Top 10 Families More Dysfunctional Than Yours (Probably)

~posted by Andrea G.

The extended holiday season, from Thanksgiving through Hanukkah and Christmas to the end of Kwanzaa and into the New Year, is often a time full of family – and the unique frustrations that family can bring. For comfort and commiseration, try reading one of these 10 books featuring families that are (probably) more dysfunctional than yours.

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg – As their mother tries to eat herself to death, her grown children show up to help, and to assign blame.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – At birth, Rosemary’s academic parents twinned her with a chimpanzee and raised the two of them as sisters.

The Radleys by Matt Haig – A family of vampires, trying to deny their urges and assimilate, until their teen daughter has an accident… Now Uncle Will is in town, and he’s a bad influence.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Each of these 12 librarian children have a specialty; some are normal, like languages. Others are more sinister, like bringing the dead back to life.

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell – A trio of sisters pledge to commit suicide on the same day; but before that, they’ll write the history of their cursed family.

My Abandonment by Peter Rock – A teenage girl and her father live in Forest Park, a huge nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. Inspired by a true family.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – Mom dies; Dad leaves; sister starts dating a ghost; brother gets a job on the mainland; through it all Ava is determined to save her family’s alligator wrestling dynasty.

The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar – Parents get in a fight and leave, each assuming the other is staying with the children. Instead Araceli, the family’s live-in maid, ends up taking them into L.A. to try and find their grandfather.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne – A child superstar; a stage mom. Enough said.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson – Camille and Claude Fang were performance artists, and their greatest collaborators were their children, Child A and Child B. Now Annie and Buster are in their 30s, trying to figure life out.

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