A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.
Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.
These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”
Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.
The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.
The voice is hard-boiled and the plot engrossing in Jackson's (Someone Else's Love Story) new novel, a realistic, contemporary story with a mystery driving it. In a twist, the troubled detective protagonist is no screwed-up male with substance abuse issues and an inability to commit (although there is one in the story); rather, she is hard-nosed, mixed-race, divorce lawyer Paula Vauss, nicknamed Kali (as in the fearsome Hindu goddess) by her feckless but charming mother Kai. Paula has settled near Atlanta, where she tries to push away everyone she cares about, but this becomes impossible when her past and present converge. She hasn't seen her mother Kai in years; then, the monthly check she sends to her is returned with a cryptic message, and a half-brother, Julian, whom she didn't know she had, shows up. Although Paula is rough and reckless, Jackson makes her an easy character to root for by vividly depicting her inner struggle and past. This is an excellent read with a fresh take on the detective genre.