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5.0 out of 5 stars Born Weird
Sterling D. Wyird emigrated from England to Canada in search of a new life but found himself in possession of a new name. A mix-up on the part of a love struck immigration officer resulted in the substitution of an "e" in the place of Stirling's accustomed "y" and, seventy-five years later, Stirling's descendants were still Weird.

They were also pretty...
Published 17 months ago by Erin Britton

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irritating
I was a bit irritated by the premise of this book before I even borrowed it from the library, but the blurb and reviews pulled the wool over my eyes. I should have trusted my instincts. The whole thing revolves around the joke of the family name, which wears thin immediately. The characters remain wafer thin caricatures to the end, despite the fact that their every move...
Published 13 months ago by Sugarteets


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irritating, 21 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Born Weird (Paperback)
I was a bit irritated by the premise of this book before I even borrowed it from the library, but the blurb and reviews pulled the wool over my eyes. I should have trusted my instincts. The whole thing revolves around the joke of the family name, which wears thin immediately. The characters remain wafer thin caricatures to the end, despite the fact that their every move is spelled out in painful detail by the author, who I'm not surprised to read is a screenwriter (not a criticism of screenwriters, but it read like a film. A bad one, mind you). It's a poor man's Wes Anderson in book form, really - trying very hard to be quirky and failing, failing, failing so miserably to be anything but a collection of worn cliches and bad jokes. The final line made me throw the book across the room in disgust. I wasted valuable life on this. Avoid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kaufman's first disappointment, 25 Jan. 2013
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Born Weird (Hardcover)
I've loved Andrew Kaufman's books since the superb "All My Friends are Superheroes" and was really looking forward to "Born Weird", but sadly I found it rather disappointing.

The book tells the story of the Weird family - their name the result of a misspelling in the past - specifically the five children. When they were born their grandmother gave them all special abilities - nothing exciting like flight or invisibility, more the ability to forgive, always win in a fight, never lose hope and so on - and now, years later, the grandmother is close to death. She gives Angie Weird an instruction to gather her brothers and sisters together and return with them to the hospital in three days as that is when she will die, and at the moment of her passing she will take these gifts from them, gifts they have come to see as neither blessings nor curses, but "blurses". Angie sets off to find her siblings and the book details the story of the family, their father who disappeared and is presumed dead, their mother who is mentally ill and has a fixation on cutting peoples hair badly, and best of all "Rainytown", the model village of sorts, made of cardboard in the loft of the family home on rainy days to keep them occupied, although this great creation only features a couple of times.

Unlike Kaufman's other books I didn't really find any of the characters appealing, nor did I find the story particularly amusing or touching ("Superheroes" and "The Tiny Wife" both made me laugh and cry, and "The Waterproof Bible" was often moving) and in the last third I felt it ran out of steam, as though Kaufman didn't quite know what to do or how to end it. It's an enjoyable read, but for me it was a big let-down compared to his previous books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing in places, 25 April 2013
This review is from: Born Weird (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book based on its premise - a family of siblings each cursed with something from The Shark (their grandmother) which was supposed to aid them in life but has ended up with them being afflicted rather than helped.

One sibling gathers the others, and what follows is a strange but enjoyable look into how their lives have developed apart from each other and with their respective curses.

The characters however feel rushed and thin, and the language used in dialogue is somewhat simplistic at times. If it weren't for the adult themes, I'd say it was written as a young adult novel.

I did struggle to finish it, I wanted to know more and more about The Shark but I was left with that wanting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is a very unusual book & it is best if belief is left at the front cover, 21 July 2014
This review is from: Born Weird (Paperback)
The 5 siblings of the Weird family were (unbeknown to them) blessed at birth by their Grandmother. Unfortunately these blessings became more of a curse and they lived difficult lives. Their Grandmother is now dying and plans to remove these blessings/curses at the moment of her death provided they are all present. Angie, the favoured Grandchild, has to round up the rest & get them there on time.
This is a very unusual book & it is best if belief is left at the front cover. No explanation of how the blessings are made or where the magical power comes from is given. Just accept it or you will get very irritated by the book's total lack of explanation. Fortunately I was looking for a relaxing rather than complex book when I started this so had no problem settling back and accepting things at face value.
This is rather a light weight book - apart from the continuing requirement to believe what is written no real effort is required on the part of the reader. It isn't just the blessings that need to believed it is the vast number of coincidences (also due to their Grandmother's influence) and the surreal lives that these siblings lead with their very strange habits. The story flows very well and it is a very easy to read book - ideal for a quiet holiday afternoon at the pool or if you are likely to get interrupted. It was easy to put down and pick up again without needing to focus very hard. You don't need to keep track of each of the siblings life stories as very little information is provided as to how they arrived in their current position. A small amount of back story exists about their childhood but that is all. How Abba came to be Queen of Uplifftia and build a large fairytale castle is left to the readers own imagination!
The characters in this book are really quite shallow. I don't think we get to totally understand any of them beyond the way that their blessings and upbringing has made them who they are. There are glimpses (such as Angie listing all the places that Lucy has been fired from for having sex at work) but no real detail is given. These are quite superficial characters but that worked for me as the whole plot was light and without much depth.
There are some possible deeper issues within this book. For example Angie has the blessing of being instantly able to forgive everyone and has been walked over her entire life. Kent has the ability to win any fight so is only confident when fighting. When the Grandmother dies she makes statements to them all, such as to Kent she says you are only strong when you appear weak. These have the potential to be quite deep and meaningful. However, I didn't read the book at this level and I don't feel that there is enough substance to build the story up to this level.
Don't look for much from this book. Just settle back and suspend belief. Enjoy a bit of a fairy tale with some amusing moments and a story that flows by very easily. Fortunately I was in the right mood to read this book - had I been looking for a complex and exciting plot I would have been disappointed and my review may well have read very differently.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Born Weird, 15 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Born Weird (Paperback)
Sterling D. Wyird emigrated from England to Canada in search of a new life but found himself in possession of a new name. A mix-up on the part of a love struck immigration officer resulted in the substitution of an "e" in the place of Stirling's accustomed "y" and, seventy-five years later, Stirling's descendants were still Weird.

