Reviews for Mrs. Everything

by Jennifer Weiner

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Jo and Bethie Kaufman are as different as sisters can be. Jo is an athletic tomboy who can never be quite good enough for her mother. Bethie is adorable and perfect. As the story progresses from their childhood in a Detroit neighborhood in the 1950s to wild college days in the '60s, their roles reverse and evolve into something more complicated. Heartbroken Jo marries a likable enough man because she can't imagine a happy future with a woman. Bethie deals with trauma via drugs and grift until she lands at a commune in Georgia. In chronicling seven decades of the Jewish sisters' lives, Weiner (Who Do You Love, 2015) asks big questions about how society treats women in this slyly funny, absolutely engrossing novel that is simultaneously epic and intimate. Jo and Bethie's relationship eschews cliché in favor of the more mundane and more powerful reality that closeness ebbs and flows, and sometimes each sister is on her own to figure it out. Mrs. Everything will find equally eager readers in the beach bag and the book club.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: It's been a while since Weiner explored the complicated terrain of sisterhood, and readers will flock to this ambitious, nearly flawless novel.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2019 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Bestseller Weiner brilliantly crafts this heartwrenching multigenerational tale of love, loss, and family, which is partly inspired by Little Women. As sisters Jo and Bethie Kaufman move into a new home in Detroit in 1951, they are excited by all of the possibilities it offers-then their beloved father dies. Bethie, the "perfect" child, is repeatedly molested by her father's younger brother, which drives her into an eating disorder and later into drug use. Jo, a daddy's girl who epically clashes with her mother, realizes early on that she prefers to date women, but after her girlfriend marries a man, Jo likewise finds a husband and bears three daughters. Eventually, both sisters follow their hearts, even when it's tremendously difficult. Weiner's talent for characterization, tight pacing, and detail will thrill her fans and easily draw new ones into her orbit. Her expert handling of difficult subjects-abortion, rape, and racism among them-will force readers to examine their own beliefs and consider unexpected nuances. Weiner tugs every heartstring with this vivid tale. Agent: Joanna Pulcini, Joanna Pulcini Literary. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A sprawling story about two sisters growing up, apart, and back together.Jo and Bethie Kaufman may be sisters, but they don't have much else in common. As young girls in the 1950s, Jo is a tomboy who's uninterested in clothes while Bethie is the "pretty one" who loves to dress up. When their father dies unexpectedly, the Kaufman daughters and their mother, Sarah, suddenly have to learn how to take care of themselves at a time when women have few options. Jo, who realizes early on that she's attracted to girls, knows that it will be difficult for her to ever truly be herself in a world that doesn't understand her. Meanwhile, Bethie struggles with her appearance, using food to handle her difficult emotions. The names Jo and Beth aren't all that Weiner (Hungry Heart, 2016, etc.) borrows from Little Women; she also uses a similar episodic structure to showcase important moments of the sisters' lives as she follows them from girlhood to old age. They experience the civil rights movement, protests, sexual assault, drugs, sex, and marriage, all while dealing with their own personal demons. Although men are present in both women's lives, female relationships take center stage. Jo and Bethie are defined not by their relationships with husbands or boyfriends, but by their complex and challenging relationships with their mother, daughters, friends, lovers, and, ultimately, each other. Weiner resists giving either sister an easy, tidy ending; their sorrows are the kind that many women, especially those of their generation, have had to face. The story ends as Hillary Clinton runs for president, a poignant reminder of both the strides women have made since the 1950s and the barriers that still hold them back.An ambitious look at how women's roles have changedand stayed the sameover the last 70 years. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The latest novel by New York Times best-selling Weiner (Good in Bed) follows Jo and Bethie Kaufman, Jewish sisters growing up in Detroit during the civil rights era. Jo is lean, sporty, and a constant source of worry for her traditionalist mother, whereas Bethie is beautiful and the near-perfect daughter. After the untimely death of their father, the girls enter adolescence and begin grappling with their identities, sexuality, and strict societal expectations. Jo seeks solace in her best friend and eventual same-sex lover, while Bethie starts down a destructive path, aided by a sexually abusive uncle. College brings experimentation with drugs, sex, and the fight for equality. The sisters continually come together and then break apart as they navigate life's vagaries for 60 years, all while searching for peace within themselves. VERDICT Not as strong as some of Weiner's previous works, this title struggles with continuity through its expansive time line. Readers may have trouble keeping up with the gaps. Nonetheless, it's a fascinating read that emphasizes the moments that define who you are. [See Prepub Alert, 12/17/18.]-Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.