Born Weird Paperback – Deckle Edge, Dec 26 2012
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FINALIST 2013 – Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
“Kaufman’s stories are whimsical, gentle and reassuringly upbeat…. This novel rests firmly on a vision of hope and imagination.”
—Patricia Dawn Robertson, The Globe and Mail
“Fantastical, quirky, full of wordplay, and laugh-out-loud funny…. With humour, sensitivity and insight, Kaufman reveals how we all spin fantasies to survive the setbacks in life. He creates extraordinary, unreal scenarios in which he is able [to] poignantly illuminate the very real pitfalls and pain of human connection.”
—The Chronicle Herald
“Kaufman has the enviable ability to zing his writing with humor. I often found myself laughing aloud at the Weirds’ fractured reality and the silliness that ensues.”
—Jennifer Hunter, Toronto Star
“With razor-sharp wit and…quirky characters, Andrew Kaufman’s novel conveys the importance of family through a delightful modern-day quest.”
“Spending time with the Weirds is enjoyable, and Kaufman has a gift for quick repartee among his characters.”
—Quill & Quire
About the Author
ANDREW KAUFMAN is the author of All My Friends Are Superheroes, The Tiny Wife, and The Waterproof Bible. He was born in Wingham, Ontario, the birthplace of Alice Munro, making him the second-best writer from a town of 3000. His work has been published in 11 countries and translated into 9 languages. He is also an accomplished screenwriter and lives in Toronto with his wife and their 2 children.
Top Customer Reviews
As "Born Weird" begins, the grandmother summons Angie to her hospital room in Vancouver and orders her to gather her brothers and sisters and return on the day she has predicted she will die. If Angie completes the task, "the Shark" promises to remove all the blur sings. Although sceptical, Angie accepts the mission and travels across Canada, then to the fictional country of Upliffta with a final stop at the family home in Toronto.
Andrew Kaufman explores the chaos of emotions through the blursings, which serve as double-edged swords. Angie, for example, always forgives, but never stops to examine the causes of her hurt; Abba’s hope for the future prevents her from fully living in the present; and Lucy believes that love equals loss so seeks out only casual sexual encounters. Flashbacks to the siblings’ childhood suggest the blursings intensified after their father’s disappearance. When their mother withdraws from reality altogether, the adolescent Weirds must take care of themselves.
Kaufman packs a lot into his narrative; specific flight numbers, dates, and spans of time suggest deeper meaning and require time and attention to appreciate. Because of both the attention devoted to codes and puzzles and the overuse of platitudes, the novel sometimes feels shallow. The ultimate removal of each blursing becomes meaningless after repeated life lessons from the Shark and the Weird mother.Read more ›
The thing is, everyone's family is weird. We all say that, right? I'm pretty sure we all also say "ha ha you think your family is weird, but compared to mine they're normal". Well folks, we're basically all mad here, and that's kind of the core of Born Weird. Kaufman drags a family who was blessing/cursed/blursed by The Shark (aka Grandma, and really, who's Grandma wasn't a shark?) so they could survive being raised by their too young kind of crazy parents. Grandma Weird (ok, so to clarify, really, their last name is Weird) decided the blessings-turned-curses need to go, and says she'll get rid of them on the day she dies and her (youngest?) grandchild Angie proceeds to go on a mildly mad-cap journey across Canada and randomly Upliffta (it's a thing. If I explain why it's a thing, I'll ruin the thing, so I'm not ging to explain the thing) to gather her siblings so they will no longer be cursed. Obviously, they all show up, or the curses don't get lifted. It's a fairy tale guys.
So also hilariously, Goodreads has this on the Fantasy shelf. That confuses me a little, but it does have a princess so I guess I'm ok with it. The book is strange, quirky and full of family drama. It's a quick read, and admittedly adorable (though I kind of feel the author will hate I called it adorable) even if it is a little confusing.
*** I was sent this book by the publisher - all opinions are my own.
We have five siblings, each with a particular attribute which was given to them by their mother. Mother, known as the shark, gave them these attributes hoping they would be helpful, but they turned out to be a curse.
Mother calls all siblings to her deathbed so she can eliminate these curses.
The book is about the siblings all coming together to do this. It is a bit of a romp, with them running allover, Canada and a fictional country of Upliffta.
while I could visualize a lot of what was going on--and I kept thinking this would make a better madcap film than a book--I also got confused with some of the ways in which Kaufman went back and forth with time.
Amusing, but not the hilarious romp I was expecting.