Reviews of Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Mrs. Everything

by Jennifer Weiner

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner X
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2019, 480 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2020, 480 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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?

1950
Jo

The four Kaufmans stood at the curb in front of the new house on Alhambra Street, as if they were afraid to set foot on the lawn, even though Jo knew they could. The lawn belonged to them now, along with the house, with its red bricks and the white aluminum awning. Every part of it, the front door and the steps, the mailbox at the curb, the cherry tree in the backyard and the maple tree by the driveway, the carport and the basement and the attic you could reach by a flight of stairs that you pulled down from the ceiling, all of it belonged to the Kaufmans. They were moving out of the bad part of Detroit, which Jo's parents said was crowded and unhealthy, full of bad germs and diseases and filling up with people who weren't like them; they were moving up in the world, to this new neighborhood, to a house that would be all their own.

"Oh, Ken," said Jo's mother, as she squeezed his arm with her gloved hand. Her mother's name was Sarah, and she was just over five feet tall, with ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Jo and Bethie are very different people. But in what ways do you find them similar? Do their similarities outweigh their differences? How do their similarities cause problems in their relationship?
  2. Forgiveness, of others and of the characters' own selves, is an important theme in the novel. Discuss how the characters work through their conflicts and how they do or do not resolve the issues.
  3. Compare and contrast how Jo and Bethie are influenced by their mother. Is there a defining element of their relationship with their mother? How does it weave its way into the sisters' lives?
  4. Mrs. Everything spans half of the twentieth century and the early part of the twenty-first. What period details make you feel immersed in each decade? Were ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Book groups: gather those vintage gelatin dessert recipes and hunker down for astonishing discussions. This novel holds power to crack through decades of silence, family secrets, and hidden aspects of self...continued

Full Review (727 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Karen Lewis).

Media Reviews

New York Times
I am a student of Jennifer Weiner's novels. I've read them all, and Mrs. Everything is my favorite, hands down…Weiner has always been a gifted novelist and a powerful essayist. In Mrs. Everything, she brings the best of both worlds to the page, holding up the prism of choice and letting the light shine through from every angle. If you're lucky enough to read it on the beach, try to do so elbow to elbow with your mom. If you have time for only one book this summer, pick this one.

Shelf Awareness
Jennifer Weiner has created a novel for the ages in Mrs. Everything, which is as impressive as it is ambitious... a skillfully rendered and emotionally rich family saga... an unapologetic feminist novel, fully fleshing out the pernicious effects of patriarchy... Weiner shows that big, expansive social novels are not only still possible in our fragmented society but perhaps necessary. Mrs. Everything is a great American novel, full of heart and hope.

Booklist (starred review)
Readers will flock to this ambitious, nearly flawless novel.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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.

Kirkus Reviews
An ambitious look at how women's roles have changed - and stayed the same - over the last 70 years.

Author Blurb Jill Grunenwald, author of Running with a Police Escort
Mrs. Everything is like Beaches but with mothers and daughters and sisters. I may never recover.

Reader Reviews

JHSiess

A sweeping exploration of womanhood in America
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 ...   Read More
Betty Taylor

Realistic Family Saga
Jennifer Weiner is known for her stories of sibling relationships. With her newest book MRS. EVERYTHING she brings us siblings Jo and Bethie Kaufman. However, where this book differs from all her others is the time span of the story. She gives us ...   Read More
diane a friedman

soap opera in book form
Too much repetition; from Jo and the Bethie comments with description not that different. Everything does happen to these girls so much so that when Jo's daughter is missing, I thought she had committed suicide, the only tragedy not written in this ...   Read More
Peg Meents

Leave it in the bargain bin!
Such misleading summaries, cover sheet information. This lesbian love story drips with stupidity as two self-centered Jewish girls indulge in sex, drugs, racial issues, abortion etc. Author interjects political crap also. Should make a tv mini-series...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Time-Saving Appliances

fridge Jennifer Weiner's novel Mrs. Everything confronts the notion that a woman can do and be everything to everyone. From the 1950s through the early 2000s, women in America became liberated from many household chores due to time-saving inventions. Refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry appliances, even automatic coffee makers, all helped lighten the load of housework.

The invention of the electric refrigerator-freezer revolutionized lives, and the entire food industry. Designers tinkered with various technologies as early as the 1700s, but a self-contained household fridge wasn't manufactured until the early 1900s when companies such as Kelvinator, Electrolux, and Frigidaire patented and developed them. By the 1940s, most families in America ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Jennifer Weiner

If you liked Mrs. Everything, try these:

  • A Woman of Intelligence jacket

    A Woman of Intelligence

    by Karin Tanabe

    Published 2022

    About this book

    More by this author

    From "a master of historical fiction" (NPR), Karin Tanabe's A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating tale of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman's journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of the FBI.

  • The Vanishing Half jacket

    The Vanishing Half

    by Brit Bennett

    Published 2022

    About this book

    More by this author

    From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...
  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.