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)

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 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.

Praise for It’s All Relative

“[Filled with] sparkling humor . . . Listen to Wade Rouse—which you most assuredly should, especially if you value laughter and wisdom.”Chicago Tribune

“[Wade Rouse’s] stories are not only laugh-inducing, but also truly revealing of what it means to be a family through all stages of life, and show that no matter how kooky his family might be, love is what brings them together and defines them.”St. Louis Magazine

“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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307718723
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 02/01/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 718,099
File size: 2 MB

About 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

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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. 22 reviews.
TBRetc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What? I can't believe there aren't more people who've rated/ read this book! Wade Rouse is hilarious. He reminds me of Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. I picked up this book because Jen Lancaster (another hilarious author) recommended it, and I'm very glad I did. This book basically chronicles Wade's experience with his family and holidays, in the present day and when he was a kid. He is witty and descriptive, and I absolutely recommend reading this and his other books!
knitwit2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rouse has a way with words that tickles the funny bone! I didn't think anyone could rival my family in holiday weirdness but I was wrong! He reminds me of David Sedaris. I expect that we will see much more wonderful work from Mr. Rouse and his hysterical family and life.
matlock.sarah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't quite make it through this memoir. Rouse is quite funny, though also a bit lewd and vulgar and relies heavily on shock-value with sexually explicit references on multiple occasions. Mostly, though, it was an easy read and entertaining. Probably not an author I will read again.
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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?
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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