Title: Mrs. Everything
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Page Count: 481
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
Named a Best Book of Summer by Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, PopSugar, HelloGiggles, 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?
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner is a historical women’s fiction novel that takes place over more than half of a century. After a brief glimpse in a more current time of 2015 the book then takes readers back to the 1950s to begin following the lives of two sisters, Jo and Bethie Kaufman, by changing the point of view between them with each chapter.
Jo and Bethie’s story begins in 1951 in Detroit as their family of four are moving into a better neighborhood and you immediately see just how different the two girls are. Jo is the older of the sisters and somewhat of the wild, more outspoken of the two while Bethie then was the opposite.
As we watch the girls grow they encounter many obstacles along the way. Many of these issues are exactly what you’d expect of the era in which things are happening. Things were very different for women back then and as the years pass you see many of the events that shaped the world during that time not only for women but everyone. As the years pass what happens to the girls shapes each of their lives and where their paths take them.
I didn’t want to be too specific with the events that take place in this book but I would warn some content may be a little too much for everyone so take caution. Learning just how far the author planned to take two different characters lives I was a bit skeptical it could be done with enough depth through the years to truly know them and I’m happy to say I shouldn’t have been concerned. Jennifer Weiner did such a wonderful job not only going deep into the characters but surprisingly enough keeping the setting/timeline feeling authentic along the way. Definitely a book I’d recommend picking up and giving a try.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, 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