Paula Vauss is certain she has risen above her difficult childhood, and that she is finally in a stable place in adulthood. That is, until her entire world shifts and she tells herself she is atoning for her “sin” she has spent years trying to shed.
Paula is an independent, high-power divorce attorney, and a partner at her firm. She lives in a modern loft overlooking Atlanta., and has no husband or children she feels weighed down by. After a tumultuous childhood on the run, and being bounced around between her single mother, grandparents, and the foster care system, with her very identity being changed frequently at her mother’s whim, she finally feels at peace.
Although she is estranged from her mother, she sends a monthly check, in an attempt to be forgiven for their past. She never receives any word back, but the money is always deposited. One day, she gets her check back in the mail and a note from her mother saying she has weeks left to live and is going back to revisit her story. With no way to contact her any more, Paula tries to move forward with her life and assumes her mother is gone, and that she is absolved from the guilt that has hung over her head for so many years.
Months go by with no word from her mother, or of her death, when a stranger shows up to Paula’s office and her world screeches to a halt. One day, she is the attorney who spends her days dismantling families, and the next she is forced to confront the family bonds that had never been tied to her before. As she learns you can never fully run from your past, this unexpected visit begins a whole new chapter in her life that shows her the true meaning of family, friends, love and shame, and helps her see her future in a different light. She slowly is able to release the guilt she has held on to for so long, even if it means feeling beaten down first.
The Opposite of Everyone weaves in and out of Paula’s childhood and adult life, linking parallels between the two, while deftly contrasting how she has had to grow and change from one stage of life to the next. As a little girl who was forced to grow up too quickly and hide her true feelings most of the time, Paula has tried hard to convince her adult self that she is invincible and she doesn’t need to rely on others to get through life. She is a warrior, and a fighter as needed, and has told herself as long as she has a successful career, that is all she will need in life. Or is it?
Jackson, a New York Times Bestselling Author, started this story off with a good hook, but the story sometimes felt slow to me. That being said, it was an enjoyable, quick read for me that had me guessing what was coming next, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
3.5 stars out of 5.