The Big Book of Misunderstanding › Reviews

"Insightfully funny...remarkable detail, richly developed characters and a masterful story."

— KPFK Radio, Los Angeles

"In his bittersweet debut novel, Jim Gladstone depicts the disintegration of a 'freakishly normal' suburban family...his nuanced characters are utterly will remind many readers of their own troubled clans."


"Gladstone's real comedic genius lies in Josh's high school and college recollections and observations, told in brief passages that each pack the punch of some of today's best short stories. (Think David Sedaris.)...Gladstone's sparkling debut book shares rare insights and exhibits a candid and profound (and funny!) understanding of what it means to grow up (or not grow up), at any age."

The Book Reporter

"Gladstone looks at the complexities of family members struggling to accept themselves and one another as individuals. The unhinging of emotions is recognizable, the desire for acceptance familiar...Gladstone tempers tension—which propels the story—with glints of humor and witty observations."

The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A heartwarming tale about people who love each other so much they almost destroy one another...The Big Book of Misunderstanding also explores the role of authorship in understanding and recreating one's past."

The Paris Voice

"A witty dissection and resurrection of an off-kilter, loopy family...Gladstone has crafted a story of supple veracity...he's rendered real life with the evocative power of unbridled creativity. An auspicious literary debut."


"Every young person striving toward adulthood, and every adult trying to shake the shackles of their upbringing, will find a comforting spark of recognition among the trials and misunderstandings of the Royaltons."

The Weekly News (Miami)

"Original, honest, funny and brilliantly written...Gladstone's writing is irresistible. His are sentences you underscore and star in the margins so you can find them again..."

The Letter (Louisville)

"If Jim Gladstone's first book is any indication of the depth of his talent, we may be looking at the most important gay novelist of the post-Stonewall era...a pretty tall prediction, until you've read the first few pages of this poignant novel...a story within a story of a young man reconciling his future with his past...Identity is explored on so many levels...Whether gay or straight, everyone will enjoy this book. Anyone seeking to understand a part of what it is to be a male in the modern world should set aside some time for The Big Book of Misunderstanding."

X Factor (Phoenix)