MRS. EVERYTHING by Jennifer Weiner

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From the publisher:

An instant New York Times bestseller 

“A multigenerational narrative that’s nothing short of brilliant.” —People
“Simply unputdownable.” —Good Housekeeping
“The perfect book club pick.” —SheReads

Named a Best Book of Summer by Entertainment WeeklyCosmopolitanWoman’s DayPopSugarHelloGiggles, and Refinery29

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. 

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?

This is unlike any of Weiner’s previous books; it’s more a family saga and a coming of age story for the two main characters, and I loved it. These two women go through everything life throws at them, and how they deal with it, and with each other, is compelling reading. The way they grow and change and everything that happens is a slice of life portrayal through the past fifty years or so. I’m old enough to remember a lot of what was going on at the time and it was not always wonderful.

There are some difficult moments, but they are necessary and worthwhile. This country went through a lot of turmoil in the the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s and Weiner’s characters do as well. She covers a lot of the turmoil, and some of it bleeds through to today. But it’s the characters and how they are brought to life and grow and change that make this book so exceptional. They do not necessarily follow the path most easily taken, and it is that honesty that is so refreshing. This is a truly American story, and definitely women’s fiction with some history and even a touch of romance thrown in. Book groups will find lots to discuss – I found myself talking about it with my daughter, even though she hadn’t (and won’t) read it, but she was very interested in the story and I was happy she was willing to listen. Highly recommended.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MRS. EVERYTHING by Jennifer Weiner. Atria Books (June 11, 2019).  ISBN  978-1501133480. 480p.



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