it and felt like I’d been through a painful but beautiful journey.
    Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell
    I read this in Spain last year after reading a fantastic biography of Orwell. My Spanish grandfather fought against Franco so it resonated deeply with me on many levels. Orwell’s humanity shines through his stunningly simple but profound prose.
    Francesca’s new book What the **** is Normal?! is published by Virgin Books (£12.99). She will be speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 22 August. 

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