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 Rouse’s family has been especially charitable: His chatty yet loving mother dresses her sonas a Ubangi tribesman, in blackface, for Halloween in the rural Ozarks; his unconventional engineer ofa father buries his children’s Easter eggs; his marvelouslyMartha Stewart–esque partner believes Barbie is his baby; his garage-sale obsessed set of in-laws areconvinced they can earn more than Warren Buffett by selling their broken lamps and Nehru jackets; hismutt Marge speaks her own language; and his oddball collection of relatives includes a tipsy Santa Clauswith an affinity for showing off his jingle balls. In the end, though, the Rouse House gifted Wade with love,laughter, understanding, superb comic timing, and a humbling appreciation for humiliation. Whether Wade dates a mime on his birthday to overcome his phobia of clowns or outruns a chubchasing boss on Secretary’s Day, he captures our holidays with his trademark self-deprecating humor and acerbic wit. He paints a funny, sad, poignant, andoutlandish portrait of an an all-too-typical family that will have you appreciating—or bemoaning—yourown and shrieking in laughter.From the Hardcover edition.