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Mrs. Everything Bets On...

Mrs. Everything

June 2019

It's been four years since Jennifer Weiner has written a novel for adults (she wrote two children's books and a book of essays), and this book is quite a departure for her. MRS. EVERYTHING is a big sweeping novel telling the story of two sisters between the 1950s and the present with an eye on what happened for women socially through these years. Packed into these seven decades are cultural touchstones that will be familiar to readers. Jen wanted to write a big book, and she pulled it off here. There is a huge difference between wanting to do something and executing it! MRS. EVERYTHING is a big story that flows briskly in Jen’s hands.

At the start, we are in Detroit with a typical suburban nuclear family --- two parents and their two daughters, Jo and Bethie. The mom is a stereotypical ’50s housewife, and the dad works earnestly, but not passionately. The sisters are set up so that one is the good girl and one is the rebel. That placid life is upturned quickly with the death of their dad, and from there each of the female characters stretches and moves in different directions --- some of which work for them, others of which do not. At the same time, their relationship with their mother will twist and turn; there is nothing of unconditional love in the mother’s lexicon.

There are cultural touchstones that readers will relate to, all of which are seen through these characters’ lives. While women still are striving for equal footing in the workplace, Jen shows us a very different America --- one where the strides we feel now took shape as baby footprints. Jo and Bethie’s relationship shifts and evolves as the story progresses. There are strains and tensions, and many moments where their relationship could have fractured irrevocably.

I loved the details, and how their lives ebbed and flowed. It was real life, as messy as it is. It makes one think a lot about expectations and reality. Book groups will have a field day with this book. Discussions can go in so many different directions!

Mrs. Everything
by Jennifer Weiner

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501133489
  • ISBN-13: 9781501133480