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. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, 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 15 years, she's still making payments on that karmic debt - until the day her last check is returned in the mail along with a mysterious 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 best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Janice on 27-06-16
Goddess of destruction and rebirth
I hesitated to select this story because its main character was a supporting (and largely unappealing) character in Jackson’s last book (Someone Else’s Love Story) which was not one of my favorites, although not bad. But the reviews have been good and I am fan of JJ’s, so I took the gamble – and it’s a winner.
Much in the way Fredrik Backman made us understand Britt-Marie, Jackson has pulled back the curtain and revealed the source of Paula’s steel edge and high wall against the world. With an unerring comprehension for navigating the stormy rapids of the mother-daughter relationship, Jackson gets to the heart of the emotionally devastating rift between Paula and her mother (Kai) and how that has shaped both their lives for 15 years of yearning silence. Although Paula has built a prosperous and independent life for herself, a sad little girl still whispers inside her, and when Kai swings a wrecking ball, Paula’s inner child finds full voice, setting her on a new life journey with two very different companions who both love her in very different ways, and have much to teach her about the meaning of family.
As with all of JJ’s books, there is quirkiness, humor, serious reflection, and tears of sadness and of joy. In other words, there is life. This is probably my favorite of JJ’s since A Grown Up Kind of Pretty.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Amy on 20-02-16
I love Joshilyn Jackson's way with words.
Joshilyn Jackson spins a Southern yarn like no one else. The way she tells it will leave you spellbound.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful