Trigger warning: Rape
Wow. So this was good. I think that some parts were a bit too long, but I can't really complain about that when I think that Weiner did such a great job with character development along and weaving all of the plot elements together. Weiner also includes certain pop culture and historical incidents (the Kennedy assassination, student protests, war in Vietnam, the me too movement, and even Hillary Clinton running for President of the United States) that are not front and center to the story, but still intriguing to read about with these characters. I of course ended up liking one character more than the other (can't help it, this is the way it goes with dual POVs) but I still really enjoyed the other character too. I just wanted this story to go on for much longer after I got to the end which is a mark of a great book to me.
In "Mrs. Everything" the book starts off in the 2000s with a woman named Jo getting news and wondering how to break it to her family. From there we jump backwards to Jo as a young girl and wondering why her family moved from where they lived to another neighborhood in Michigan. We quickly find out that Jo tries very hard to be good for her mother, but always seems to get things wrong. She loves her father and with him she feels as if it's okay if she's not the perfect little girl that her mother wants. Weiner then shows us Bethie (younger sister of Jo) who loves her mother and is very much a great helper to her mother and grandmother. She loves all of the things her sister seems to hate. She does love her sister though and especially the stories that she tells her. Weiner juggles both POVs throughout the book and we follow Jo and Bethie from the 1950s to 2022.
I really liked Jo's storyline the best I think. We have a young girl realizing that she's not like other girls and struggling with that. When we have Jo realizing that her not being like others can mean that her family and life will be harder, we get to see her struggle with making choices that I don't know if I could have been able to do. Jo also is noticing the racial issues that are propping up in the country and how it's not fair that girls she plays sports with in high school can't even sit with her at lunch. Jo has a need to do what's right, but we see her start to lose herself again and again after she deals with romantic disappointments.
Bethie had a more uneven story-line to me though it still works in the end. We get to see what incident in her youth ends up shaping her future. And we get to see her initial dreams change from when she was young (she was a great actor and singer) to her her floundering a lot when she's an adult with her chasing the overwhelming need to be safe.
The secondary characters in this book shine too. We have Jo and Bethie's parents, Jo and Bethie's love interests, friends, and family. I don't want to spoil too much here, but I thought it was great to see the two women go from being close, to slightly estranged, and back again. We get to see the ups and downs of their relationship and how much they love each other.
The book takes place in Detroit, Michigan mostly with some of the story moving to New York and Atlanta. The first parts of the story shows both characters dealing with growing up in Detroit and then later on attending the University of Michigan. From there though we have them moving around and landing on the east coast/south. I think a setting of a book is just as important as the characters and thought that Weiner did a great job of setting the mood so to speak with location changes and providing enough details to make you feel as if you are there too.
The ending I thought was very bittersweet. We get to see another family go on and know that through ups and downs they will be there for each other.
I really want to know more about Ruth.
This story is about her and introduces us into her life. It seems a little hectic, her life. She's trying to date, has family drama, and her friends add to the mix too.
I got pulled in, but felt like I needed more at the end.
That's the thing with short stories. They are too short sometimes and don't quite come together. I hate to be left hanging in any way.
Still, I would read the full length book.
I picked Goodnight Nobody for Cozy Mystery square.
An unsolved murder of a woman in suburbia.
I have this for ages in the TBR pile. But this is really not my usual cup of tea and I would leave this on the self for another few years if it is not for this Halloween Bingo.
Now start reading. I hope this wouldn't be a fast read.
This woman Kate character is annoying and stupid. She found a dead body and there is a clue. What she did with the clue? She pocketed it before the police could find it.
Why? Because the clue involved her ex-fd. She is now married with children and when there was a note with her ex-fd no on it, instead of allowing the police to their work, she hide the evidence.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
She told this to her friend Janie. Janie is also a stupid woman who called the murder fabulous because it is a juicy story. What horrible, airheads are these characters?
What's wrong with them?
"As far as my fellow mommies were concerned, saying you were bored was admitting to being about two steps away from drowning your babies in the bathtubs, something so sinful and forbidden you could never 'fess up to it'. But here I was, 'fessing', "I;m bore, and this murder, while horrifying, is also the single most interesting thing that's happened here...".
I hate this book.
What's wrong with this woman?
Why is she so pathetic? She had sex with her husband, and not satisfied. Instead of finding help with the relationship, she kind of get on with it.
This is boring me to tears.
These women are pathetic, annoying, and so full of crap. I hate this book. Katie bumped into Evan, her ex-bf.
Seriously? Even characters in books should have a mind to nurture, and think of something other than how she look and going after handsome men.
