Ever since realizing – with more than a modicum of embarrassment – that I nearly closed 2008 without reading a single (non-children’s) book, I have made reading a priority again. And I absolutely love the way books can automatically relax me and send me into an alternate universe. Today, I’m sharing a review of Katherine Center’s recently released Everyone Is Beautiful - a “mom lit” novel set in our very own Cambridge, Mass. Read on for my review, as well as to learn how to be one of five winners to receive a copy of Everyone is Beautiful.
It’s basically almost never that I find myself without my laptop, with all of my hard copy work done, and otherwise sequestered for 3.5 hours with a novel. But that’s where I was at while riding the Acela home after my Salma Hayek interview in New York last month, and I was glad to have Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful with me.
This “mom lit” novel traces the story of Lanie – mother of three young boys and wife of a musician – as she and her family relocate from Houston, TX to Cambridge, MA. I’ll admit that in my somewhat fatigued state, the beginning of the book – with its detailed descriptions of the everyday tedium of motherhood – almost lost me. But I later realized that this level of description was necessary to orient readers to the emotional pool Lanie felt stagnated by, and subsequently to set the stage for her transformation. Indeed, I was glad I kept reading through the familiar tales of diapers and mess and awkward playdates because Lanie soon begins searching for a way to snap out of her funk and the story picks up momentum. And she wrestles with the same challenges of every modern mom I know: she identifies ways to make herself a priority, yet struggles with the impact that her choices have on family logistics and personal relationships.
Given the somewhat slow start, this novel didn’t knock me out start to finish in the same way as Center’s Bright Side of Disaster, but as soon as Lanie started building personal relationships and getting her groove on, I was glued to the book (and finished it the following day, actually). Center clearly has a knack for writing novels that one can imagine being played out on screen. In Everyone is Beautiful’s final, pre-epilogue scene – as Lanie tries to make things right with her husband after a major misunderstanding – I could visualize the airport scene playing out and felt palpable tension as I rooted for them to find one another again – both in physical airport space, and emotionally too.
Which leads me to my final point, being that I appreciate how this book speaks to the common occurrence that as parents, it’s tragically easy to become exhausted and forget to nurture the relationship with the very person you found dreamy enough to have children with. This is a theme that no doubt will resonate with moms, and hopefully will underscore the importance of rediscovering one’s partner before it’s too late.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Congrats to winners Veronica, Lauren, Donna, Jean & Keyomi!
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Now, want to be one of five winners to receive a copy of Everyone is Beautiful? Here’s how: