A book with a striking cover is sometimes reason enough to pick it up. A book that comes highly recommended by colleagues, Twitter pals and your Mother, that’s a must read. Oddly enough, I’ve never read Andrew Kaufman. I’ve seen him at events, I’ve seen plenty of tweets from a certain someone (I’m looking at you @kingvonelk), I’ve even seem him in the RHC lobby, so it’s long overdue that I get on the Andrew Kaufman train.
Am I ever glad I did, because as a reader, you get thrown into a world of Weird. Why capitalize the W in the word Weird? Well that’s because this is the story of the Weird Family. A family that consists of five siblings (Richard, Lucy, Abba, Angie and Kent) and one very interesting grandmother named Annie. The story kicks off with Angie, who’s pregnant and forced to visit her grandmother when she learns that she’s checked herself into the hospital, claiming that her impending death is near, April 20th at 7:39pm (to be exact.)
Before I proceed, I’ll share with you the meaning of the word Blursing. As Book One indicates,
Blessing + Curse = Blursing
It’s important to clarify what a blursing is, because that’s what Grandma Weird has given to each Weird child. When they each entered the world, their Grandmother held them and provided them with what she thought was a blessing, but in turn and with a lot of aggravation, the Weird siblings “blessings” have now turned into major headaches. In an effort to protect the story’s richness, I won’t share with you what their “blursings” are, but let’s just say that sometimes a cover can say it all.
Two weeks prior to April 20th, Grandma Weird explains to Angie that in order to lift their curses, Angie is to gather her four siblings and the five of them are to come to her on the fourth floor of the Vancouver and District General Hospital where each of their curses will be removed.
The problem lies in trying to gather all the Weird siblings. They’ve not spoke in years and the likelihood of trying to get them all to come together is probably not going to happen, especially when it’s to travel to hear what the “shark” (their lovely nickname for their Grandmother) has to say, or in this case fix. Angie’s got a huge responsibility ahead of her, but she’s sure that her Grandmother means business and so she sets out to travel the country of Canada to gather her siblings.
The slow and steady rebuilding of these relationships is way beyond what any Weird family member is willing to do, but Angie’s insisting ways makes each sibling sit up and take notice. What conspires is a journey of growth, family and love. A journey that takes you, the reader, on a journey across our beautiful country. As you read this novel, you’ll travel from West to East and back again. Andrew Kaufman’s ability to weave every aspect of Canada into his story, makes for a fantastic Canadian reading experience and a great selection to add to your Canadian Literature list and piles.
More importantly, Kaufman makes sure that you know the Weirds, that you really get to know them and that you begin to understand what each and every one of them is all about. They’ve experienced many obstacles, some together, most separately. Many of their separate experiences, mixed with their blursings have resulted in defining them who they are. Their self worth and their decisions are all taken into account and each sibling is forced to face their past and make decisions that could have a direct result in changing everything they’ve ever know.
At the core of this stunning novel, is the importance of family. In today’s day and age, whether it be gadgets, hectic schedules or silly excuses, we forget about the importance of being true to ourselves and to each other. Andrew Kaufman has written a novel that brings light to what’s really important in the grand scheme of things. It’s gripping, funny and sad all at the same time.
As mentioned before, this book came highly recommended by anyone who’s read it, so I’m paying it forward and saying to each and every one of you,
Read Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman. It’s guaranteed to make you smile and maybe shed a tear, or two.