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It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir) [Hardcover]

Wade Rouse

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2011
How come the only thing my family tree ever grows is nuts?”

   Wade Rouse attempts to answer that question in his blisteringly funny new memoir by looking at the yearly celebrations that unite us all and bring out the very best and worst in our nearest and dearest.
   Family is truly the only gift that keeps on giving—namely, the gifts of dysfunction and eccentricity—
and Wade Rouse’s family has been especially charitable: His chatty yet loving mother dresses her son
as a Ubangi tribesman, in blackface, for Halloween in the rural Ozarks; his unconventional engineer of
a father buries his children’s Easter eggs; his marvelously
Martha Stewart–esque partner believes Barbie is his baby; his garage-sale obsessed set of in-laws are
convinced they can earn more than Warren Buffett by selling their broken lamps and Nehru jackets; his
mutt Marge speaks her own language; and his oddball collection of relatives includes a tipsy Santa Claus
with an affinity for showing off his jingle balls. In the end, though, the Rouse House gifted Wade with love,
laughter, understanding, superb comic timing, and a humbling appreciation for humiliation. 
   Whether Wade dates a mime on his birthday to overcome his phobia of clowns or outruns a chubchasing boss on Secretary’s Day, he captures our holidays with his trademark self-deprecating humor and acerbic wit. He paints a funny, sad, poignant, and
outlandish portrait of an an all-too-typical family that will have you appreciating—or bemoaning—your
own and shrieking in laughter.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (Feb. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307718719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307718716
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #676,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Damn you, Wade!! Damn you! I missed two ebay auctions and delayed taking my Ambien every night for a week so I could finish It's All Relative, but it was so worth it. This book rocks! Charming, funny and saucy enough to make me blush. Wade's family makes mine look like the Kennedys (the ones not driving around on sleeping pills or the ones charged with felonies)."—Laurie Notaro, bestselling author of We Thought You Would be Prettier

"Wade Rouse is back and better than ever in his new memoir It's All Relative. Rouse's books combine the one-two punch of hilarity and heart and never cease to delight.  Filled with uproarious one liners and enough soul to truly satisfy, readers are going to clamor for a seat at Rouse's holiday table! I can't tell you how much I loved this book."—Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of My Fair Lazy

"Wade Rouse has officially become the laugh assassin. And with his holiday masterpiece, It’s All Relative, he's getting downright dangerous, delivering even more laughs than usual. Rouse's remembrances of his family holidays are masterfully gift-wrapped in delightful dysfunction and topped with a bow of laser-sharp sentimental insight designed to help you not only laugh at but also fall in love again with your own jacked-up gene pool. This book is the gift that keeps on giving."—Josh Kilmer-Purcell, star of the hit reality series, The Fabulous Beekman Boys and New York Times bestselling author of The Bucolic Plague and I Am Not Myself These Days

About the Author

WADE ROUSE is the critically acclaimed author ofthe memoirs America’s Boy, Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler, and At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream and editor of the upcoming humorous dog anthology I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship! He is a humor columnist for Metrosource magazine. Rouse lives outside Saugatuck, Michigan, with his partner, Gary, and their mutts, Marge and Mabel. He is available for select readings
and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact the Random House Speakers Bureau at

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'It's All Relative' is a Five-Star Feb. 1 2011
By Rose A. Valenta - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
If you love to laugh, you need to read "It's All Relative Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)" by Wade Rouse. It was released on February 1st by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. It is a compilation of hilarious essays that will have you ROTFYAO.

In his fourth book, Wade tackles family life and holidays and brings out the best in his dysfunctional and eccentric relatives. We all have them, right? Wade says that "Family is the gift that keeps on giving, no matter how much we wish they would stop."

All of the holidays throughout the year are represented, even Swedish Day and a Pez Collector's National Convention. My favorite is an essay where Wade and Gary meet up with a neighbor from hell and begin to fight over relationships and appropriate anniversary presents. Then, Wade tries to buy a new Honda Pilot from someone, who smells like Paloma Picasso, because it happens to be a "steel" (11th) anniversary in "So, a Gift Card to Trader Joe's Isn't Romantic?" His self-depreciating humor is priceless!

Wade Rouse is the critically acclaimed author of three memoirs, America's Boy, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, and Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler. He is a journalist and essayist whose articles have appeared in numerous regional and national publications. He contributed to the humorous essay collection about working in the retail industry, The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles. This book was featured prominently on NPR and in The Wall Street Journal and includes pieces from other noted authors. He also taught a writing class to humorists at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop 2010. I attended his class and was amazed at his ability to get people to write about fear. I'm not talking Freddy Krueger or Michael Moore movies here, where people get chopped up or the government confiscates your first born child on celluloid; I'm talking the real deal. As a humorist, Wade believes that humor writers need to first write about and get rid of fear and inhibitions, find your "inner voice," then get funny.

He was sneaky about it too. "What are you afraid of?" he asked, smiling. "Okay, now write that down."

The class thinking it was a private exercise that we needed to do for ourselves, spilled our guts for 20 minutes on paper, hoping to burn it before ditching it somewhere near the University of Dayton's incinerator.

So, what happens? Professor Rouse makes us read it out loud to the whole class! I coughed, and my inner voice squeaked "I have to go to the bathroom." It was very similar to a Kathy Bates scene in "Fried Green Tomatoes." You remember the one, before she became Towanda.

The Washington Post describes Wade as "An original writer and impressive new voice." I can describe him as fascinating, funny, and talented. He has a great gift. You absolutely need to put this book on your "must read" list.

Wade is a graduate of Drury University and has a master's from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. He lives near the coast of Lake Michigan with his partner, Gary, and their beloved mutts, Marge and Mable.
It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)America's BoyConfessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler: A MemoirAt Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holidays, Families, Children, Laughter, Tears April 8 2011
By Bill Busse - Published on
It's all here in another great collection of 'memories' from childhood and beyond (Wade's childhood, that is).
I especially loved the "Christmas" brag letter Wade wrote after receiving such a letter from a good friend. Of course he never mails it because everyone would be mad.

Why is it that we all want to brag about everything we've done (some we probably haven't but say we have anyway) and that without the accomplishments of our children, we have no self worth.

Maybe we all need therapists. In this case, reading Rouse is the best therapy and it is much less costly than the $150.00 per session should you pick a great therapist!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected April 27 2014
By spareroom - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I chose the book by title, and in the beginning thought I might not like the choice. By the end I had read so much that I could relate to, so much goodness,so much real life, I wanted to hug the author and somehow let him know I understand.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book: It's all relative. Dec 23 2012
By Linda L Gomory - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There were parts of this book that were hilarious and I howled. But there were parts I could have done without. It all depends on your individual sense of humor. Some people would love it. I did not.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actual laugh out loud combined with touching life moments Sept. 11 2011
By muggletrixie - Published on
I read Wade first in "At Least in the City.." and LOVED IT. This book continues to show that Wade has a great voice in the written word. Lots of funny, actual laugh out loud moments combined with touching moments that brought tears. Its like listening to your best friend tell their stories. Def recommend.

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