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All Families are Psychotic

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,197 Ratings  ·  501 Reviews
The most disastrous family reunion in the history of fiction.

The Drummond family, reunited for the first time in years, has gathered near Cape Canaveral to watch the launch into space of their beloved daughter and sister, Sarah. Against the Technicolor unreality of Florida's finest tourist attractions, the Drummonds stumble into every illicit activity under the tropical su
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 7th 2002 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2001)
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Dec 05, 2009 RandomAnthony rated it liked it
Well, for that matter, what was the purpose of my first sixty-five years? Maybe the act of wanting to live and being given life is the only thing that matters. Forget the mountain of haikus I can write now. Forget learning to play the cello or slaving away for charity. But then what?

Yes, then what, exactly? All Families Are Psychotic is the third (and second best) Coupland novel I’ve read this year (and I would have never picked up the author’s work without goodreads so, um, thanks, Otis and Co.
Aug 20, 2016 BookLover rated it it was amazing
This was a really quirky, yet thought provoking book. This book followed the story of one of the most dysfunctional families I have ever read about. I found myself often laughing at the absurdness of the situations they got themselves into, despite the seriousness of the story.

I realize that Wade, one of the main characters, was probably supposed to be an anti-hero and disliked, but I loved him. He was my favourite part of the book. I loved his protectiveness of his sister.

It's really hard to re
May 15, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, lit
I can't get past my love-hate relationship with Douglas Coupland. I haven't read a novel of his that I haven't enjoyed yet the idea of starting a new one fills me with some kind of nameless dread. It's as if I think it's going to be a difficult read (which they never are) or dull (I'm not sure Coupland does dull.) I blame the titles, or the idea of the as yet unread by me Girlfriend in a Coma which I bought approximately ten years ago and still haven't read. One of those things is consistently d ...more
Feb 22, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
At first I thought it was not going to be a wise decision to pick this book up right after I finished Crime and Punishment. I was right. I was annoyed. How could I possibly read witty banter when Lizaveta was killed with an ax? How about reading slap-sticky fight scenes between a father and son when dear Rodya was living the hard-labor life in Siberia? That’s not even to mention how absurdly over-the-top the entire family and all of the peripheral characters were. An eccentric billionaire obsess ...more
Melissa McShane
As this book opens, Janet Drummond checks into a seedy motel where she's come to stay because her astronaut daughter Sarah is about to go into space. Sarah may have it together, but her brothers aren't so lucky: Wade is only just pulling himself together after a lifetime of screwing up, and Bryan struggles with depression. Janet's ex-husband Ted and his trophy wife Nickie are there too, as is Bryan's girlfriend Shw (no vowels) who is pregnant. Due to a random twist of fate and gunshots, Wade and ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was ok
This was a quick and easy read, but I started to lose interest once I got a little more than half in. It's billed as kind of a humorous tale, and there were some "ha!" moments. But overall, it wasn't funny.... it was really pretty horrible (the goings ons). So an interesting and compelling overall story (of the family), but there wasn't much meat to it (too much back and forth dialogue for me) -- I also felt somewhat disconnected from the characters, and the story, although lacking meat, didn't ...more
Mar 09, 2016 anaïs rated it really liked it
"It was three in the morning and I was walking along the Seine, just beside Notre Dame cathedral with Donny MacDonald, and he was singing songs from Carousel to me — I felt as though my heart would burst! And then there was this chill wind — so cool that I developed goose bumps even though the evening was hot and sultry. I had this premonition that my youth and carefree times were about to end — and it filled me with sadness and resignation — I mean, I'd only just begun to feel like a newly mint ...more
Aug 21, 2015 Luis rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
This isn't a funny book. I don't know why they tag this primarily as funny book. Cause for me, it's not. That's why people get disappointed. They expect something this book can't always give.

This isn't mostly about family matters as well, however the title of the book suggests.

This is about insights on general things. Human things. How we keep on being slaves of our ideas about the world.

"Janet's mother had, for a human being born without a penis in the year 1902, done quite well for herself, wh
Lorraine Wilke
Jul 17, 2014 Lorraine Wilke rated it liked it
A Hallucinogenic Free-Fall Disguised As Real Life:

If nothing else, the title is genius.

I have no idea what Coupland was hoping to convey in this tumbling, bizarre narrative of family life gone crazy, but it's as if he latched onto the word "psychotic" and never let go. While all families have their quirks, likely none are as nuts as this one he's conjured up. And the idea of that was ultimately funnier than the execution.

First the good stuff: amazing phrase turns; smart, clever, funny dialogue
Jul 21, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it
Meet Wade. Wade seems to have a way of wrecking everything around him. For instance, "accidentally" sleeping with his father's new wife and giving her AIDS. And then "accidentally" giving his mother AIDS as well, when his father shoots him for the whole sleeping with his wife thing, and the bullet passes through Wade's AIDS-infested body and and rests neatly in his mother.

