Anita I. Boutin was Norman's sister and fellow New England native.[1] She was a hard-working nurse who eventually lost a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 63.

She became known to Norman's critics from his references on Amazon to her suffering and death as a way to shame the "trolls" for criticizing him and his book.


Anita was born in July 25, 1952 to Gerard and Jeannette Boutin. She attended St. Joseph's High School in Biddeford, ME, and went on to serve as a nurse at Webber Hospital. She later became the director of nurses at Notre Dame Hospital. She went on to work for twenty-five years at the Southern Maine Medical Center, retiring in 2011.

She was described as often traveling with her other brother, Gerard. She owned a dog named Brutus.

Anita was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2014. She received operation for the cancer on February 5, 2015, but with little results. She eventually passed away on the night July 27, 2015, with Gerard and Norman at her bedside.[2] Norman himself described her declining state:

I visited my sister this morning. She can no longer talk. She could go anytime. My brother and I kept her home until last Friday when she vomited blood. The hospice nurses had been visiting all week and realized my brother and I could no longer take care of her. They took her to a nursing home. I asked her a couple of questions. She nodded or shook her head. Then I started talking about what my brother was doing, how the dog was etc etc. Her lips moved. I put my ear to her mouth but only heard a moan. I said, "I can't hear you" and put my ear to her mouth again. She raised both hands to my neck to push me away. So I just held her hand. The booklet hospice gave us says terminal patients ofter do this. They don't want to be bothered with questions, news, or anything.[3]

And likewise her final hours:

She was thrashing in bed, lifting her knees and pushing the bed with her feet. This might have gone on for another two weeks. I told the doctor, "We don't want that. We know her life is over. She knows her life is over." He got the message. He prescribed enough morphine to eliminate her discomfort, and though she was gone in an hour the priority was comfort.[4]

Education Edit

During her lifetime, she received numerous degrees:

  • Nursing Degree (University of Maine)
  • Master's Degree in Nursing (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Master's Degree in Pharmacy (University of Rhode Island)

She is described in her obituary as "one of two people in Maine" to hold both a Master's in Nursing and Pharmacy.

Norman's Use of Her Edit

Norman announced his sister's cancer on Amazon, in an effort to shame the "trolls" who criticized his book. He first brought her condition up on February 5, 2015.[5] He berated critics, saying that he had hoped his sister would live to see the day when Empress Theresa would be "the great success it should be." He then called his critics "scum" and added, "You better hope God will forgive you. I won't."

Norman, in classic Norman non sequitur fashion, brought up his sister's condition in the midst of an argument with other critics, for no rhyme or reason - he likewise used it as another opportunity for a random quotation from his book.[6] He later announced his sister's death on Amazon, adding that she was up in heaven now, and "she won't find internet trolls there."[7] (Implying, of course, that "the internet trolls" were somehow responsible for her suffering, which they weren't.) Also worthy to note in both cases is Norman's use of humblebrag, talking about how proud his deceased parents would be, and how the nurses said he and his brother were great.

Norman's critics, to their credit, were completely gracious towards him, as well as to Anita's memory. Most likewise recognized that her pain and suffering had absolutely nothing to do with Empress Theresa, and brought this up to Norman. One critic said, "I think I speak for all of us when I say that we're very sorry about your sister. I also think I speak for all of us when I say that it hasn't nothing to do with your book, so why don't you stop trying to change the subject?"[8]

Another critic attacked Norman's application of his real life tragedy and his fictional tragedy, writing: "To allow personal losses to influence your writing is normal; everyone's been there. To equate actual tragedy with what goes on in your writing and put them on the same level of importance at once...I'm at a loss."[9]

References Edit

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