There's a whole lot going on in this here book, friends. One minute you're in 1974, then it's 1945, and then 1984, or 1857, or 1990, and then 1907… Phew. Certain stories are revisited several times and in several different ways. Then, there are some rather nontraditional narrative elements peppered throughout the story; Zadie Smith includes a sketch here, a family tree there, an imagined sign, etc.
But all of this is what makes White Teeth so great. Yes, it's a little wacky (like your extended family, you know?), but totally worth it. And while we can't really help with your family, we're totally here for you when it comes to White Teeth.