17 March, 2016
The first book of Jenna McCarthy's that I read was called "Pretty Much Screwed" and it was a page-turner. (you know, if you like chick lit) This one took a little longer to get into, I think because my experience with birth-order psychology was different from Jenna's portrayal in Everything's Relative.
Warning: There may be subtle spoilers here. No plot points, but character points.
I've always felt a bit of an expert on Birth Order Psychology, particularly as it pertains to gender. As the 4th of 5, we have everything: Eldest daughter, eldest son, middle child (daughter), baby girl, baby boy. That's how *I* classified us, because in this world, CLEARLY, parents treat sons and daughters differently, so whereas my brother is technically "the baby", we were both treated as youngest, perhaps in different ways. My big brother was stubborn enough that my parents quickly realized he wouldn't accept the authority from my sister "the eldest" (apparently - I was too young to observe) and if they went out, he was to be responsible for himself. Thus, she did not suffer consequences for his misbehavior. Or something.
Everything's Relative has me seeing things in a different light. I've always considered myself from the perspective of the youngest...girl. But maybe that only counts where parental control comes into play. The youngest of the three sisters in this book was, "a hot mess" - acting out, rebellious, deliberately separate from her family. That's not me! Sounds a bit like the middle child in my family though, in her younger years. (Of course, not to such extremes as in the book.) So now I'm thinking, maybe my sis "Diana" was reacting to being the youngest of the three eldest siblings. Hmm...
In Everything's Relative, the middle sister is the peace-keeper who always wants everyone to be happy. A people-pleaser. That's a bit more me. A conflict-avoider of the highest order, I will freely leave the building when Diana loses her cool at me. So... maybe I'm more like the middle child of the bottom three siblings in my family? Certainly baby bro and Diana teamed up against me enough as we grew up. (And no, that's not my bias. They have both admitted as much in adulthood. They knew what was going on. I knew what was going on. It was a fact: Them vs. Me.) So maybe I should identify with the middle.
Anyway, after I got over my birth order confusion, I was able to enjoy the book a lot more. She's a good writer, and I'll keep following Jenna McCarthy. I still preferred Pretty Much Screwed, though. Maybe because it didn't hit as close to home.