This is the story of two sisters, Bethie and Jo, going from the 1950s all the way to our year of 2022. It shows how they come to find themselves and grow as people in the everchanging society around them and what it means to a be a woman of the modern age.
Character work in its finest form, Bethie was the most relatable character for me, but I liked her less and less as the novel progressed. Jo, on the other hand, her story was like nothing that I had ever read before. Bethie had the ‘flower child’ story we see a lot of when the twentieth century is portrayed in literature, whereas Jo was something different. Jo was a struggling housewife, living the perfect American dream but not being able to be her true self. The characters were so human, with their flaws, and that was one of the main factors of this story.
I have never read a historical fiction book, other than ones in the Tudor era, that follows the whole life of its protagonist, not until now. As the characters change, the reader sees how the world changes around them and it was just perfect for slice of life from the 1950s to the modern day in 2022.
The writing is why this is not receiving a five-star review. Do not get me wrong, there were beautiful paragraphs that I wanted to annotate. (I will on reread.) However, it was lengthy and longwinded. Some of the formatting was awkward. The passage of time was hard to tell as chapters went on. This could have been edited better, but as it is, this a book that would make for a good audiobook experience.
The plot is where, ‘Mrs. Everything’ flies. There are so many ideas brought forth by Weiner. Ones including family, race, and religion. My favorite was the themes of feminism throughout the novel. That a woman does not have to fit into one mold and how the idea of feminism is different for each woman, rather it be a housewife in a northeastern suburb or a drifter in Santa Fe, but that in the end each woman is wanting the same thing, wanting to live their life how they see fit. There are also interesting discussions of how mental and physical health intersect one another. The main theme is the life of women, and how it has its bumps and is never perfect, mistakes are made and sometimes learned from. In the end the life is lived with all its highs and lows and makes for a beautiful story.
4.5 out of 5 stars.