They were also pretty peculiar. The family seemed predestined to be dysfunctional but the Grandma - non-affectionately known as the Shark - decided to help matters take a turn for the, well, weird. When each of her grandchildren was born, the Shark bestowed upon them a blessing: Richard would always be safe, Lucy would never be lost, Abba would never lose hope, Angie will always forgive, and Kurt will always be strong when he needs to defend himself. These blessings soon proved to be curses and so the five now grown Weird children are forced to reunite in order to lift their curses at the exact moment of their grandma's death.

Born Weird is another excellent novel from Andrew Kaufman. He has a gift for spotting the absurd in ordinary life and for creating characters that are at once extraordinary and completely relatable. In order to life their curses, the Weirds embark on a kind of surreal road trip to reconnect with each other and to solve the mysteries of their family's past. There's a lot of silliness along the way but also quite a bit of emotion and surprise. In addition to their adventures in the `real' world, Born Weird also explores the Weird siblings time spent in Rainytown, a delightful cardboard settlement that they began as children and which still serves a purpose today.

Born Weird is a wonderfully, madly quirky novel that should entrance fans of Kaufman's previous novels and new readers alike.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wacky Races, 6 Sept. 2013
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Born Weird (Hardcover)
Take five siblings, insert into a dysfunctional family, send them on a road trip quest for truth and reconciliation - the result is a typically weird and wacky story from the quirky pen of Andrew Kaufman. Having previously enjoyed his contemporary fable, The Tiny Wife, I was keen to discover more about the Weird siblings.

Granny Annie Weird is insistent that her five grown up grandchildren gather at her bedside to witness her demise...which will occur at 7.39pm on 20th April. She's pulled these sort of stunts before but Angie Weird thinks she's serious this time so she sets off on a whirlwind trip to reunite her siblings and return them to Annie's death bed so she can undo the "blursings" she bestowed upon them at birth. A "blursing" is a combination of blessing and curse which Annie believes she gave (fairy godmother style..) to each grandchild. Admittedly each of the Weird kids has a particular quirk; Angie will always forgive even the most heinous crime and Kent is invincible in a fight (a la Clark Kent perhaps).

Angie's quest to track down her siblings is fraught with difficulty, her advanced pregnancy doesn't help! This is an entertaining and, at times, poignant tale of family life. Yes, they're weird but don't we all have a bit of oddness or is that just me?? Another winner from Andrew Kaufman, perfect for fans of Wes Anderson's movie, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just the right amount of Weird, 2 Jan. 2013
By 
Curiosity Killed The Bookworm (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Born Weird (Hardcover)
The Weird family have always been a little, well, weird but when their grandmother announces she will die at 7:39 pm on April 20th, Angie discovers her and her siblings were cursed at birth. Grandmother Weird had meant them as blessings but each has ruined their lives. Kent will never lose a fight, Lucy will never get lost, Richard will always be safe, Abba will never lose hope and Angie will always forgive. If they are all present at her time of death, the curses will be lifted. Yet the Weirds aren't a close-knit family and Angie must track them down and convince them.

One word to describe Born Weird is weird but Andrew Kaufman's writing is surreally charming. He manages to be both light-hearted and serious at the same time; there's lots of amusing lines and passages but at the heart of it is the message that getting things wrong is part of life. They might be weird but their dynamics are that of many a large family, the interactions between siblings completely believable.

I loved Rainytown, the imaginary town they made out of card and scraps as children and kept cropping up throughout the story. There's a race against time across Canada and a lot of bad haircuts in this short but perfectly entertaining novel.

Review copy provided by publisher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swallowed it in one huge read!, 8 April 2013
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This review is from: Born Weird (Kindle Edition)
Best read in one seating! It will have you roaring with laughter yet mellow at the end with a few words of wisdom slotted in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical & rather wonderful, 13 July 2013
By 
D Belbin (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Born Weird (Hardcover)
Andrew Kaufman showed in his excellent The Tiny Wife that he can pull off an extended whimsical conceit in a brief novella. Now he does the same in a full length novel. Other posts spell out the plot, which is a fable that reminded me of 'The Royal Tenenbaums' at one extreme (ie a very screwed up, yet tight family) and the novels of Richard Brautigan at the other. This is a lot of fun. I read it in two sittings during a rare UK heatwave which suggests that it's gripping, yet not too demanding. The fable does have a moral or five, but that's not done in a heavy handed way. I could see Sofia Coppola filming it (indeed, the novel has tonal similarities to Euginedes' 'The Virgin Suicides'). Whimsical and rather wonderful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman, 12 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Born Weird (Paperback)
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!
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Born Weird
Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman
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