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This book is so much deeper & better than I thought it was going to be. So very grateful to BookBrowse for providing me with a copy to read & discuss with their online book club. This book has been on my to read list since it's publication but I probably wouldn't have gotten around to reading it anytime soon had a copy not been provided to me. Oh how I love little literary surprises!
How Karma Works...
This novel grabbed me in the first few pages and I had trouble putting it down. Not only is Joshilyn Jackson an accomplished writer, she is entertaining and imaginative.
Love Those Southern Writers. . .
Written in first person, Attorney Paula Vauss, aka Kali Jai, leads us down a winding lane of chaos, intermingling sadness, happiness, loss, redemption, love and family transformation along the way. From the days of traveling with her wild eccentric Mother to the lonely days of state placement to the "love 'um and leave 'um" lifestyle she maintains as an adult, we meet the people who hold her interest and influence her along the way. Continually paying off her "debt" to her Mother, Paula suddenly finds herself a sibling. Not once, but twice.
"You know how Karma works", is the final piece of the puzzle her dying Hindu-mythology-loving Mother leaves for her, as it changes her life forever.
An #1 Indie Next Pick, this beautifully layered novel features Paula Vauss (aka Kali Jali) who spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited mother, Kai. Her mother was a Georgia storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern tales to reinvent their family’s history. Soon the mother-daughter bond is fractured landing her mother in prison and Paula into foster care system.
Janis H. (Willow Street, PA)
Recommended for book clubs
As the story begins Paula is now a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. Even though she hasn’t seen her mother in fifteen years, she does continue her obligation by sending her monthly support monies until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter containing words about a final journey, death, and a new beginning when we met again.
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, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and deep in her heart. With the help of an ex-lover and her newly discovered younger brother, she now has to figure out how the other missing family pieces are put back together.
I am a huge fan of Southern writers such as Jackson. In this book she delivers another one of her quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novels that combines writing with a vivid and imaginative storyline. This novel is an intense look at broken people and how they heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of “stories.” “The Opposite of Everyone” has been a bright spot in my last few months of leisure reading. Jackson hits both this reader’s emotional nerve and the funny bone by using evocative language and creating memorable characters to carry her story.
Birdwine, an ex lover, in a moment of compassion tells Paula Vauss that she is unlike others. She is the opposite of everything and everyone. Her stay in foster care has provided her with a tough and uncompromising exterior which a high powered, expensive divorce lawyer needs. Paula also has a soft underside that her estranged mother has created. Neither she or her ex lover are very nice people. Her clients in the throes of divorce do not present their best behavior.
Paula J, Bath ME
Then why do I like this book? Paula changes. As she faces two cataclysmic events, she accepts her mother's errant behavior and is able to forgive herself for the wrongs she believes she has committed. Jackson gives the mother her voice and quality through her retelling of a Hindu story. In the end Paula's memories of her mother center on her illustrations of those stories and frees her from her past.
This was the first book I've read of Jackson's and I'll be looking for more. Great characters and a good story.
What a story!
This is a quirky and engaging story starring almost believable characters. It has everything I like in a novel--a clever and original plot that doesn't get too wrapped up in philosophical lectures--reader has to figure out the subjective, underlying meaning, if any.
Tiffany April Griffin
Childhood plays a role in your adult character. This book takes you through the journey of a broken soul. It tells the heartaches that come from living in a foster home. It tells the journey of why being a good mom is prudent. Sadly, a tragedy occurs. Through this tragedy you will see how a damaged childhood can affect a persons adulthood, the importance of family, healing from scars of the past and others paths of life. She is like a butterfly. Only through tragedy, does she learn to let her wings fly.
"A Journey of Betrayal and Trust"
I would like to thank BookBrowse for a copy of "The Opposite of Everyone" by Joshilyn Jackson. The author writes about family, betrayal, trust,traditions, love and growth.The story centers around a character, Paula Vauss, a successful divorce attorney, and her journey to discover her relationship with her mother, family, and boyfriend. Paula's roots start with a dysfunctional young mother,Kai, who tells stories using Hindu as well as southern tradition. Kai makes many wrong choices, and goes to jail leaving Paula to grow up in a foster system. The children and the foster system contribute to Paula's poor self esteem. Paula feels guilty that she is separated from her mother, and believes that she betrayed her. This starts a pattern when Paula is constantly trying to make amends with Kai. As a successful attorney Paula sends money to Kai, to try to make amends, and mend their relationship. Paula has no address for her mother,just a post office box, and at one point Kai sends the money back with a cryptic note. The story starts off very slowly, but picks up and there are different twists and surprises. Many of the characters in this novel and Paula's life are broken and dysfunctional. I do like Paula and feel that she does show courage and growth. In my opinion this novel has many layers, and is very deep. I would recommend "The Opposite of Everyone", but please keep in mind it is a heavy read.