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Mrs. Everything

Mrs. Everything

by Jennifer Weiner


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Mrs. Everything 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
AnitaG 3 months ago
Books with long sweeping timelines can always pull me in. The length alone tells me I’m going to get to really know these characters, not just a small snippet of their lives. Jennifer Weiner tells the story of Jo and Bethie, young girls when we meet them in the 1950’s, and how two sisters raised in the same Jewish home, in a nice Jewish suburb of Detroit can be very different. Bethie is the younger of the sisters, and she is everything her mother could wish for, pretty, talented, obedient. Jo is challenging, questioning, and her own person. Her mother struggles understanding her, and her father is the one who comes in to smooth things over, to take her away from that pain. Jo knows she is different, Jo knows that she is what her own mother calls “unnatural”, Jo likes girls. Being gay in the 50’s, 60’s and on wasn’t easy. Jo battles this desire most of her life. Weiner lets history take Jo and Bethie along for the ride in a turbulent 60’s and 70’s, Coming of age in a time of political and social turmoil, the choices each of them make is paramount to where they end up later in life. The book follows along as the sisters leave college, take other paths and age. Nothing is lost on the fact that it ends taking note of the 2016 election and the beginning of the #metoo movement, pivotal times for women’s rights. Just as sisters do in real life, they are best friends and worst enemies, they are brutally honest and hurt each other, yet they are also there to save one another. I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this book. The characters are the same age as my own sisters, two very different women just as Weiner’s sisters are. I thought of them so much while I read this. I also thought of my daughter, a gay woman who has been able to be herself, out and honest since her teen years. I know how lucky she is but also how judgmental and ignorant so many people still are of her, and all people or aren’t like them. Reading Mrs. Everything is an emotional journey, one of wanting to reach out and comfort the characters, wanting to slap others who didn’t step in to help, and also cheering Jo and Bethie on. I have read most of Jennifer Weiner’s books and I believe this to be her best work yet. She has created a story that will grab you, turning pages, longing to know more, invested in the characters and crying when the last page is read. Thank you again to Net Galley and Atria books for an early copy, and thank you always to Jennifer Weiner for sharing your words. Here is a link to an article Jennifer Weiner wrote for the NY Times about writing this book for her mother.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Too much going on to care about one person. Kinda like other people have said. All of the social issues in one book.
Piney10 3 months ago
3.25. I read a lot of reviews that raved about this book. I found this book very shallow, simplistic, and hard to connect with. A lot of nostalgia for the 50s, 60s, 70s, etc. but that was the high point. The plot of the novel was well intentioned and if it had more depth and reality to it, it might have made it more likeable for me.
paulalala09 3 months ago
Mrs. Everything creates a fantastic story built around the tumultuous ‘60s and continuing up to the present. If you lived through those years, the story rings so true to the time and to the struggles of women in a time when changes were erupting daily. If you did not live it, Mrs. Everything is such a great tribute to that time and will transport you to a day of constraint vs. freedom for women. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Noire 3 months ago
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner is a woman’s fiction story of two sisters Jo and Bethie Kaufman that follows the arc of their lives from the 1950’s to the present. The sisters would be about 10 years older than I am so much of what they experience over the course of the story is familiar to me. I had high expectations for this book as I enjoy Jennifer Weiner’s books enough that I have re-read several of them however I could not connect with any of the characters and while I found Jo to be the most sympathetic, I found her later passiveness to be disconcerting, that her strong and bright character up until she graduated from college became a shadow of her former self for much of the book was a disappointment. The main emotion that I took away from the book was guilt felt by the various characters, guilt about not being the daughter her mother wanted, guilt about her sexuality, guilt about not looking after her sister, guilt about not loving her husband, guilt about not being a good mother, guilt about believing she ruined her sisters life, guilt about not believing her sister when she asked for help, it carries on through the generations of women in the book creating a pall over the story and while I have felt many of the same feelings I found reading about them in characters I couldn’t relate to be more annoying than anything else. Publishing Date June 11, 2019 #NetGalley #SimonandSchusterCanada #AtriaBooks
Anonymous 1 days ago
This beautiful book by Jennifer Weiner will be published on June 11! Thank you so much to @netgalley and @atriabooks for the ARC.⁣ ⁣ This story follows the lives of sisters Bethie and Jo through childhood in the 1950s through late adulthood, allowing the reader a unique lens through which to understand development and cultural shifts. The women grapple with racism, sexuality, and male power, and exhibit wonderfully the lifelong pursuit of balancing education, self-care, socialization, and raising a family. ⁣ ⁣ I adored this method of story-telling because I felt like I was intimately close with the sisters. Their extended family represented a typical American family - some pursuing money, some pursuing passions, some with nefarious motives but are respected because they’re family, some struggling throughout life to identify their path. The imperfections of these characters is what made the story real and raw. ⁣ ⁣
Anonymous 5 days ago
I returned book as I don’t want to spend money or time reading about a gay person. I am disappointed in Barnes and Noble that this is the book they chose for the book of the month. I will research the next book if I ever decide to participate in their club. I don’t need to be called anything or nasty comments . It is my belief which I’m entitled to and don’t care about the people who disagree with my thoughts-just trying to give others a heads up. Save your money!
