Putting the “Fun” Back in “Dysfunctional”: The Dysfunctional Family Funbook by Catheryn J. Brockett
Catheryn J. Brockett, as far as I know, is not related to me in any way. We’ve never met, spoken, or exchanged text messages. So how is that she is so intimately familiar with the dynamics of my family when three or more of us are gathered in a room together? Certainly if she had been among us, one of us would have noticed (well, maybe not the drunks or the perpetually out-of-it). Brockett has come up with a “part activity book-part survival kit…to prevent you from hitting the family or the bottle” in The Dysfunctional Family Funbook: Games and Activities to Keep You Sane Your Whole Visit Home.
Sometimes, the best we can do with our family members is laugh at them…behind their backs, of course, and The Dysfunctional Family Funbook helps us do just that. It’s way cheaper than the hours of therapy you need after a family get-together, and will make the time spent with those please-don’t-tell-me-we’re-related creatures so much more bearable—amusing, even. It’s a must-have at Italian weddings and Irish wakes, as well as any event that teams you with people who have similar DNA to yours. Also consider gifting it to a sibling who will then wonder if you’re saying he or she is dysfunctional or confessing that you are.
There are crosswords and Sudoku puzzles, as well as activities you can share with other like-minded victims (um…blood relations). If the nicest thing you can say about your parents is “they tried,” you might enjoy going on a “What Will the Neighbors Think?” adventure. If your family was more concerned with appearances than reality, they’ll really get a kick out of it when you “sit on the curb and talk loudly on your cell phone about ‘what a pain in the ass’ it is that you are pregnant (or got your girlfriend pregnant). Again.” Visiting various neighbors to “mention how bummed out you are that your unemployment ran out. Again,” “ask…if they have any antifungal cream handy,” and “ask…if they know where your parents keep all their important papers” is sure to make uptight elders chuckle with glee.
The Dysfunctional Family Funbook also offers creative projects to keep those hands away from Uncle Elmer’s neck. Design your own door hangers, learn new ways to goof on your sibs, or create paper dolls of mom, dad, and your siblings (go ahead, cut off their heads!). To make your family feel intellectually inferior, there are obscure words and arcane trivia to be dropped in conversations, and if you get bored torturing your family (is that possible?) you can take quizzes, design postcards, and see how many words you can find in “dysfunctional family.”