Wade isn't exactly doing so hot lately. But then, neither are the rest of his family. His white picket fence mother has a se
Ben Babcock
Despite its rather rambling plot, I actually have a soft spot for All Families are Psychotic. It has something to do with the zaniness of the characters being so realistic. And the ending always chokes me up.

As the title implies, the book's about family and the tribulations one's family undergoes as the wheel turns and one generation supplants another. Yet it's also about all the motifs surrounding family: growing up, maturity, dealing with mortality, and realizing how screwed up the world actua
Jan 25, 2012 Jasmine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This is a good book.

I'm going to say something weird, it's really similar to the history of love by nichole krauss, but better. I know right? I probably never would have thought of it if I wasn't reading/listening to them at the same time.

But this book is also a bit like jackass goes to the prom. Or richie rich takes a slum day.

The quotes on the back say things like: "douglas coupland all growed up"

this book is not all growed up, in fact it's a fairly juvenile book. But lets actually be stra
Jan 31, 2008 Rob rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone that hates themself
Shelves: 2007
Argh. This book was maddening. Coming off the heels of Generation X and Microserfs, I suppose my expectations were pretty high but this really felt like the literary equivalent of bottoming out.

With All Families Are Pyschotic, Douglas Coupland thrusts us into this absurdly over-the-top comically dismal present tense-ish Florida that just doesn’t ever seem to come together. It’s unreliably realistic that’s as much a future-proofed snapshot Now as it is an immediately dated fantasy of yesterday
Dec 01, 2014 Anastacia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, fiction, 2009, favorites
I picked up this book because the title made me chuckle. I am definitely someone who believes that all families are, in fact, psychotic in their own way. It was a quick but fantastic read - quick, I believe, because it was such fun to read. However unlikely the story line may be - it does evolve to include some incredibly odd turns of events - the book started and remained witty and personal and deeply human.

The book centers around a family who all come together to Florida to celebrate an achie
Aug 31, 2009 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it
"All Families Are Psychotic" is a farce that explores dysfunctionality in modern families. The story (such that it is, given its farcical quality) is beyond believable; some of its characters include a thalidomide-baby (deprived of one arm) who grows up and becomes an astronaut, a sibling who unknowingly has sex with his step-mother after he meets her in a bar for the first time (and who is shot by his father after said dalliance), four (FOUR!) members of this same family who are HIV+ because of ...more
Jill Griffith
May 04, 2016 Jill Griffith rated it it was amazing
I love this book not because of the great writing (which it has), or the humour (which it has in spades), or because of the well drawn characters (as vivid as any I've met). No, I love this book because for one brief and shining number of pages, it made my family appear normal. Which it most certainly isn't. Because it's true. All Families Are Psychotic!
María Paz Greene
Jun 14, 2016 María Paz Greene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Al principio no me gustó demasiado: lo encontré demasiado recargado, demasiado negro, demasiado obvio, etcétera, pero no lo solté porque... bueno, en parte porque no estaba con la paciencia para empezar otro, jajaja, y fue bueno porque después de un rato, me agarró, y me agarró muchísimo.

La historia, que parecía aleatoria y sensacionalista, fue tomando forma, y se fueron atando cabos, y los personajes que se hicieron protagonistas fueron los más amables, interesantes, impredecibles de todos (la
Mar 16, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: dude-lit, popular
Great little read. I finished in a weekend, because there was a humorous, unforeseeable detail around every corner. While some dialogue seemed forced or hokey every now and then, and some of the flashbacks were overwrought, the main story moved at a brisk pace and was highly original. The ending was a slight disappointment, but an overall great work of modern fiction. It has reclaimed the surname Drummond from "Diff'rent Strokes," at least for me.
Yasmine Alfouzan
Oct 16, 2014 Yasmine Alfouzan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with psychotic families, and enjoy dark humor
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
I might be biased because this book carries elements I'm a huge fan of: dysfunctional weird families, dark comedy, and thought-provoking introspections. Having the characters (even the minor ones) be intriguing and well-written is a plus. This is one of the few books out there that would translate SO WELL being made into a film. I would be excited to see it.

I mean, what a ride. The story escalates in a fantastical manner, with crazy character development and it's funny how unexpectedly events e
Mar 10, 2016 Ann rated it really liked it
What a hoot! I'm so happy to have enjoyed this book after hating Worst. Person. Ever. Coupland's books are touch and go with me; some I liked a lot, others made me cringe.

The Drummond family in this novel are well worth reading about -- perhaps not psychotic, but high on the scale of dysfunction. Perhaps it is this quality that makes them so entertaining.

Janet and Ted have long been separated and moved on with their lives -- Ted in a more traditional way (trophy wife); Janet with a burning desi
The title is the basic thesis; it's expanded to suggest that one only notices this about one's own family; everybody else's family seems sane and normal.


