All families are Psychotic

I just finished reading Douglas Coupland’s latest entry, All Families Are Psychotic : A Novel.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this book is it’s pacing – there is simply no real slow down for most part (although, somewhat ironically, the ‘climax’ of the book is perhaps the slowest part of it all – the previous hectic energy slows right down to leisurely pace). I cannot say that I liked the book, although I would recommend it if you’re a Coupland fan. But I really haven’t liked too much of his outside of Microserfs and Generation X : Tales for an Accelerated Culture. And City of Glass just seems a poor man’s City of Quartz : Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. But still.

However, a slight rant follows about a particular aspect of this book that really made me angry. It’s a bit of a spoiler, so click more to read it if you like.


So the book is going along, and yeah, the family really is totally fucking whack. I was simply enjoying the family reunion aspect of the tale, when suddenly they’re off on some illegal caper delivering Prince William’s letter to Diana from her grave (‘mummy’) to some Pharmaceutical Billionaire in the Bahamas. Fine. Now, a thing to know is that the characters Wade, Janet (Wade’s Mum), Nicki (Wade’s stepmother), Ted (Wade’s Dad) all are HIV. They all contracted it through Wade, in a bizarre sequence that really is better read than described. However, what really made me mad was that near the end of the book, they are all cured. Yep. There is a cure for AIDS in this book. And it’s an ex-aristocrat,ex-prostitute who’s blood is the miracle cure. One drop of her blood, and bam, you’re cured. Not only that, but this cure spreads just like AIDS – put your open wound to someone else’s, even one drop of blood for just a minute, and you’ve just saved someone else. This really bizarre, infantile sci-fi curing of AIDS really infuriated me. For one, this sci-fi thing was totally at odds with the rest of the book. Two, it seems to make light of this really horrific problem that is coursing through the world. I can’t fully articulate yet how and why exactly this incensed me so, but it did, to the point that I almost wish I hadn’t read the book.