New Release: The Shape of Normal by Catherine Shields


Congratulations to Catherine Shields and Vine Leaves Press on the release of The Shape of Normal: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability and Embracing a Different Kind of Perfect

★★★★★ "Brave and heartbreaking...will resonate with all parents." ~Jen Pastiloff, author of On Being Human

The Shape of Normal

NEW RELEASE: November 21, 2023
Genre: Memoir
Paperback: $17.99
Ebook: $6.49  

As a young suburban mother in the early 1980s, Cathy had a loving husband, a sweet toddler, and a vision of life laid out before her. Pregnant for the second time, with twins, she imagined creating the warm, affectionate home she’d craved as a child. Her family would flourish, and she would be the calm, unflappable mother at its center.

But the universe had other plans.

The Shape of Normal explores Cathy's intense denial and devotion as she struggles to face the challenges of raising a girl with cognitive disabilities. Convinced her diagnosis can be undone with just the right amount of single-mindedness, she turns it into a dark prophecy. But she'll have to overcome adversity and learn the lesson of acceptance before realizing her daughter was never broken.

Cathy was never on a hero’s journey to save her child. She needed to save herself. 

Praise for The Shape of Normal
★★★★★ “A powerful testament to how our children challenge us to accept them for who they are.” ~Monica Wesolowska, author of Leo + Lea

★★★★★ “Bold, funny, heartbreaking... Nominally, it’s about raising a child with disabilities, but in fact, it’s about raising a child. It's filled with laughs and grit and unforgettable stories and unstoppable love. Everyone should have a mother like Catherine Shields.” ~Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

★★★★★ “Raw, compelling, and brutally honest...a tender exploration of the nuances of raising a child with cerebral palsy that focuses on the often-overlooked emotions of love, fear, guilt, and loneliness... Filled with beauty and insight...impossible to put down.” ~Aileen Weintraub, author of Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir

★★★★★ “Ms. Shield’s experience, filled with frustration, fear, laughter, and tears, certainly provokes empathy and joy in the reader.” ~Wendy Nottoli, M.A., CCC, BCaBA, Speech-Language Pathologist

About the Author
Catherine Shields, M.S. Ed., is a retired early childhood teacher. She writes about parenting, disabilities, and self-discovery. In her debut memoir, The Shape of Normal, Cathy explores the truths and lies parents tell themselves. Her stories and essays have appeared in NBC Today, Newsweek, Bacopa Literary Review, Grown and Flown, Brevity Blog, Write City Magazine, The Manifest-Station, and elsewhere. Cathy lives in Miami, Florida. In her free time, Cathy likes to hike, kayak, and explore the Everglades National Park with her husband, to whom she’s been married forever. Learn more at
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

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