- About the Book
From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes 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. 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?
If you are a woman who has lived through the past 50 years, this book will make you uneasy, even angry. But maybe that's the point.... This isn't my favorite Weiner novel, but perhaps that dissatisfaction is more with the reality of the story she tells.
It is [Weiner's] most ambitious and serious book to date, exchanging the witty tone and one-liners of earlier work for a more earnest approach to social issues.... Though the original four Kaufmans are very strong, believable characters, a few of the characters introduced in the second half of the book are underdeveloped and some of the plot lines a little unconvincing.... Despite these complaints, "Mrs. Everything" is sure to delight Weiner's legions of fans and win new ones. Though this Jo and Beth have much more complicated lives than their namesakes in the March family of "Little Women," "Mrs. Everything" would be perfect for crossover marketing to teenage readers.