I was absolutely dying to get my hands on an advance copy of this – huge thank you to Atria Books for my ARC! Available to preorder now – out next month.
Mrs Everything by Jennifer Weiner
BUG Rating: 5/5
Overall: I loved this book so much! I can’t even begin to describe how this book made me feel. It will stay with me for a very long time. The story follows two sisters, Jo and Bethie, through their entire life – from growing up in Detroit in the 1950’s through to adulthood, with every moment of tragedy and happiness in between. It’s the first book I’ve read that does this, and it really made me reflect on my own life, and those around me. The important message within Jennifer’s Mrs Everything, for me, is around a woman’s struggle between the pressures of expectations placed on them (be it from their family/friends or society) and self-fulfilment. Life is too short – we must live it. Chase dreams, don’t conform to the ‘norm’ – unless we want to. We can do anything – we are Mrs Everything, she’s everything and every woman.
We lose ourselves, but we find our way back.
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 differently than 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, or 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 is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history – and herstory – as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.
+ Fantastic character development. Jennifer took us on a journey from childhood to ultimately death, and I felt connected with the characters all the way
+ Important message – which still feels just as relative and important as it did back in the 1950’s
+ Writing style – was just beautifully written and easy to read
I received a free advanced copy of this book from Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own.