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The Opposite of Everyone

A Novel
Narrated by: Joshilyn Jackson
Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

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 best-selling 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 reinvent 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 15 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 best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.

©2016 Joshilyn Jackson (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Joshilyn Jackson's abilities extend beyond her writing - insightful, funny, and poignant - to her narration. She breathes fiery life into Paula...she creates touching scenes and builds suspenseful twists, capturing the listener's complete attention and admiration." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Janice
  • 27-06-16

Goddess of destruction and rebirth

I hesitated to select this story because its main character was a supporting (and largely unappealing) character in Jackson’s last book (Someone Else’s Love Story) which was not one of my favorites, although not bad. But the reviews have been good and I am fan of JJ’s, so I took the gamble – and it’s a winner.

Much in the way Fredrik Backman made us understand Britt-Marie, Jackson has pulled back the curtain and revealed the source of Paula’s steel edge and high wall against the world. With an unerring comprehension for navigating the stormy rapids of the mother-daughter relationship, Jackson gets to the heart of the emotionally devastating rift between Paula and her mother (Kai) and how that has shaped both their lives for 15 years of yearning silence. Although Paula has built a prosperous and independent life for herself, a sad little girl still whispers inside her, and when Kai swings a wrecking ball, Paula’s inner child finds full voice, setting her on a new life journey with two very different companions who both love her in very different ways, and have much to teach her about the meaning of family.

As with all of JJ’s books, there is quirkiness, humor, serious reflection, and tears of sadness and of joy. In other words, there is life. This is probably my favorite of JJ’s since A Grown Up Kind of Pretty.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy
  • 20-02-16

I love Joshilyn Jackson's way with words.

Joshilyn Jackson spins a Southern yarn like no one else. The way she tells it will leave you spellbound.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-01-17

Not her best

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I am about 3/4 of the way through this one and I am having problems even wanting to finish it. The story is good but getting to the story through all the flowery descriptions that to me were off the track and the going back and forth from past to present makes it hard to stay focused. I have had to go back and listen to parts of it again because my mind wandered since it did not hold my attention. I have loved all her other books, would give most of them 5 stars, but I just couldn't get into this one. It was like a movie that you come out of and say they could have cut 30 boring minutes from it if they just cut to the chase. It had a lot of extra "stuff" that didn't make sense to me and had nothing to do with the story itself. I noticed from other reviews that the way she read it bothered a lot of people but I found nothing wrong with the narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • anonymous
  • 26-01-18

I wanted to like this book..but

I didn't like the story line at all... characters weren't believable and the promiscuity of the main character was really over kill... I felt committed after investing a couple of hours so I finished it.. but all the while couldn't wait for it to end!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa YoYo
  • 01-06-16

Narration was rough

I liked the general story, despite being somewhat overwrought. However, the narration was the real issue for me. All of the adult characters sounded about 14, and everything was spoken in such a dramatic tone like every flick of a wrist was a pivotal moment in the plot. I really tried to appreciate it, knowing it was the author reading it, but it was too much.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlie Rimmer
  • 25-03-16

Not Impressed

Too many story lines & none of them were impressive. Ending was lame. Concept had potential, liked main character. But too many characters with less development distracted from her.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Avid Reader
  • 29-02-16

Thoroughly engaging!

Jackson again creates a spellbinding Southern tale at once different and like any you have ever read. She carefully weaves together her storylines in a way that keeps her readers curious about the final shape of her narrative.Her voice perfectly expresses the thoughts of her characters. This book is a perfect example of why I love audiobooks! Fabulous listen!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • 27-02-16

Rich, lovely, smart, flawed characters

Joshilyn Jackson pulls me in with every new story she weaves. Her characters are rich and her storytelling is mesmerizing. Add to that the flawless and nuanced narration by the author and this becomes a magical book of burden, loss and redemption. Absolutely wonderful!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • 26-02-16

A long long time ago - it happened then...

...and its happening now. My heart eyes and ears are still full and hanging on to this beautiful wonderfully told story. I don't want to let it go...as I type this its like my eyes are closed, I'm afraid to move and allow the story to fade away. Linger...linger...linger. Oh my gosh, I have to get ready for work. I will read/listen to it again...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thoughtful Reader
  • 26-02-16

Adored this book!

Buy this book--NOW. It will knock you out & Im a tough literary critic. Every single word is a gem, not a wasted sentence from beginning to end.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful