Rating: 5 / 5
Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything is a beautiful family saga spanning the 1950s through the 2020 that focuses most closely on the lives, struggles, and liberation of sisters Jo and Bethie.
Thank you so much to Atria Books for sending an advanced copy of this book!
Jo and Bethie are polar opposites. Jo, the eldest, is a tomboy, athletic, and passionate about the social issues of her time. Bethie, on the other hand, is tame, pretty, and the apple of her mother’s eye. Even with their differences, they’re close and supportive of one another.
As the sisters graduate from high school and go on to the University of Michigan, they have already lived through a lifetime of pain. Their pain has changed them in unexpected ways, and will continue to as they age and go their separate ways.
Jo and Bethie navigate the changing social landscape of the United States throughout their lives, letting each decade affect them differently. When tragedy strikes – and tragedy strikes often -, they must decide whether to come together as a family or let it rip them apart.
Note: I would love to give you a more detailed summary of this novel, but so much happens that I can dive in without giving anything away. Just trust me on this one!
Please take caution while reading Mrs. Everything if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Sexual assault
- Child abuse / pedophilia / incest
- Eating disorders / body hatred
- Death or dying
- Pregnancy / childbirth / abortion
- Sexism and misogyny
I am utterly blown away by this novel. Beautiful, complicated, so in-depth, and extremely important, Mrs. Everything is one of the best books I’ve ever read. To be fair, I just tell you that I have a specific interest in family sagas, and in terms of historical fiction, I much prefer modern American history. So, I was included to enjoy this book from the beginning. I could not predict just how much it would touch my heart.
This is my first book by Jennifer Weiner, but it will surely not be my last. Her writing is thorough and intriguing and the character development is second to none. I know Jo and Bethie, and their relationship, so deeply and I understand their quirks, interests, and history so clearly thanks to Weiner’s fantastic writing.
You’ll notice that there are several content warnings above. So many traumatic experiences happen in the lives of these sisters, and while it may seem that whatever can go wrong will go wrong, these experiences provide space for Weiner to write such rich and important commentary on the experiences of girls and women. This commentary was true in the ’50s and is still true today, as is essentially the point of the entire novel.
I could talk about Mrs. Everything forever – it is so rich with detail, important messages, heart-pounding moments, and love. I wept, I cringed, I screamed out loud. So few other books have been able to elicit such honest emotion from me, and it was an utterly delightful experience to read this novel. Please read this immediately – you won’t regret it!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on Mrs. Everything. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!