Publisher: Atria Books
Date of publication: June 11th, 2019
Genre: Women’s Fiction
From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.
Do we change or does the world change us?
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.
Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?
Her cell phone rang as they were on their way out of the movies
I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like Mrs. Everything. I have had bad luck with novels that follow families over the years. I either lose interest halfway through the book or the book goes off the rails. I am happy to say that I did not lose interest in Mrs. Everything. The book also didn’t go off the rails.
The plotlines for Mrs. Everything were terrific. They were well written. I loved that the author chose to have certain events as the background to Jo and Bethie’s lives. That added enough realism to the book.
Out of the two storylines, Jo’s touched me the most. She grew up with a mother who didn’t understand her. Jo was a lesbian who was forced to marry to keep up appearances. She gave up her dreams to help Bethie. But she wasn’t perfect. That is what I liked the most about her character. She wasn’t perfect, and she owned it.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Bethie but I did feel bad for her. What happened to her as a young teenager was awful, and should have never happened. Her rebellion was a direct result of that. I didn’t like her holier than thou attitude when she was visiting Jo. It left a bad taste in my mouth. She did redeem herself in the latter half of the book. She more than redeemed herself in my eyes.
I liked how the author chose to address Jo’s sexuality. Instead of making everything sunshine and unicorns, she decided to portray everything Jo went through realistically. I loved it.
I did not like Lila, but I understood her. She was suffering from her parents’ divorce, moving, and her mother coming out. She acted out. She was unlikable. Again, I loved it.
The end of Mrs. Everything had me in tears. I was a blubbering mess. And the epilogue. Oh, my poor heart. But, I wouldn’t have had the book any other way.
I would give Mrs. Everything an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I an on the fence if I would reread Mrs. Everything I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**