Book Review

MRS. EVERYTHING by Jennifer Weiner

Rating: 4 / 5

MRS. EVERYTHING by Jennifer Weiner is a book I read for a buddy read on Instagram and I really didn’t know anything about it before I picked it up. This was also my first novel by Jennifer Weiner. Sometimes it is fun to go into a read somewhat blind and see where the story takes you.

MRS. EVERYTHING follows two sisters, Jo and Bethie who grow up in the 1950s when there weren’t a lot of options for women apart from getting married and having a family. Bethie is her mother’s perfect girly daughter, beautiful and popular. Jo is very different , more comfortable in pants than a dress, enjoying sports and acting the part of the tomboy. Joe doesn’t fit her mother’s mold, instead wanting to change the world.

The book follows these sisters for decades as they grow up and build lives. They suffer tragedies which shape each of them in different ways as they struggle to make their ways in the world as women. (Trigger warnings for eating disorders, violence, abortion, sexual assault and rape.) The chapters alternate between the two sisters’ points of view with distinct jumps forward in time in each section of the book.

Jennifer Weiner has done an amazing job in this book of creating complex women. Each has strengths and weaknesses and as a reader I found myself liking and disliking each character at times as the book progressed. The book presents a large cast of very different, but all strong in their own ways, women throughout different times in America’s history. Relationships are complex and change and shift over time in a very realistic way.

The progression of time was very fun in this novel. The author incorporates pieces of history into the narrative as she goes, from the moon landing to Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency. The novel touches on serious subjects such as homophobia, racism, and women’s liberation and it puts them in context of the time period.

This book was a little slow to engage for me in the beginning, but once I got into the flow it was generally pretty fast moving. Given the time span covered, MRS. EVERYTHING almost has the feel of a family saga, though it only really focuses on a single generation. I am glad that I was prompted to pick up this book and this is definitely a book worthy of being on your TBR!

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