All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland (2001)



The Drummond family are extraordinary, in the fact that they are a normal family. The book focuses primarily on their lives in the lead up to Sarah Drummond’s launch into space. We also find out details of how their lives led to the events which unfold in this book.


I picked this book up on a whim. I had actually confused Mr. Coupland with another author in my head, and was delighted when I saw this book on sale. It then sat on my “reserve book stack”. I generally have anything from 10 – 20 books in this stack, which tides me over when I have no spare money to spend on books. Having started a new job recently, and feeling the pinch as the tax man eat into my pay cheque, this was the perfect time to get stuck into this pile. And that is how this book became my “handbag book”.

“All Families are Psychotic” is a strange book. It flits between the past and the present in such a fluid way. Often-times  I had to re-read certain paragraphs as suddenly it was 1973 and there was no mention of it. I enjoyed this. It helped keep me focused on what I was reading. 

The best way to describe this book is akin to a black hole. It sucked me in and spat me out faster than I realised. Took me less than a week to read it, at 20 minutes at a time, but in saying that, the story told. The once fractured family has something of a redemption and they fall back together as best they can.

The story, as I have mentioned, takes place in the run up to Sarah Drummond’s space launch. Janet, her mother, and Ted, her father, are divorced and haven’t spoken to each other in years. Wade is a HIV positive con man who’s wife has recently found God, and Bryan, bless his socks, is utterly depressed and has a girlfriend who doesn’t believe in vowels. A heist, imprisonment and a robbery follow, along with miracles and disbelief.

Worth the read, absolutely. Even if it is a bit mental at times.

TL: DR Review – The space launch is about the most normal every day thing that happens…


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