Audiobook Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner, read by Ari Graynor and Beth Malone

Mrs. Everything
by
Jennifer Weiner

Read by Ari Graynor and Beth Malone

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Mrs. Everything, Weiner’s 2019 decades-spanning family drama about two sisters who grow up in Detroit during the 1950s. I’d read All Fall Down and remembered it as a semi-light read that covered serious issues. In that sense, the two books are similar, but at 480 pages (and close to 17 hours of listening), Mrs. Everything covers a lot more ground.

Jo and Bethie Kaufman are young girls when their parents move them from a racially-diverse apartment in Detroit to a mostly Jewish, and safer residential neighborhood just outside the city. Early on, their stay-at-home mother tells them that “birds of a feather must flock together,” based on her own painful childhood experiences as the daughter of immigrant parents. When their father dies, Jo, Bethie and their mother must learn to fend for themselves.

Jo is tall, strong and athletic, the classic tomboy, and Bethie is rounder, pretty and loves everything girly. Both girls struggle to find their own way and face many obstacles. Jo knows she’s different. She only likes girls, but must decide between what was then an unacceptable lifestyle or the conventional route of marriage and children. Bethie, a promising singer and stage performer, learns early that being pretty can attract the wrong kind of attention and enters a ten-year-long period of self-destruction.

Mrs. Everything is historical in that in addition to cultural, political, and social references, it covers major national and political events, wars, civil rights protests and women’s rights movements. To add color to her story, Weiner also includes trends, fashions, music, popular foods, descriptions of homes and interior décor. Present-day problems focus on women’s struggles in the modern world and highlight the Me Too movement.

I don’t like criticizing a book that supports worthy issues, but Mrs. Everything is an exhausting read in that it covers every single bad thing that could happen to a family and is a certifiable man-hater book. Most of the men in the story are terrible people, with only two exceptions: the deceased father and Bethie’s husband, a minor character. I found this approach very one-sided and unrealistic. Although I didn’t try to verify every date and fact, other readers have been critical of the author’s inaccurate references to time and place. I will say that I think that the author is very casual with some of her descriptions and plot lines. Maybe that doesn’t matter. I found it a little annoying.

Reviews of Mrs. Everything are mostly positive (It’s a New York Times Best Seller), but I’m not alone in my opinion and best seller doesn’t always mean it’s good. In the end, I’d say that this type of book just isn’t for me. To help you make your own decision, here are three bloggers’ reviews.

Subakka Bookstuff
Read with Aimee
Becky’s Reading Journey

Have you read Mrs. Everything? What did you think? Leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

16 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner, read by Ari Graynor and Beth Malone

  1. Barbara, I read most of the book but probably didn’t finish it for the reasons you cite here. The cover is quite sensational, which probably caught my attention to begin with in addition to the fact it has been on the best-seller list.

    1. Hey Marian – I also like the cover, very striking. That’s interesting that you put the book down before finishing. I don’t like not liking a book, but in the end this book/genre just wasn’t for me. Thanks for the visit!

  2. Agreed, bestsellers aren’t necessarily good, they’re just popular. I remember 50 Shades of Grey. Absolutely awful; so poorly written and a complete waste of time. I couldn’t get past the first third. It was only popular because of the sexual references.

    1. Hi Lynette – I never read those, but they were so popular and hence best sellers. I think Mrs. Everything is a best seller because Weiner is writing about issues people care about. It’s a weird feeling to care about the issues, but not like the story. Thank you for the visit. Happy Saturday!

  3. Hi, Barb – Thank you for another honest and balanced review. I love that you cited other reviews of this book to provide different perspectives.
    I like that this book is set in Detroit in the 50’s+. I grew up just across the border (Windsor) shortly after that time. I’ve just finished reading two fairly exhausting WWII books for bookclub so my next couple of books will be much lighter reads. Thanks for the heads-up on this. Very good to know.

    1. Hi Donna – thank you for reading and commenting. It was interesting reading a book set in Detroit as I’d never been there. I appreciate your remarks. I hope you find a nice light book to read – which WWII books did you read? I love that time period!

    1. Hi Jennifer. I learned later that the author’s mother came out in her fifties so this book in some ways is about that. I do like some best sellers – I think the hype sometimes spoils it for me. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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