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It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,150 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
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 Rous
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Read It Forward
Wade Rouse is one of my favorite writers. I love recommending him to my friends who are fans of David Sedaris. This will surely be the book that makes him a household name. It's hilarious, poignant, and true. Makes me laugh and makes me appreciate the lovable quirks of my own family.
Alec Rigdon
It's All Relative was actually a backup for another of Rouse's books that I was seeking. This one proved to be a pleasant and warm read all the same. His collection of dysfunctional family tall tales makes you feel like part of the gang. There are a few problems I have with his outlook and perception of what it means to be a gay man and even a Midwesterner, but beyond that this was a fun read.
Sherrie Howey
Aug 24, 2016 Sherrie Howey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having loved "The Charm Bracelet" and having recently met Wade Rouse(who is fabulous), I ordered this autobiography and it was a delightful read. There are parts where I laughed out loud and parts where I cried and many situations to which I could totally relate.
Just to highlight a few parts of the book: Wade says "we send xeroxed Christmas letters filled with blasphemous lies" and he writes a fictitious Christmas letter which is one of the funniest things I have ever read. He talks about going
Jan 22, 2016 Joni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hello, Shelfari? Are you listening? I'd really like to be able to give an additional half a star to so many of the books that I read.

It's All Relative was like reading Erma Bombeck meets WIll and Grace. I so quickly check out books from the library that I didn't realize that I would be reading about a same sex relationship until I sat down to begin the book. That being said, I found the overall tone funny, poignant and heart felt. It actually could do a lot for promoting the reality that couple
Krista, Ambassador of Shimmy
Started reading for book club in October 2012. As of October 2013, still haven't finished. Enjoyable, but didn't hold my interest and there are so many other books I want to read. Marking as not finished.
Oct 18, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, humor
Some chapters I was laughing out loud and some chapters I was weeping - sometimes this happened in the same chapter! A very nice retrospective of family.
"We're human. We all occasionally wet ourselves. No one is really better than anyone else. We're just all trying to make it through the year as best we can. We screw up sometimes. We succeed sometimes. We laugh. We cry. We go on."

I read a lot of memoirs, mostly because my standards for what I will read are very low. The author doesn't need to be famous. I don't need to know anything about them prior to reading. I do prefer them to be funny. I do demand that they be honest, and willing to poke fu
May 28, 2011 JSidelinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any of Wade Rouse's other memoirs, but "It's All Relative" showed up in my recommendations, so I thought I would investigate by going to the author page where I ended up amused by the promotion video. Wade Rouse's humor is wickedly funny even biting at times, but he is always completely honest about himself and his faults. A memoir can be a platform for self-aggrandizement, but for each spotlight cast on his family's eccentricities or partner Gary's idiosyncrasies there remains a ...more
Rose A.
Feb 01, 2011 Rose A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
If you love to laugh, you need to read “It’s All Relative Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)” by Wade Rouse. It was released on February 1st by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. It is a compilation of hilarious essays that will have you ROTFYAO.

In his fourth book, Wade tackles family life and holidays and brings out the best in his dysfunctional and eccentric relatives. We all have them, right? Wade says that “Family is the gift that kee
May 24, 2011 Charlotte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, library-book

Wade Rouse is the cure. A writer from the SW Missouri area himself, he has got to be one of the funniest writers I have ever read. It's All Relative is a collection of stories about Wade's holiday experiences. His tales range from hunting (make that digging for) Easter eggs as a kid to his first Thanksgiving with the "In-Laws" but NOTHING is funnier than his tale of his first Valentine's Day with his partner, Gary. I swear to God I nearly wet myself.

I neve
Jun 29, 2011 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I wasn't sure what to make of this book. At the beginning the memoir book seemed a 'it's my parents fault in whatever wrong in my life' which is a complete turn off for me. But I continued to read because it started to become funny, in fact hilarious as he told of living with a dysfunctional family (and who doesn't have one of those) and tolerating the quirks of his partner's family writing about a memory of each and every holiday. I was able to relate with what he was going through dea ...more
Jan Kellis
Jul 05, 2013 Jan Kellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed-by-author
Wade Rouse takes the reader on a year-long journey through holidays large and small, sharing his experiences in his signature self-deprecating way. The book progresses from New Year's Eve to Christmas, with stops along the way for important traditional holidays, as well as Chinese New Year, the Pez Collectors' National Convention, and Barbie's birthday.

Wade lets you in and gives you a glimpse of his life, his family, his foibles, his successes. His writing is deep and true, and you'll find your
Oct 20, 2014 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was full of the side of family that is more commonly experienced but not often discussed. It contains the emotional, funny and messy side. I look forward to reading more from this author and maybe attending a holiday party, since we are just north of you in GH.
Aug 06, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
This was my favorite of Wade Rouse's Memoirs, but mostly because I had read the other books. If you have at least read American Boy you will enjoy this one immensely. Wade uses the calendar months and holiday's to share stories throughout his life. Each chapter has a story. The stories do not go in chronological order, not even during the month sections sometimes, but that does not hurt change the quality of the book or writing. As I have said before I love Wade's writing. I laughed out loud and ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Some people are comparing Wade Rouse to David Sedaris -- and I don't think that's really fair. Yes, they're both gay men who write funny memoirs, but they're very different. Both good. :)

Wade Rouse isn't LAUGH OUT LOUD funny, but there are definitely many moments in this book where I was chuckling. & I even got teary-eyed a couple times too.

