Synopsis from Simon & Schuster:
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?
About: Mrs. Everything is a women’s fiction written by Jennifer Weiner. It will be published on 6/11/2019 by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, paperback, 464 pages. The genres are women’s fiction and contemporary. According to the publisher’s website, “founded in 2002, Atria was from the start intended to be an environment where new ideas could flourish, the best writers of fiction and nonfiction could thrive and connect with an ever-widening readership, and the best practices of traditional publishing could be integrated with cutting-edge developments in the digital world. In short, a place where great books could come to light.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Mrs. Everything on 5/30/2019 and finished it on 6/3/2019. This book is an excellent read! A wholesome story from childhood to adult life, growing up and having children to finally having grandchildren; multi-generational. Bethie’s middle and high school seems so bright with her success in acting and singing, I just couldn’t believe the choices she made starting first year in college. Jo’s high school and college seems tough being different but I’m also really surprised how she ended up being a housewife with children. I do like the unexpected twists and turns of events for Bethie and Jo throughout their life because I couldn’t have guessed it. I like that Bethie reunite with her high school fellow actor later and the unforeseen success that came to her in later years.
This book is told in the third person point of view following Josette (Jo). Jo has a wife and 3 daughters. Jo has been cancer-free for 5 years, but now she’s receiving a call from her doctor about a lump on her other breast. She wants time to fix everything and worry that this cancer thing will prevent her from doing them. This book started out in year 2015 and then divided into different parts starting with part 1 in year 1951, part 2 in year 1962, part 3 in year 1974, part 4 in 1987, part 5 in 1993, part 6 in 2006, and part 7 in 2016. The second view is Elizabeth (Bethie), Jo’s younger sister. Each chapter Jo and Bethie, both are Jews, grow older and experience anything life throw their way: inequalities, biracial marriage, unexpected external forces, unplanned personal decisions, etc. Jo and Bethie were forced to grow up quicker when an unexpected event takes place.
Mrs. Everything is well written and very detailed. At times I find myself getting tired of reading about Jo and Bethie’s lives because of how in-depth it was. Each area of their lives are well carved out and same goes with their kids. In general, that should make this book a good read but I feel it just drags on. Besides that, I love seeing how one decision affects another and how a future could be lost based on an impulse decision. I love that Jo has a family of her own but I also wanted her to have that life that she planned for in college. I like learning where Jo went wrong with her youngest. It’s interesting how Bethie drift around for a decade and still her life doesn’t turn out too bad, though there are sacrifices. This book on family should be read at least once and I highly recommend everyone to read it.
Pro: multi-generational family, growing up, timeline starting 1951, perspectives from a Jewish family
Con: detailed therefore the length of this novel
I rate it 4.5 stars!
About the Author:
Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and her memoir, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com (Photo and info obtained from Simon & Schuster’s website).
More Information about Atria Books
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Atria Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.