Born Weird - Andrew Kaufman (2)

I thought this book was going to be quirky going into it, but I was still surprised. This is the story of the Weird family, five siblings whose lives have been overshadowed by unique character traits that have both protected and hamstringed them.

We first meet Angie, who has been called to her grandmother’s sick bed. Annie Weird (Angie’s grandmother) is the formidable matriarch of the Weird clan, and has earned the name, since weird and inexplicable things have a tendency to occur when she’s around. So when she tells Angie that she imbued each of her grandchildren with a special characteristic upon their birth and that these have turned into curses that she wants to lift before she dies, Angie doesn’t immediately disregard her words.

Angie is charged with gathering her four siblings at their grandmother’s bedside by her birthday – which is also the day Annie Weird says she will die.

This task is a lot harder than it sounds, since each of the Weird children went their own way a long time ago, and some haven’t talked to any of the others in years. What follows is an epic journey, both geographically and emotionally.

One of the things I really wasn’t expecting in this book was the magical realism element. It’s not traditional magical realism á la Gabriel Garcia Márquez, but it’s magical, and it’s realistic, so I think it counts. It added an interesting element to the characters and their relationships and definitely made this a fascinating reading experience.

As a Canadian, I couldn’t help but love that this book was set in my home country – even partly in my home town. If you’re a fan of CanLit, this is a great book to check out.

The Weirds have always been a little off, but not one of them ever suspected that they’d been cursed by their grandmother.

At the moment of the births of her five grandchildren Annie Weird gave each one a special power. Richard, the oldest, always keeps safe; Abba always has hope; Lucy is never lost and Kent can beat anyone in a fight. As for Angie, she always forgives, instantly. But over the years these so-called blessings ended up ruining their lives.

Now Annie is dying and she has one last task for Angie: gather her far-flung brothers and sisters and assemble them in her grandmother’s hospital room so that at the moment of her death, she can lift these blessings-turned-curses. And Angie has just two weeks to do it.

What follows is a quest like no other, tearing up highways and racing through airports, from a sketchy Winnipeg nursing home to the small island kingdom of Upliffta, from the family’s crumbling ancestral Toronto mansion to a motel called Love. And there is also the search for the answer to the greatest family mystery of all: what really happened to their father, whose maroon Maserati was fished out of a lake so many years ago?Goodreads

Book Title: Born Weird
Author: Andrew Kaufman
Series: No
Edition: Paperback
Published By: Random House Canada
Released: December 26, 2012
Genre: Fiction, Canadian, Magical Realism
Pages: 288
Date Read: November 12-17, 2015
Rating: 7/10

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