Each story always seems to have a moral or a lesson to it, big or small, that he took away. I love how Wade talks about his partner, Gary, throughout the
Karen K - Ohio
I enjoyed the chapters when he talks about his family and their crazy holiday traditions. Very funny. He also writes with great honesty about the pain and isolation in his life growing up as a closeted gay until he was thirty years old.
Karen Leonard
The humor in this book is too crude for me - very un-PC and too much gay jokes. I made it 25% through, and stopped. I have other things I'd rather read.
Dec 23, 2011 John rated it liked it
Blisteringly funny? No ... not even close. More like "very humorous" at its peak moments, and "who the hell lives like that?" when he falls into stereotypical-gay-guy mode. What redeems the book from a two-star "meh!" read were the more serious memoir aspects, reminding me why I found his first book America's Boy: A Memoir such a success.

He's a talented essayist, with a great future, although he runs the risk of being pigeonholed as a "gay" writer if he doesn't make an effort to make it easier
Jan 10, 2015 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually laughed out loud a lot while reading this during the holidays. Any book that can make me laugh that much gets five stars!
Sep 16, 2012 Vy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this memoir. It's a collection of 34 little stories from various holidays, arranged as they would fall during a calendar year, January through December. Through these essays, you glimpse a little of the lives of the author, his partner, and their families. I enjoyed reading this book, to wit: I smiled and chuckled a lot, occasionally laughed out loud, and cried a couple of times.

The reviews here have the inevitable comparisons to Sedaris, and I'll add my own. This was not as fu
Parker Avrile
Mar 04, 2016 Parker Avrile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-romance, memoir
OK, I was literally laughing uncontrollably out loud at some parts of this.
Neil Mudde
Jul 15, 2012 Neil Mudde rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It must be my strange sense of humour, I found and I only read the first few chapters perused the others, and finished reading the story about his Mom's dying the latter was very moving all the other chapters were somewhat tedious, the woman wanting his gator beads? games on the 4th of july Father Rouse will always be the winner, and you Gary will always be the loser, etc. etc.
When looking at the book, I thought this has possibilities, however unfortunately I failed to find much of this funny, c
Mar 19, 2011 Jliongrrrl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
A Jen Lancaster rec, it has to be good... and it was wonderful! A perfect combination of snarkasm and heartwarming family goodness. If you're a fan of Sedaris or Jen Lancaster you will enjoy this book. If your family has strange traditions and you don't really know why, you will enjoy this book.
I loved that it was broken up into months of the year rather than separated by time. The mix of child and adult stories made it much more enjoyable.
I look forward to picking up Wade Rouse's earlier works
Funny anedotes with gay themes surrounding "holidays"
Jul 22, 2016 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Laugh out loud funny and very real. Great read.
Maybe all the public shaming on french tennis player, Marion Bartoli for how she looks is skewing my objectivity and this review. Although Rouse is a funny, quirky writer with a knack for adding sentimental filters to events, I am stripping away 1 star for his fat jokes. And another 1/2 star for the "and I've seen his eggroll" schtick, which he mistakenly thinks is funny. It's your memoir, do what you want. It's just that there are probably other books worth reading before this one.
Mar 04, 2013 Peebee rated it it was amazing
I love Wade Rouse...maybe because I grew up in rural Missouri too, or maybe because he's just freakin' funny! It's great to see him so settled and happy with can really see the difference in his life when comparing this to his earlier work, especially America's Boy: A Memoir. And we've all had holidays like the ones described in this book, just not articulated as well....
Jun 28, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very funny, poignant, and REAL memoir from Wade Rouse, who grew up gay in the Ozarks. It's all about the various holidays as celebrated by his eccentric extended family. Wade and his partner, Gary Evans, now live in Saugatuck, Michigan. I attended a reading he had at Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan recently. The audience was laughing out loud as Wade read excerpts from all five of his books. I highly recommend this one, or any of his other books!
Mar 05, 2011 Nette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories are quite funny, but too many of them end with Icky Heartwarming Morals. A lot of the reviews here compare him to Sedaris, but Sedaris would never end his essays with, "In the end, even after she shamed me in front of the whole third-grade, I realized that my mom really loved me," or "And even though I completely screwed up the anniversary party, my boyfriend ate those rancid meatballs and gave me a big kiss." Easy on the life lessons, is all I'm saying.
Apr 08, 2011 Mary-Frances rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit distressed to find this in the "humor" section, because while I laughed hysterically at a lot of the parts of the book, there were some tear-jerker moments as well.

Wade's family bears NO resemblance to mine and yet, I could relate to his and his partner's families page after page of this book. Dis-function and horrid holidays lead to wonderful heartfelt life lessons and a sweet tribute to the good, bad and the ugly of families and family holidays.
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In this memoir showcasing the ugly side of the affluent mothers of the pseudonymous Tate Academy, among the country's most prestigious prep schools, Rouse, the school's director of public relations, explains that his job is that of the Mommy Handler-keeping the families and benefactors of the institution happy. In particular, he works closely with a woman he calls Kitsy, the head of the parent and ...more
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“We're human. We all occasionally wet ourselves. No one is really better than anyone else. We're just all trying to make it through the year as best we can. We screw up sometimes. We succeed sometimes. We laugh. We cry. We go on.

Those are the things we should really share with each other this holiday season, right, if we dare send a letter? We should share the truth. We should share the insanity.”
“She looked at me in a troubled sort of way, the way I look today at people who rave about the food at Applebee’s or the Olive Garden.” 0 likes
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