These two women are insufferable. The murder investigation progress slowly. Evan finally fond her and want to rekindle their relationship even when he knew she is married.
The best friend Janie get revenge on the ex-bf Evan because he wanted to marry his current gf? Seriously. Selfish, illogical, inconsiderate, reacting without really thinking through on what they were doing.
Horrible book. I don't understand who would like this kind of story when women are stupid bitches, and men are just handsome body with dick.
Bad mother and horrible bitch this Katie character is. She act like she is privileged and demand everyone to accommodate to her needs. She bully her way in the bus and asked men to give her seats for her and her children. I hope there is no such woman in real life or I would have to tell this bitch that it is her own fault that she got pregnant and didn't get an abortion. Having children is her choice and she has to live wit that decision, no one else has to be inconvenienced for her poor life choice. They don't have to give up their seats for this bitch or her young-lings.
She didn't really detect but get wide swing and missed, while getting herself and her friend in danger.
The ending is a bit fast and no clue would bring you to that conclusion. It is a mess and only the 3rd chapter is readable as it contain less stupid bitch stuff.
I really don't get why men, Ben the husband, Evan the ex-bf, would want anything to do with such pathetic stupid woman. This is anti-feminist kind of book.
Horrible horrible book. Do not read this book as you it would give you wrong impression of what American women are like in real life.
This book give a disservice to full time mom, working mom, and men. The men in this book is nothing more than cardboard character from some boxer ads. Horrible. Lack of imagination and understanding of how the world work.
Shallow. That's the word I would use to describe the world view of this book. Shallow.
So this was a very weird book to read. I liked it, didn't love it, and don't really see myself re-reading this for years to come like I will other memoirs written by Roxanne Gay, Jenny Lawson and Mindy Kaling.
I think for me, this book jumped around way too much to get a good handle on things. Plus, Weiner mixed mediums in here. We get part memoir and then she throws in a short story I think that she wrote about her sister and her when they went to visit their grandmother, then it's part commentary to us the reader, her daughters, and then memoir format again.
The initial part of the book starts off in a linear timeline and then that gets shot all to hell in a bit and jumps back and forth until the very end.
I have been reading Jennifer Weiner's books for a very long time. My first exposure to her was "Good in Bed" and I absolutely loved that. I couldn't really relate to "Little Earthquakes" but still enjoyed that book as well. I even liked her foray into short story horror fiction with stories like "Recalculating" and then a couple of her books didn't gel with me and I just pretty much took her from my auto-buy category to well see if you like the sample category. The last two books I read of hers I have really enjoyed though, so will think about putting her books back in the auto-buy category.
I do think that though parts of this book were painfully honest, I didn't get a very good sense of Weiner's family outside of her sister, mother, and grandmother. Her brothers are ghost-like (referred to but rarely appear). We know that her father left her family and that caused a hole that her mother tried to fill. And due to her father not meeting his obligations, the family sounded like they definitely struggled. And reading between the lines and reading what is actually written it sounds like the man had serious mental health issues. I felt for her while reading anything to deal with that. When a parent is gone you can't fix what happened before. So even when there's a slight feeling of relief, you still feel sorrow over that.
I think that if Weiner had stuck with just her life and how that shaped her to be a writer it would have worked better for me. When she goes off and focuses on other things that I thought were interesting, but ultimately didn't fit the book (a male reviewer bashes her and others online via Twitter and there's a huge fallout with that) is when my interest started to wane. It's not that it means she wasn't making a good point. I just didn't get why it was even included.
Other things at times seem to not really be provided enough development for me to get a sense of things. For example, Weiner is a divorced mother of two girls and in a committed relationship with an old boyfriend. She used parts of her life to write "Who Do You Love". But the man in the book is brought up sparingly in the book, and it just felt like he along with all of the men in her memoir don't feel developed. I know that they are all real people, but I don't get a sense of them at all. And the way we readers are introduced to him was weird too. We read about them together first, then work backwards to she met him again, and then someone justifies ending her marriage. I don't know, the whole thing felt uncomfortable. It reminded me of a time I was at a bar waiting on a friend (reading a book of course!) and some man sat next to me asked me how I was doing, I muttered fine, and then before I know it starts telling me how his wife left him for someone else and he needed a drink.
I tried to exit out of that conversation for 20 freaking minutes. I was giving the bartender for the love of all that is holy glances who purposely stayed the heck away from us. So I just had a sense of this is very weird while reading the book and deciding to back away from even trying to explore what point she was trying to get across there.
The writing was at times I felt open. The flow wasn't that great for reasons I said above.
The ending to her daughters I thought was great, but it didn't end as solidly as I think it could have.