My 5-starred books:
Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner (released 2019 & favorite read)
Because You’re Mine, by Rea Frey (released 2019)
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides (released 2019)
The Girls in the Garden, by Lisa Jewell
Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and her story—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.
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.
This tale for the outcasts—the Jews, the “Negros”, the interracial couples, the homosexual couples and, yes, women—gives a real sense of life in the 60s and throughout the 80s with the protests, the raising of awareness of differences and injustices, the rigid roles that women were expected to conform to, and the evolving world toward the end of the 2010s. Great characters, carefully drawn and breathing their struggles across the pages, round out this well-written story filled with historical and cultural references, and the best “trip” description, ever—if that doesn’t convey “kids, don’t do drugs!” I don’t know what will! and if the book doesn’t open any eyes on women’s condition, I don’t know what will, either.