Mrs. Everything

Mrs. Everything

by Jennifer Weiner

Overview: 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?

Faith Bowers (07/06/19): I have always enjoyed Ms Weiner’s novel and have read them all. This time she attempts to write about sisters in the 1960s and their widowed mother of the 50s and forward. These sisters include being gay woman, child abuse, drips of that time and rape. In writing about all these social issues and not actually growing up during the time, the book tries to fit it all in and therefore becomes superficial in the writing of the issues. She crafts her main characters very well as she is good at this. Her attempts in sharing a family in the 1960s and beyond creates a good story, an easy read but I think she could have done better or limited the amount of problems this family has. Ms Weiner has good endings and this one is no different. I read it in 2 days even in 450 pages but that is because I am comfortable with her writing.
Rating: ***

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