Friday, February 19, 2016
Book Review: The Opposite of Everyone, Joshilyn Jackson
*Heads up that all links are affiliate links. If you use them to purchase any of the books I'm discussing I'll make a few pennies towards my own book purchases. Thanks in advance for supporting Good Girl Gone Redneck in this way!*
When I saw the opportunity to review this book cross my desk (okay, come in via email!), I couldn't pass it up. I've been a Joshilyn Jackson fan since I read The Girl Who Stopped Swimming several years ago. So the chance to read her latest? I couldn't let it pass me by.
And then? Ready? THEN I realized I'd been invited to chat with her. omg. Yes. Fangirl much? Stay tuned, I'll share that video once I finish my review - promise.
So, here you have The Opposite of Everyone.
We're quickly introduced to Paula, the main character of the book. Paula's tough as nails. She's an attorney, so she has to be. But she's also got some walls up in her personal life and maintains the tough facade throughout. Actually, she's got more than some walls. She's got a building full of them.
The book weaves in and out through Paula's current life and her memories of her childhood. She reflects back on a life on the run with her mother, Kai. Life in and out of different homes, different locations, life with different men - men who became temporary fathers - men who she loathed - men who she feared - men who she watched her mother interact with before running away, off to the next one.
Paula spent some time in a foster home for girls. Perhaps that's not exactly how it's defined, but that's the description. She met many girls there. She fought with many. Befriended some. Hid from others. During this time her mother was in prison. I'll let you read through to find out why - what for - and how this weighed on Paula throughout the years.
I feel like all I keep writing is Paula's name. I know, it's repetitive, but she really is the heart and soul of this book.
We join her on a journey with a man named Birdwine. Birdwine is a PI that Paula used to hook up with. He's a man she trusts professionally, but pulled back from personally. But he's got a tremendous role in this book. He helps her find things she needs to find. Information. Details. He supports her in ways she doesn't normally let herself be supported. Let's just say we like Birdwine. He's got his demons, for certain, but we like him just the same.
Many of the other characters throughout this book are well developed and intriguing. I can't tell you who some of them are because that would give too much away. But I can tell you that the flashbacks Paula shares to her life as a youth without her mother - connecting to other girls in similar situations? - felt so real. Add to that the memories of her mother's voice - her mother's storytelling abilities - so touching and so beautiful. Kai is a wonderful storyteller, weaving in and out through folklore and her own life. So much that young Paula didn't understand, but figures out over the years as she learns more about her mother and her family.
Without turning this into a ten-page review - you can already tell I truly enjoyed this book. It's a definite favorite and my suggestion is that you go grab yourself a copy of The Opposite of Everyone right away. You'll thank me. I promise.
Now, for the very exciting part (fine - for me - at least)! If you would like to watch the TLC Book Tour Bloggers interview Joshilyn Jackson, here you go. Such a fun opportunity and we thank Joshilyn so much for taking the time to connect with us. It was a true pleasure. (See me? I'm in the bottom right-hand corner! And Joshilyn is two over from me. Yay, we're practically besties!)
* I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. I was not compensated for this post in any way - although the chance to chat with the author was a wonderful bonus. *