What I’m Reading: Mrs. Everything

Mrs. EverythingFrom the book jacket:

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?

My review:

Okay, while I didn’t LOVE love Mrs. Everything I did really enjoy it and had the hardest time putting it down some nights. It’s more than a book about women’s rights and by the end I found myself tearing up just a little because I found myself relating to it.

I think if I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would precisely be “Relatable.” I don’t believe there was a single women’s issue that was glanced over in this book, and at some point any female (or perhaps even male) reader can stop and think, “Wait, I’ve been there. I can relate.” From the desperate housewife to the liberated feminist, there was a trait you could identify with.

Jennifer Weiner managed to blend all these different issues in a way that wasn’t choppy or unbelievable. You have to remind yourself while reading that the storyline takes place in a time where there was no #LoveIsLove or #MeToo. You weren’t free to love whomever you wanted (male, female, Christian, Jew, African-American, etc.) and unwanted sexual advances were something that were swept under the rug and kept quiet with hush money.

It’s important to remember that even though the main storyline takes place 50-60 year ago, we are still fighting a lot of the same issues. Mrs. Everything is an important read to remind us of that the past isn’t necessary in the past.

My rating: ★★★★/5

Advertisements