It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)

It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)

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by Wade Rouse
     
 

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How come the only thing my family tree ever grows is nuts?”


   Wade Rouse attempts to answer that question in his blisteringly funny new memoir by looking at the yearly celebrations that unite us all and bring out the very best and worst in our nearest and dearest.
   Family is truly the only gift that keeps on

Overview

How come the only thing my family tree ever grows is nuts?”


   Wade Rouse attempts to answer that question in his blisteringly funny new memoir by looking at the yearly celebrations that unite us all and bring out the very best and worst in our nearest and dearest.
   Family is truly the only gift that keeps on giving—namely, the gifts of dysfunction and eccentricity—
and Wade Rouse’s family has been especially charitable: His chatty yet loving mother dresses her son
as a Ubangi tribesman, in blackface, for Halloween in the rural Ozarks; his unconventional engineer of
a father buries his children’s Easter eggs; his marvelously
Martha Stewart–esque partner believes Barbie is his baby; his garage-sale obsessed set of in-laws are
convinced they can earn more than Warren Buffett by selling their broken lamps and Nehru jackets; his
mutt Marge speaks her own language; and his oddball collection of relatives includes a tipsy Santa Claus
with an affinity for showing off his jingle balls. In the end, though, the Rouse House gifted Wade with love,
laughter, understanding, superb comic timing, and a humbling appreciation for humiliation. 
   Whether Wade dates a mime on his birthday to overcome his phobia of clowns or outruns a chubchasing boss on Secretary’s Day, he captures our holidays with his trademark self-deprecating humor and acerbic wit. He paints a funny, sad, poignant, and
outlandish portrait of an an all-too-typical family that will have you appreciating—or bemoaning—your
own and shrieking in laughter.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Damn you, Wade!! Damn you! I missed two ebay auctions and delayed taking my Ambien every night for a week so I could finish It's All Relative, but it was so worth it. This book rocks! Charming, funny and saucy enough to make me blush. Wade's family makes mine look like the Kennedys (the ones not driving around on sleeping pills or the ones charged with felonies)."—Laurie Notaro, bestselling author of We Thought You Would be Prettier

"Wade Rouse is back and better than ever in his new memoir It's All Relative. Rouse's books combine the one-two punch of hilarity and heart and never cease to delight.  Filled with uproarious one liners and enough soul to truly satisfy, readers are going to clamor for a seat at Rouse's holiday table! I can't tell you how much I loved this book."—Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of My Fair Lazy

"Wade Rouse has officially become the laugh assassin. And with his holiday masterpiece, It’s All Relative, he's getting downright dangerous, delivering even more laughs than usual. Rouse's remembrances of his family holidays are masterfully gift-wrapped in delightful dysfunction and topped with a bow of laser-sharp sentimental insight designed to help you not only laugh at but also fall in love again with your own jacked-up gene pool. This book is the gift that keeps on giving."—Josh Kilmer-Purcell, star of the hit reality series, The Fabulous Beekman Boys and New York Times bestselling author of The Bucolic Plague and I Am Not Myself These Days

Library Journal
Career memoirist Rouse here wrestles with the importance of family. Using the holiday calendar as a lens, he recounts humiliations and indignities visited upon him by relatives throughout the years. Rouse is funny, not mean-spirited, so the anecdotes are sweetly amusing and demonstrate his larger point: holidays help you remember what's important, even if your relatives are drunk, the decorations are flammable, and you are miserable in an inappropriate Ubangi Halloween costume.What I Am Telling My Friends This was not really my cup. It's laugh-out-loud funny at points, but we've been over this territory before. If you need a nontaxing reminder of your family's normalcy, this here's your book. . —"Memoir Short Takes", Booksmack!, 12/16/10.
Kirkus Reviews

A memoir of comedic holiday misadventure.

