The Opposite of Everyone; Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow - 2016
(Intro - Chapter 1)
"I was born blue.
If my mother hadn't pushed me out quick as a cat, I would have been born dead and even bluer; her cord wrapped tight around my neck. She looked at my little blue lips, my blue toes and baby fingers, and named me after Kali. Kali Jai.
My mother was in the middle of a six-month stint in juvie for shoplifting and possession when I was born. She had thirty-six hours with me in the hospital before the state took her to finish out her sentence. My grandparents--stiff, unhappy couple that they were --got temporary custody."
Paula (Kali) Vauss is a tough, Atlanta, divorce attorney with a childhood that was anything but normal. Born to a free-spirited, irresponsible mother, Paula's younger years were spent traveling from place to place when her mom jumped from one quick relationship to another, until she eventually ends up in jail and Paula in foster care. Although she hasn't seen her mother in years, out of guilt, she sends her mother monthly checks. One day the check is returned along with a mysterious note from her mother, forcing Paula to confront her past and act on what she has learned.
I've been a fan of this author for a number of years. Her characters are generally quirky and her families dysfunctional. She knows just when to infuse humor so that the stories never feel too dark or painful. For some reason I struggled with this novel. The story is narrated by Paula, and, the chapters are mostly about things that happened in the past but, are written as if it's in the present. This felt somewhat off putting for me. I also had a had time sympathizing with the main character. (Paula is a character that appeared in an earlier Jackson novel - Someone Elses Love Story), but you can certainly read this book without reading the earlier story, and I got the impression there will not be a followup novel featuring Paula. Overall this was just an okay read for me but, I will still look forward to other books by this author.