Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No affiliate links were used in this post.
About The Opposite of Everyone
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (February 16, 2016)
A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama–an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives
Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to reinvent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name, Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own–one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. With the two of them separated, each holding her own secrets, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.
These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that karmic debt–until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mystifying note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”
Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together–her own.
The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.
This novel started off on a high note. The beginning was so strong that I immediately had a sense of what the narrator was like and I had a such a strong connection to the book because of it. I loved the characters–in fact, I loved them so much more than I thought I would at the beginning. This was a faster read than I expected it to be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in depth. There was a lot to take in and I’d like to read it again soon to see what I missed the first time through.
I had the opportunity to participate in a blogger junket with the author. Each blogger who participated was able to ask a question. If you’d like to watch it, here’s the link. It’s about 40 minutes long. I had a list of questions and really didn’t know which one I’d ask until it was my turn to ask a question.
I asked about the beginning of the novel because I tend to analyze the beginning of a novel when I read it. I told her that, but I don’t think I explained why. As a writer, I often find that the beginning is a hard part to get right, so if the beginning of a novel starts off really well I like to think more about what worked. Since the beginning of the novel gave me such a strong feel for the character, I asked Joshilyn Jackson if she knew how it would start right away or how long it took to perfect that beginning.
And she said that the first line was actually the last part that she wrote, which is typical for her. This really intrigued me. She said that she believes the ending must be contained within the beginning.
That’s something that I’ve thought about quite a bit since we had the blogger junket and, as a writer, I so appreciated her thoughts on that.
Also, she was so sweet during the chat that I am now a loyal fan. It was so much fun to have the opportunity to talk with her and she was so kind. I definitely recommend checking out her books if you’re interested. I have another book from her sitting on my shelf that I am so excited to read! She said it’s a little creepy, which only makes me more excited to read it!
About Joshilyn Jackson
Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of six previous novels, including gods in Alabama, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and Someone Else’s Love Story. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, she is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.
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