See the complete review here:
Katy Noyes
Aug 06, 2015 Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing
Absolute zany mayhem! I wondered to start with if it was for me... then revelation after revelation. Jaw drop after jaw drop. Crazy family member after... you get the idea.

I thought MY family was nuts. They just don't measure up to the Drummonds. While their daughter Sarah (a thalidomide baby) prepares for her first space mission, her family all gather in Florida, ostensibly to watch her take-off, but other plots take them in strange and hilarious new directions.

To reveal much about the plot wo
Jan 22, 2014 Melanie rated it it was amazing
I bought this one a couple of years ago. And it got lost in the flow of my book buying addiction. I wish I had read it sooner! It was so funny and entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud in public places, and people staring. (Excuse me lady, would you rather see me cry, or just angrily stare at people like you do?)

The Drummond are one crazy and very colorful family. There's Janet, mother of Wade, Sarah, the only one who seemed to lead a successful and normal life, and Bryan. Janet and Ted
Nov 09, 2010 Brian rated it really liked it
when i start reading a book i dont like, or finish one for that matter, i generally turn to a douglas coupland novel to remind me why i like reading so much. and this one did not disappoint.

his novels, the more i read, become more formulaic, which could be a huge turnoff becasue it is like reading the same novel over and over again with just different character names. but the thing is, i absolutely love his formula. it is there, it exists, but it is so off-the-wall unpredictable that i am amazed
Apr 27, 2008 Sandy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a psychotic family, anyone with a sense of humour
Recommended to Sandy by: The Shrub.
This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger after I wrote an entry in my blog about my absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable family, and a situation that involved moving my dead uncles body and hiding weed. Seriously. (Before your mind get's too twisted, he did die of natural causes.)

This was recommended a few years ago, and sadly I only recently picked up this book. Having now read it, I can clearly see why he recommended it in response to what I had written - the incident in question
Feb 16, 2008 Chloe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Tom Robbins, Augustin Burroughs, Chuck Palahniuk, or Christopher Moore
Rich in oddball characters and a lot of heart, All Families Are Psychotic is a cracked-out look at the state of the American Family as viewed through the lens of the Drummond family who are gathering together in Florida to watch family hero Sarah blast into space (note: Sarah is a thalidomide baby).

To give you a glimpse of the dysfunctional heights this family aspires to, son Wade slept with his stepmom Nickie who was then shot by his father Ted striking his mother, Janet. Now Janet and Wade ha
Karen Germain
Mar 24, 2009 Karen Germain rated it did not like it
This book was dreadful. I really liked "Microserfs" and was excited about reading another Douglas Coupland novel. The plot is so outlandish, that it is difficult to become emersed in the story. It was almost like the book was weird for the sake of being weird.

I also could not get a clear mental picture of any of the characters. They seemed to contradict themselves and their reactions to their environment and each other. I didn't feel that they were fully developed.

One bit that irked me, was the
Natalia Pì
May 04, 2015 Natalia Pì rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us_canada
Nice book with a great title, my second Douglas Coupland.
I appreciate Coupland's ability to portray the lives of these middle-aged or older mums, and how they must feel after their children are gone and grown up, how their lives and their perspective change, how difficult it must be to adjust, especially for a generation of women who were taught to put family before all else. He does this with great sensitivity. It's thought provoking, and it might make you want to call your own mother to tell h
Jan 02, 2015 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
A comedic caper that zips through misery after misery at a mile-a-minute and crashes into chunks of truth at every corner. I was tempted to take a star away on account of the characters being a bit too simplified and amplified for my taste (or credulity), but the story itself is ludicrous on purpose and I had a good time, so why punish anyone? The family's inner monologues and observations aren't the deepest musings ever put to paper, but every time I found the over-the-top action getting to be ...more
Cody Woodman
Nov 22, 2013 Cody Woodman rated it liked it
The thing I love most about Douglas Coupland is his ability to turn a situation that should be completely tragic and upsetting and turn it in to something light hearted in funny. It is an amazing ability to see the bright side of depressing situations. I really enjoyed this book. It was a fairly quick read, but a lot of fun.

Douglas Coupland is my favorite author by far. I haven't read all of his works yet, but he hasn't let me down yet. This book was no exception.

If you feel that your family is
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Douglas Coupland is Canadian, born on a Canadian Air Force base near Baden-Baden, Germany, on December 30, 1961. In 1965 his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to live and work. Coupland has studied art and design in Vancouver, Canada, Milan, Italy and Sapporo, Japan. His first novel, Generation X, was published in March of 1991. Since then he has published nine novels and sever ...more
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“All families are psychotic. Everybody has basically the same family - it's just reconfigured slightly different from one to the next.” 130 likes
“...blame is just a lazy person's way of making sense of chaos. ” 101 likes
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