Thank you NetGalley and Atira Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I just finished Mrs. Everything and I’m blown away by the amount of emotion that was packed into this novel about two sisters.
The character driven plot follows two Jewish sisters, Jo and Bethie throughout their lives from the 1950’s to 2022. As the girls grow up, we are right there with them witnessing key moments in their lives and in history. We see Jo and Bethie learn all about themselves, love, life and its hardships as their bond gets better and worse and cycles around again.
It’s also a fascinating look into the role of women throughout history and how that evolves over time. Jo and Bethie each experience prejudices and hardships based on their gender as do the women surrounding them. Things change over time but the pressures don’t necessarily change as much as they might think.
As I said, Jo and Bethie go through some major stuff and a lot of it is really heart breaking, cry yourself to sleep kind stuff. It makes this book feel important and meaningful but I wouldn’t quite call it happy. There are happy moments of course but you’re left with an overwhelming respect for the girls and all the struggles they have overcome, not the warm fuzzies.
I did find it frustrating at times, their actions and what they lead too meaning things we’re often worse for them rather than better. But that is also what gave it it’s “real” quality. They weren’t perfect, they stuffed up. They saved each other at times but they also let each other down. They each were broken and also put back together. They fell out and back together again and they in part negatively affected each other. But they got through it!
I do have to say Jo was my favourite and I empathised with her more. Bethie was so up and down and really struggled to keep it together not really thinking about others where as Jo, whilst also struggling had a bigger sense of responsibility. Maybe as the oldest of four siblings that’s what I identified with more than the flightily younger one.
Glad to have read this one, though going to go back to something lighter next!
Trigger warnings for: death of a loved one, sexual abuse, drug abuse, rape, bullying, homophobia, cheating, racial abuse.