Memoirist Rouse (At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life, 2009, etc.) mashes up a lifetime of holiday debacles into a single book. Virtually every known celebration—from Christmas to Arbor Day—is exploited for humor's sake, and the author relies primarily on quick wit and artistic license to evoke a response from the reader. The results are mixed, particularly due to Rouse's insistence on alienating much of his readership. To be fair, no one is spared the sharp barbs of his jokes—not rural family members, the obese, the ugly, or even Helen Keller—though some readers could interpret this oversimplification of humanity as a form of elitism or snobbery. When describing his chivalrous decision not to drink in front of his recovering-alcoholic partner, he wrote that to do otherwise would be "like those husbands who continue to bring their eight-hundred-pound wives honey buns and two-liter jugs of Mountain Dew before...their spouses are airlifted out of the trailer park." Similarly, his pronouncement that "[i]f there is not a quality coffeehouse every one hundred feet, you're either driving in rural America or visiting a place you need to get the hell out of" is further fodder for anti-elitists. Rouse is most successful when he shows his heart alongside his humor. In "The Wonder Years," he discusses how he and his partner opened their home for a dying dog, forcing them to glimpse their own mortality in the process, and "My Holiday Miracle" explores Rouse's attempt at comforting his mother as she nears death. Both of these essays offer rare, unrestricted access into the author's emotional world.

An unbalanced collection of occasionally humorous essays that rarely strike an emotional chord.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307718723
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,025,222
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

WADE ROUSE is the critically acclaimed author ofthe memoirs America’s Boy, Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler, and At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream and editor of the upcoming humorous dog anthology I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship! He is a humor columnist for Metrosource magazine. Rouse lives outside Saugatuck, Michigan, with his partner, Gary, and their mutts, Marge and Mabel. He is available for select readings
and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact the Random House Speakers Bureau at
www.rhspeakers.com.

www.WadeRouse.com


From the Hardcover edition.

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It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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David Sedaris? Please! This book could have been worse, but at best it was shallow and boring. It was the Olive Garden or Applebees of memoirs.
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AnthonyYounMD More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Wade Rouse is an amazing writer along the lines of David Sedaris. My highest recommendation!
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KatieO84 More than 1 year ago
Could not stop laughing (except when I was crying!). The stories are quick, hilarious and touching. Finished this is one weekend - just couldnt stop reading. Wade, can I send you and Gary a crystal punch bowl?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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bigbearphx More than 1 year ago
Some politicians believe gays and lesbians don't represent "family values," but we actually bring them to a higher level. Rather than just be content with the family we are born into, we feel the compulsion to customize committed relationships with one another (devoid of legal definition, in most states) that take herculean efforts and countless compromise to maintain. We may embrace our pets as surrogate "children," and have to work harder than our siblings to maintain good relationships with them and our parents who may not fully understand or accept what we are about. It is just this craziness that Wade Rouse highlights in his latest memoir, a simultaneously hilarious and poignant remembrance of year-round holidays past and present. Navigating the stormy seas of dealing with individual quirks and compulsions, Wade tells about holiday trips to the homes of his Ozark parents and that of his partner, Gary's, yard sale-obsessed family, Halloween costumes he'll never forget (but would prefer to do so), and a passion for gardening that allowed Gary to bond with Wade's mom in a way he never could. There are amusing stories of parties planned, shopping at "Homo Depot" and why he learned to play the trombone. But there are also heartfelt stories of his relationship with his grandmother, his father's heart attack, and visit to his mother in a nursing facility. It is extremely rare for me to go back and read parts of a book a second time, but I did immediately after finishing this one. I simply didn't want it to end! The individual stories - really 35 diverse vignettes set during different holiday times of the year - are so well-written, engaging and entertaining, that you too will want to savor each one like courses of a fulfilling feast. Anyone who had read any of Rouse's previous books knows his dry, un-PC humor, which is at its best yet in this, his fourth book. Don't miss this one! Five bold stars out of five! - Bob Lind, Echo Magazine