Anonymous 5 days ago
Enjoyed this book very much.
Aqswr 8 days ago
Author Jennifer Weiner has written a book about women in the 20th Century with all of their struggles and successes, on political, personal and social levels. Mostly, this is a tale of Baby Boom girls/women and their lives. It is a huge canvas for a writer best known for her skill at finding the intimate details in any setting that almost any reader can immediately identify with and share. She doesn’t always succeed in creating a viable story around both of the sisters serving as protagonists in MRS. EVERYTHING but she does very well with one of them, the eldest, Jo. The younger sister, Bethie, is too often an afterthought and used as a filler for all of the Baby Boom activities that Jo has not experienced. I’m a big fan of the author but this book wasn’t my favorite, although I struggle to identify why. There are many unlikable characters that don’t grow better over time. Changes that do occur over time seem useful for the plot but unlikely. I kept reading the book hoping I would like it more because it seemed so perfect for me. I keep thinking my age and having experienced some part of the Baby Boom years is causing me to struggle with this book. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Dianne57 9 days ago
I have to say what a downer this book was. If there was a situation filled with angst, it was in this book. Considering that this book spanned seven decades and some of them the most tumultuous in history, it is no wonder that I found myself deeply depressed while reading it! However, because I lived through a lot of these historical events, I found myself unable to put this book down. This book, in my opinion, will be perfect for book clubs filled with people of a certain age, younger people who like to learn about modern history from the perspective of the generation who lived it, women (since this book was filled with women's issues) and the Lesbian community. This book dealt with issues such as -bigotry, racial matters, political unrest, Lesbian issues, rape, drug addiction, cancer, early death, teenage angst, and so much more. There was very little to make you smile in this book, but a lot that will make you think and remember what life was like back then and really, still is.
JHSEsq 9 days ago
Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner says she has been thinking about the story of Mrs. Everything "for a really long time." She always knew that she wanted to pen a historical novel with "a lot of sweep and a lot of heft that would cover not just women in the present, but would cover generations. That started to feel a lot more urgent after the 2016 election and rise of the MeToo movement." Her goal was to explore "the story of women in America -- where we've been, where we've gotten and, as the mother of daughters, where we still need to go." With Mrs. Everything, Weiner has achieved her goal in entertaining and absorbing fashion. Mrs. Everything is a saga that plays out across more than six decades and examines the journeys of two sisters who are, of course, total opposites. Bethie is pretty, feminine, and loves to be in the spotlight. She learns at an early age how to get what she wants from boys using her female charms. In contrast, Jo is athletic, political, and although she, like Bethie, has boyfriends, they don't interest her much. At an early age she discovers why, painfully aware that she will always have to keep her desires secret, hidden away from a society that won't accept her as she is. Jo is a constant source of exasperation to their long-suffering Jewish mother, Sarah. When their father dies suddenly, Sarah is forced to take a job in the local department store to support the family. Jo feels their father's absence acutely and it strains her relationship with Sarah further since he ran interference between the two of them. But both girls step up to assist with Jo taking a job as a camp counselor while Bethie signs on to perform household tasks in their uncle's home after school. A horrific event forever alters the course of both of their lives. Jo comes to Bethie's aid, scuttling her plan to travel abroad with her girlfriend when she uses the money she had saved to help Bethie. Shattered, and so unsure of who she has become or what the future holds for her, Bethie wanders the country and eventually ends up living on a commune, while Jo decides that convention is the safest route. Through the years, the girls' lives are beset by molestation by a relative, gang rape, abortion, an eating disorder, drug use, sexual harassment in the workplace, a shocking betrayal by a friend and spouse, and cancer, all against the backdrop of sociological changes. including the sexual revolution, women's liberation, and the fight for reproductive and civil rights. Weiner's portrayal of the sibling relationship is believable. Typical of sisters, they go through periods when they barely communicate with or see each other, but remain bound together in the mysterious, inexplicable way that only sisters can be. They harbor grudges, resentments, and anger. At one point Bethie exclaims to Jo, "You think that I ruined your life? Well, I think you ruined mine." They confound each other. But they also come together when one needs the other, their loyalty forceful and, ultimately, unbreakable. Both characters are fully drawn and empathetic -- deeply flawed and aggravating, but also endearing. Just like members of one's own family. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, compelling, and unsparing look at sexism, stereotypes, conventional roles, and women's ongoing drive for the freedom to unashamedly be true to their own spirits.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Dreary, preachy, not a good read. Characters are not likable.
