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Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman

Born Weird (2012)

by Andrew Kaufman

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8910207,615 (3.66)17
The Weirds have always been a little off, but not one of them ever suspected that they'd been cursed by their grandmother. At the moment of the births of her five grandchildren Annie Weird gave each one a special power. Richard, the oldest, always keeps safe; Abba always has hope; Lucy is never lost and Kent can beat anyone in a fight. As for Angie, she always forgives, instantly. But over the years these so-called blessings ended up ruining their lives. Now Annie is dying and she has one last task for Angie: gather her far-flung brothers and sisters and assemble them in her grandmother's hospital room so that at the moment of her death, she can lift these blessings-turned-curses. And Angie has just three weeks to do it. What follows is a quest like no other, tearing up highways and racing through airports, from a sketchy Winnipeg nursing home to the small island kingdom of Upliffta, from the family's crumbling ancestral Toronto mansion to a motel called Love. And there is also the search for the answer to the greatest family mystery of all: what really happened to their father, whose maroon Maserati was fished out of a lake so many years ago?… (more)
  1. 00
    Finn Fancy Necromancy (The Arcana Familia) by Randy Henderson (LongDogMom, LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Unusual families with unusual powers and the problems of sibling rivalry, dysfunctional parents; quirky and humourous
    LongDogMom: Unusual families with unusual powers and the problems of sibling rivalry, dysfunctional parents; quirky and humourous

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman is a light-hearted fictional tale about a creative and quirky family named The Weirds after a misspelling of the original name of their ancestor, Sterling D. Wyird, in the process of emigrating from England to Canada.

It’s a story of the grown children’s quest to gather themselves together to meet their grandmother who they all cynically refer to as the Shark, before the deadline of her own prophetic death.

Why must they do this? Because much to what they’ve guessed about themselves, their grandmother reaffirmed their beliefs about being “cursed” with special gifts they each received from her and promises to lift each curse upon her death.

Though the premise of the story sounds absurd, its telling is easily readable and entertaining enough for the reader to be drawn into its fantastical plausibility.

The Weird Family consists of intelligent, witty, and creative, imaginative siblings, though different in personality, are all bound by the sentimental act of building a model city together as children from cardboard boxes and their vivid imagination—and also by the trauma of an absent father who is tragically killed in a car accident.

The five siblings—Richard, is given the ability to keep himself safe; Lucy, is never lost; Abba, never loses hope; Angie, is given the power to forgive anyone, anytime; and Kent, has powerful physical strength in order to defend himself.

And while these “gifts” appear as blessings, bound by the absolutism of them, the bearers are hindered and the gifts become a curse.

It’s in their quest to search out and gather each sibling to make the deadline to visit their dying grandmother that they’re able to cope and come to terms with not only the bafflement of their individual gifts, but also the mental deterioration of their mother who lives in a janitorial closet in a nursing home, and the mysterious nature of their father’s missing body.

To read the rest of my review, you're more than welcome to visit my blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet:


Zara ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |

The five siblings of the Weird family have all been given a blursing (should be a blessing but has turned into a curse) by their grandmother when they were born. The blursings give the Weirds particular capabilities or predispositions; Lucy never gets lost, Abba never loses hope, Richard always keeps safe, Kent will win any physical fight, and Angie always forgives.. These have pushed the sibling’s lives in strange directions and the grandmother realises that she can remove these blursings upon her deathbed, which she accurately predicts to be on her birthday. She charges Angie to gather the Weirds together and bring them to her bedside at the moment of her death. What follows is a strange family dysfunctional road trip across Canada and beyond which skirts whimsy and plays with weird. This is a much better novel than the waterproof bible which had put me off his books, but someone I trust a lot recommended this. I’m still not 100% sure I’m a Kauffman fan but I did read this straight after watching Wes Anderson’s latest film and I think that helped put me in the right frame of mind.

Overall – Off the wall slice of gentle weirdness ( )
  psutto | Mar 12, 2014 |
The Weird family are certainly that "Weird" five siblings whose Grandmother imposed certain "blursings" on them when they were born is dying and before she does, she wants to lift these "blursings" from her dear grand children!! She wants Angie to bring them all to her bedside at the exact time of her death so she can lift them!
This leads to a riotous journey for the siblings, where they learn all sorts of things about each other and their Weird family and draw closer together in the process. Very amusing, quite surreal, definitely unusual but oh so entertaining! ( )
  Glorybe1 | Feb 12, 2014 |
This was a one-sitting read for me during a read-a-thon. And yes, weird, indeed. I quite enjoyed the first half of the book but the second turned a little supernatural for me. There were a couple of turns of events that I had to flip back a few pages to make sure I was understanding everything but it was a quick little read that made the day go quickly. ( )
  janeycanuck | Jan 4, 2014 |
Born Weird isn't a love story like All My Friends Are Superheroes, but it inhabits the same whimsical, charming, go-with-the-flow world. In this case, the Weird siblings - Richard, Lucy, Angie, Abba, and Kent - all received "blursings" from their grandmother when they were born: intended as blessings, they became curses instead. Now on her deathbed, their grandmother tasks Angie to bring all her siblings together one last time so that she can lift their blursings at the moment of her death.

Angie is reluctant, but supernatural events convince her, and she begins with her sister Lucy. Together, they round up the rest of their siblings to return to their grandmother, and solve some family mysteries along the way. Kaufman addresses some deep matters with a light and loving touch; I'm looking forward to reading his other book, The Waterproof Bible.
  JennyArch | Dec 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
In Andrew Kaufman’s third novel, five siblings with the surname Weird feel they don’t quite fit into the world. The Weirds don’t have the exaggerated strangeness of some of Kaufman’s previous characters, like The Waterproof Bible’s green-skinned, underwater-city resident Aberystwyth. They only feel different.

On the occasion of his or her birth, each Weird child is bestowed with a “blursing,” an ostensible blessing that over the course of a lifetime becomes a curse. The blursings don’t give the Weirds superpowers, just particular capabilities or predispositions: Lucy never gets lost, Abba never loses hope, Richard is programmed to keep himself safe from harm, Kent is able to defend himself from all threats, and Angie always forgives.

It’s clear Kaufman has buried a lot in his narrative. The specific and repeated noting of addresses, flight and seat numbers, dates, and spans of time suggest a deeper meaning. For a reader not particularly disposed to puzzles or code games, deciphering the significance of these elements is difficult. Other non-numerical mysteries in the narrative – the meanings of overly wordy epitaphs, for example, or clues to the Weird father’s disappearance –require time and attention to appreciate. Figuring these things out are the rewards of repeated readings.

Perhaps because of the attention devoted to codes and puzzles (or because of the distraction they create), the novel sometimes feels shallow, especially when it devolves into a plethora of platitudes in its last quarter. Once assembled, the siblings descend upon their mother’s retirement home, where she acts as a sort of oracle. The Shark offers further life lessons at the moment of her death, and each sibling does likewise at the novel’s end. The careful demolition of each blursing is made meaningless by such repetition.

Born Weird does not suffer overmuch from these missteps. Spending time with the Weirds is enjoyable, and Kaufman has a gift for quick repartee among his characters. However, it’s ironic that as the siblings get closer to accessing their genuine feelings, the novel begins to pull away from the urgency of real emotion. The Weirds’ motto is “truth isn’t fair,” so why does the book conclude so tidily? Perhaps it’s because this is what fairy tales and children’s books do, and it serves the characters’ inner children to allow them their happy endings.
added by VivienneR | editQuill & Quire, Heather Cromarty
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