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A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb

A Different Kind of Normal (edition 2012)

by Cathy Lamb

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7313164,469 (3.64)9
Title:A Different Kind of Normal
Authors:Cathy Lamb
Info:Kensington (2012), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Read in 2012, Read but unowned
Tags:READ 2012

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A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb



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A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb
Love reading about magical mystical powers and what regular herbs can do not only in spells but healing humans.
Centuries earlier the twin sisters had some fights: the powers that be set a spell on the sisters and it showed up down the family tree with one male child, Tate being deformed at birth: a huge head, eye not where it should be etc, making him appear to be a monster. His mother won't allow him to play sports as he's a teen now due to his medical conditions.
He starts a blog and tells of his life and he gets many followers and he enjoys getting to love their comments. It's his way of dealing with not being accepted into the public.
His real mother Brooke was into drugs also and had left him with her sister: Jaden who is raising him now and been more to a mother to him than anyone.
There are other deformities of other relatives as well as the years have gone by.
Tate and his mom do spend time with Ethan, Tates doctor. They've been to the beach. Also Tate can take care of himself, not only did he ace the PSAT's, he is big and when others make fun of him he beats them up til they are his friends.
She still won't let him play basketball and he keeps trying to convince her. She's a hospice nurse and tries to make others passing more peaceful and no pain.
Jade and Tate live with her mother, Nana Bird and she's a soap opera actress that does love scenes. They watch on the weekends together. He's made the team and Jade is excited for him and scared cuz of his medical conditions.
Tate's real mom is back on the scene, recovered and rehabbed.
Death smells, high school dances, college, lawsuits, and death and how they all cope makes this a super down deep read.
Wish it had the recipes they speak of in the book. ( )
  jbarr5 | Jul 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A family descended from witches (at least according to some family members), a curse that manifests itself in each generation, and just plain quirky characters, Cathy Lamb's newest novel has all of this and more. Jaden Bruxelle is a dedicated hospice nurse and an overprotective mother. She adopted her drug addicted sister's baby when he was only a couple of days old and has been protecting Tate ever since. Tate was born with a much larger than normal sized head and misaligned eyes and his appearance has subjected him to a lifetime of bullying and nasty name calling. A genius, he feels that he could endure the taunts and the ugliness if only he was allowed to try out for the basketball team, having devoted countless hours to practicing against his own backboard. But because of his enlarged head and the shunt he had to have placed to drain extra fluid, Boss Mom Jaden refuses to entertain the idea of him playing and risking injury. Her fears for Tate not only prevent him from trying something he loves but they cripple her as well. She's unwilling to pursue a very strong mutual attraction with Tate's doctor Ethan because if she did, ethically he would no longer be able to keep Tate as his patient and she can't risk not having the top doctor available for her boy.

Fear reigns over courage for Jaden even though it causes Tate great unhappiness and definitely cools their otherwise incredibly close relationship. She knows that she will eventually have to let him live the life he chooses but she's terrified to give him that chance, to give herself that chance as well. While Jaden wrestles with her unmovable decisions, Tate starts an anonymous blog talking about the reality of being him, the kid with the big head, the one people call a monster or a freak. He is completely honest in his entries giving the reader insight into his opinion of his mother's inability to let him be normal in the one way that means the most to him and about the ways in which he sees the world.

While Tate and Jaden argue back and forth about the merits of letting him at least try out for the team, there are quite a few other plot lines weaving through the novel and downright odd characters peopling the pages. There's Jaden's sister and Tate's biological mother, Brooke, a drug addict who abandoned her baby and is threatening to reappear in her family's life, shaky and trying to stay sober; Jaden and Brooke's mother, a famous soap opera actress, flits in and out of the story; and Jaden's brother is a single dad to a little girl with one leg, adopted from India, and to three of the oddest children (triplets to boot) ever created, a retired pro-wrestler, and now a florist who lives just down the street from his uber-competent, tightly buttoned up and clearly repressed sister. Jaden is facing a lawsuit brought against her by the sleazebag son of one of her deceased patients, her back and forth footsy game with the hot doctor continues for much of the novel, and the historical background on the family ancestors and their reputation as witches weaves through the narrative as do Jaden's memories of Brooke's growing addiction. So very much going on between these pages.

While the book certainly has some touching moments and explores some important themes, it comes across as altogether too quirky and overloaded with too many major and minor plot lines. Learning to let go is certainly hard and for Jaden it is complicated by Tate's scary medical history but he's seventeen and she continues to hover over him as if he's a toddler. The fact that she likes to go to the greenhouse and mix up herbal combinations, all of which smell of death and forewarn her of a loved one's imminent demise is a bit heavy handed given all the other foreshadowing in the novel. Many of the oddball characters here are too one dimensional to be believable. Tate himself is quite obviously the most wonderful teeenaged boy ever. His small sulky moments just reinforce how unrealistic he really is at all other times. And there are bits that just don't add up about Jaden's concern. She is too terrified of the potentials to let Tate try out for the basketball team and yet the kid has been regularly beaten up throughout his life. The fighting is apparently less likely to dislodge his shunt than playing basketball is.

I wanted to like this one so much more than I did. It just went too far over the top for me and didn't reel itself back in with particularly realistic characters. The celebration of oddity and left of normal (by choice or by accident of birth) was fine but to have each and every character have to highlight the fact that our definition of normal is too narrow and reductive was less than subtle and didn't trust readers to get it without handing it to them on a platter. What should have been a warm and quirky read instead descended into predictable and cliched for me and left me disappointed. ( )
  whitreidtan | Mar 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Beautiful little story about one quirky family. Just the right amount of magic thrown in the mix. I always enjoy Cathy Lamb's writing. ( )
  dksthomson | Jan 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have tried numerous times to get into this book but I am afraid it is just not my cup of tea. It sounds like an interesting plot but in reality, it is confusing and rather boring. ( )
  Yells | Nov 23, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
LOVED this book. A boy with severe disabilities is born to a druggie mom. The mom chooses to give him up to her sister and just walks away from the hospital and him. It's a story of his upbringing by his aunt "Boss Mom" and the trials and tribulations they go through dealing with his disability but also his genius IQ. I absolutely recommend this book. ( )
  KristiB41 | Oct 31, 2012 |
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From acclaimed author Cathy Lamb comes a warm and poignant story about mothers and sons, family and forgiveness—and loving someone enough to let them be true to themselves…
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Through a series of unexpected events and revelations, hospice nurse Jaden Bruxelle learns how to let go of her fears and anger, and loosen her control on her special-needs son, Tate.

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