Linda Clare 10 days ago
Mrs. Everything was everything I didn't know I was longing for. A great trip to my past, eye-popping revelations about what it means to be straight, gay, Jewish, married, cheated upon, successful, losing everything, and, in the end, loving our families and ourselves as they are. Weiner's books had never really appealed to me until Mrs. Everything. I stand in awe of her skill and mastery of of this odd vocation called novel writing. Humbled as I was, I learned from Ms. Weiner--not just writing craft tips but also how to have a bigger heart. A heart that lives through seventh grade (when we wore our dads' white shirts to school for autographing and a boy drew a circle around my early-developed D-cup and labelled it BIG BOOBS) to the ups and downs of a 60s flower child who has since cut her hair but still longs for peace and love. I loved this story!
Anonymous 11 days ago
enjoyable read. liked all the characters in this and the book was really well written
sweetbabyjane 15 days ago
absolutely loved this book. Jennifer Weiner has done it again and this is her best one yet. Jewish fiction, generational, love, hate, same sex, rivalry, you name it, it's in this book. From the 1950's to 2022 this book went from the hippie days to the Me#2 movement with Beth and Jo being 6 and 8 to being in their 60s at the end of the book. I watched them grow up w/a mother who never loved them to them loving their own families and treating them totally different than the way they were treated. I laughed until I cried and then cried like a baby the end of the book.
SL22268 22 days ago
Loved it! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Jennifer Weiner, again, does not disappoint! This book you can tell, is very near and dear to her. She wrote it with her mother as inspiration. It has a very personal feel to it, and I enjoyed it so much! This story follows sisters Jo and Bethie over a span over 60 years. It is a coming of age story, of them finding themselves, losing themselves, and finding themselves again. They are complete opposites but still figure out a way to have a relationship. Sad, funny, and poignant, this is a lovely story
Anonymous 22 days ago
I found myself caring very little for the characters portrayed in this book. The author stuffed way too many injustices into the story and with such little athenticity, that I actually got bored. Plight of the jews, the blacks, the gays and women...check, it's in there. Sexual abuse, sexual harrassment, adultery, drug addiction...check, it's in there. It's as if the author made a list of all the current headlines and created a story that included them all so she could maximize her readership, not maximize the depth of her characters. Ms. Weiner, next time write a story with a clear focus and emotional draw. This book didn't make me laugh. This book didn't make me cry. This book didn't make me feel anything but bored and frustrated. By the way, I am a jewish woman from the east coast who grew up in the 70's with 3 sisters and I still couldn't relate to anything beyond the first few chapters.
FrancescaFB 23 days ago
Xkoqueen 25 days ago
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. 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. The times, they were a changing…and author Jennifer Weiner takes her readers through the tumultuous changes from the 1950s to the present. Many reviewers are touting this book as an ode to women, and in addition to covering a myriad of women’s issues, it is a detailed work of {recent} historical fiction. Even though I didn’t feel overly connected to any of the characters, I liked them and felt their sacrifices and losses. Much of Jo and Bethie’s lives are constrained by social mores. The lives of the next generation of sisters-- Kim, Melissa and Lila—are defined more by their choices. Each of these sisters lives reflects a different path—having it all, choosing career over family, and wanting only to be a mother. I appreciated the detailed research and Ms. Weiner’s inclusion of so much pop culture—from Prell shampoo to Jane Fonda’s workout videos; however, I felt the author tried too hard to include everything in her latest novel. Granted that period of time was chock full of events and fads, but Bethie and Jo experiencing every possible woman’s issue during the decades covered in this novel was too much for me. If some of it could have happened to friends not just the sisters, it might have been more palatable. Ms. Weiner covers corporal punishment, inappropriate/pedophile advances, closet lesbians, drug use and peddling, rape, rebirthing phenomenon, interracial relationships, equal rights protests, women’s struggle to have it all, abortion, and even #metoo. I’ve probably left some issues out, and all of that is on top of all the iconic pop culture included. Mrs. Everything is a fantastically detailed and well-written book of history and women’s history over several decades, and it is well worth the read for young women. They might appreciate how much has changed and how much they benefit from the women who pushed for those changes. More mature women will appreciate the trip down memory lane, perhaps seeing with fresh eyes all that they and their mothers lived through.
