The Opposite of Everyone

Morrow. Feb. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062105684. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062105707. F
OrangeReviewStarBecause Paula Vauss was born blue, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, her free-spirited mother, Kai, named her "Kali" after the blue-skinned Hindu goddess. But Kai still had three months left in a youth detention center when she gave birth, so "Paula" ended up on the birth certificate. This conflict between Kai's feckless, creative nature and Paula's wish to be "normal" plays out tragically, leaving mother and daughter estranged for years, until Paula, now a high-powered divorce lawyer known for digging up dirt and nailing greedy husbands for hefty settlements, receives word that her mother is terminally ill, perhaps already dead. The smart-ass, no holds-barred narration by whip-smart Paula/Kali with not infrequent but judiciously placed earthy language should please the many fans of Jackson's (Gods in Alabama; A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty) snappy writing style.
VERDICT The story of how a hard-edged, biracial, self-sufficient divorce lawyer allows family and love back into her life after fiercely shielding herself from heartbreak for over 20 years is likely to join the author's six previous novels as a popular book club selection. [See Prepub Alert, 8/24/15.]

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