A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb
Will no one read Cathy Lamb's novels??
Seriously, I've recommended her to countless people and not one of them has taken my suggestion. This is a little concerning because my taste in books is
1) I own all of her books. ALL OF THEM. There's six. Be impressed.
2) I've READ all of her books. ALL OF THEM. And not like "eh...I'll skim these 400 pages for the good parts" kind of reading. Cover to cover, every single word. And every book has made me laugh, cry, gasp, exclaim profanities. EVERY ONE. But let's look back at the opening line of this numbered point: "I'VE READ ALL OF THEM". You may be thinking, "But Caroline...you are the world's greatest book nerd. If there were a world record for being a book nerd, you'd win. So why is this a big deal?" Here's why, dear reader. Because in my home, I currently have
That is logic that cannot be refuted. She is obviously very talented and writes excellent novels. THerefore, you should all go out and purchase or borrow or download...whatever...her books. Do it now. I'll wait...
And for those of you that disagree with my logic stated above or disagree that you should read her stuff, consider yourself disowned.
Okay not really.
But I may make it very difficult for you to get a library card to borrow from my personal collection.
I know the owner.
Alright enough of that. On to the review!
A Different Kind of Normal has a beautiful female protagonist as its star. Jaden. She's the mother of a teenage son, Tate, and you are quickly informed of 2 important details:
1) He is not her biological son. He is the son of her drug addict sister who gave him up a couple of days after his birth.
2) Tate has a serious condition that he was born with. He has a shunt in his head that goes down into his heart to pump out extra cerebral spinal fluid. This also means that he was born with an oversized head and one of his eyes is larger than the other and placed higher on his head. Needless to say, he doesn't look "normal".
Jaden also works as a hospice nurse and the scenes with her patients are both entertaining, endearing, and emotional (like all those e's?). I cried for the first time by page 12, and was in love with Jaden and Tate by page 20.
There is no way to NOT love Tate.
He's not your average 17 year old. His condition and physical description aside, Tate is incredibly smart, witty, and sensitive. Lamb's description of his character is played out in various scenes with a variety of people. He is incredibly attached to his young cousin, Damini, who lost her leg and wears a prothesis. He also enjoys making Jaden groan over his jokes about how women can't control their hormones around his sexual prowess. I guarantee you: Tate will make you laugh. Several times.
For instance, Jaden, Tate and their extended family went to meet Tate's doctor, Ethan (a.k.a. Dr. Hunkorama according to Jaden), for a rafting trip. Unbeknownst to them, he would have a woman with him for the trip. She immediately showed disgust and perhaps a bit of fear for Tate because of the way he looks. Rather than be dejected and hurt, Tate turned the tables on her quickly, making jokes about how it was contagious. The whole family joined in with Caden (Jaden's brother) proclaiming that he was certain his head had started to grow more with the condition. Damini informed the poor woman that she lost her leg to the disease and perhaps the lady wouldn't lose her leg but her "boobies" (which were described as rather large). The scene ends with Tate and Damini chasing her around shouting that she couldn't catch it unless she got hit with some "spittle".
It's not an easy life though. Jaden is facing trumped up charges of malpractice and neglect from one of her late patient's sons who is just a pissed-off-Napoleon-complex-overcompensating prick (my words, not Lamb's). She's also struggling with the fact that Tate wants nothing more than to try out for the basketball team but she's terrified that he'll get hurt and possibly die (that's not nervous mommy issues...that's because of the shunt in his head). Tate also wants to meet Brooke, his birth mother. And to make things just a little bit more hectic, Jaden is in love with Tate's doctor, Ethan.
I cried. Seriously. I cried so much.
I also laughed. A lot. Tate will forever be one of my favorite characters.
Lamb did it again with this book. She sucked me in, tied me up in these characters lives, and made me wish that I was a part of their chaotic yet lovable clan. I finished this book two nights ago and I want to go back and read it again just so I can reunite with the characters.
Get it now.
Here on amazon