TheModestReader 26 days ago
It took me a while to understand what the connection of the title was to the rest of the book, but once I got it, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Who is Mrs. Everything? Why are women still trying to have it all and do it all to please everyone else? And what are the stakes to be who you truly want to be? I absolutely love that this story starts in the ’50s and make its way to the present day. We not only get a glimpse into these women’s lives, but in some cases, we get their whole story, from childhood to old age… and how much the world changes from decade to decade, even now. These characters are rich, deeply developed women who feel real and relatable. From Jo, who could never quite fit in; her sister Bethie, who wants nothing more than to fit in, to her detriment; their mother, Sarah, who does whatever it takes to survive, while also trying to be the perfect housewife; and every other woman they encounter along the way. Their stories demonstrate the power (and the struggle) of women and how much we endure every day while trying to fit into the standards set upon us by society. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll feel like you’re part of the sisterhood… for better or for worse. 5 STARS
Anonymous 27 days ago
Genre: Literary Fiction/Women’s Fiction Publisher: Atria Book (Simon & Schuster) Pub. Date: June 11, 2019 This multigenerational novel spans the 1940s to the present. The weight of the novel is devoted to how women’s roles in society have changed and yet remained the same over the decades. The author states in her prologue that after the 2016 election she wanted to write about a woman like her mother. A woman, who married, had children, divorced, fell in love with another woman and married her. This reviewer applauds Weiner for her honesty and ambitious effort. The novel takes on many issues: ethnicity, race, bias, class, religion, sexual assault. Most of all, the relationships between mothers, daughters, and sisters—shades of “Little Women.” The reader will go through the civil rights movement to the #MeToo movement. Fittingly, Weiner tries to work everything into “Mrs. Everything,” but the result often feels bloated with detail and explanation. Overkill. The novel is narrated by two sisters, Jo and Bethie. The reader will follow them from their childhoods until they are senior citizens. Jo is a tomboy. She prefers playing sports rather than with dolls. Her choice of clothing is masculine. Bethie is content with being pretty, loving all things girlie, and being her mother’s favorite. The family is Jewish, and the parents’ immigration, due to persecution in Europe, plays a large role in the novel. The religious and cultural parts of their lives did not read like overkill. Weiner manages to ‘show’ their heritage, rather than ‘telling’ it. Meaning it doesn’t feel jammed in. If all 500 pages were written in this manner, the book may have become a classic as well as a (probable) bestseller. Sometimes Weiner seems to struggle with making her characters' arcs believable, or how the story's developments can feel forced, at times, by the author's desire to subvert expectations. (Spoiler: In the early 1970s, Beth will find drugs in college, drops out, and worst of all, for her mother, Beth gets fat.) Since Joe marries and has children she now becomes the apple of her mother’s eye. This is hard to swallow because the mother is cringe-worthy cruel towards Jo as she was growing up. The mom always guessed Jo’s sexuality and couldn’t make peace with it. Oddly, with so much packed into the story, it is still a fast read. The novel is marketed as Literary Fiction/Women’s Fiction. It is really more Women’s Fiction—good women’s fiction, well researched. If you enjoy the genre you may feel this critique is too hard on the author. Indeed, there are parts in this sweeping saga where Weiner nails women’s personal struggles spot on. She especially shines when writing about sexual assault or how hard it can be for females to like their bodies or simply like themselves for who they are. Her book has a very important message. If you can get through the information overload, it is worth the read.
Marlene976 28 days ago
Beyond a doubt one of the best books of 2019. The first sentence in this book story grabs you right away, the character development is superb, the detail in the writing, the imagery is excellent. The plot weaves in and out . and Jo and Bethie's lives move in so many unexpected directions. It was a great journey!
Anonymous 29 days ago
I liked the storyline and the characters. I’m not a fan of this style of over-descriptive writing when it serves no particular purpose. Overall, entertaining, but not a story I will remember for long.
bookluvr35SL 29 days ago
This book is about Jo and Bethie.... two sisters growing up in Detroit in the 50's. The story takes you through both of their lives....through their childhood, college and adulthood. The girls were as different as they possibly could be, with their lives taking two very different (and unexpected) directions. I am a huge fan of this author and this book did not disappoint. It was easy to get lost in the story. This is a great book, and I definitely recommend it.
andi22 30 days ago
Meh. The book was certainly a stroll down memory lane. There were many instances that resonated. From a description of a suitcase "...cardboard and covered in a blue tweedy fabric [with] a stretchy pale-blue satin pocket...stitched inside" to the many growing up 50s and 60s references of things that no longer exist. Who uses the term "dungarees" anymore? The Hollywood diet. And the whole late '60s-'70s scene. Certainly I understood all the references, but I was never engaged. I did enjoy some of the humor--but there was not enough of it. "My problem is that a lot of things taste as good as thin feels." And "Once Shelly had owned a collection of high-heeled shows that would have rivaled any boutique's. Now she had artiritis and flats." Jewish sisters Bethie and Jo from 1951 to 2016. Many changes in their relationship and one another's lives. And their mother. Way too drawn out and dramatic. The book was seriously too long to wait for a payoff that didn't come. I expected much more from the author.