Friday, April 24, 2009

Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center (audio)


Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered "where did the perky twenty-something go?" or "whose big butt is that?". Have you wondered when was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your other half, or when you stopped being a woman and started being an automaton that cleans messes and slings hash? As a wife and a mom, this the insanity that I live with. I wouldn't trade it for the world, mind you, but sometimes its nice to know you're among friends that understand.

This is your gift when you read "Everyone is Beautiful". Officially, it is "mommy lit" but that words seems to cheapen the book. It is more of a story about women, about finding yourself, and about the beauty within all of us.

Because of an opportunity for her husband to further his musical education and career, Lanie has just uprooted herself and her three boys under the age of 4 from her home state of Texas to the east coast. They have no money, their apartment is tiny, she hasn't lost the baby weight, the kids are typical out-of-control toddler boys, and she has no friends. When a pert little "khaki mom" at the park asks Lanie when she is due (why in God's name do women DO that?) she decides it is time to take charge of her life. She joins a gym and enrolls in a photography class, and tries to reclaim the woman she used to be. Only she ends up risking her marriage in the process.

There is alot that most women will find in common with Lanie. Now, her situation is a little extreme. I will admit that my kids never pooped on my friend's white furniture, a colleague never planted a big wet one on me in front of my husband, the landlord has never seen me naked, and I've never fallen off a treadmill, but you'll completely understand where she is coming from. I would estimate that 95% of women out there know what it feels like to lose herself in the tidal wave of motherly and wifely responsibilities, and will cheer Lanie on to regain her footing. The best part about this story is the author's voice (heard as Lanie's voice). It is worn out and adrift, but with a sense of humor you've gotta have to survive this period in your life. The author adds in a little humility and a little self-deprecation, which will have you laughing out loud throughout this easy-to-read romp of a book.

17 comments:

Carrie K. said...

This sounds wonderful! I wish our library had it on audio. I'll have to put it on my wish list.

DeSeRt RoSe said...

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Frances said...

I so completely understand this theme. And it must be a treat on audio, hearing it like a friend chronicling her munchkin-challenged life for you. When mine were really little (8 & 11 now), I always felt like I was in survival mode especially when my husband was working full time and in grad school. Eeeek! Might give this a try. Keep thinking I need some audio books for the car for all my lengthy mom errands.

farmlanebooks said...

It sounds like a great escapist read!

It is always nice to hear about other peoples funny problems. I don't know anyone who's kids pooed on a sofa, but I do know one who pooed at the top of a slide, and then had several other children follow down after her - a very big mess!!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Carrie - the audio is wonderful. The narrator has a perfect voice for a harried, stressed out mom that can laugh at herself!

Desert Rose - You are too generous! If it weren't for you, I'd have only a few awards!

Frances - you definitely need this one for your errands. It made mine so much more enjoyable. Most of us have "been there" in one form or another, so this WILL definitely feel like just a normal phone conversation with your friend!

Jackie - OMG. I can just imagine it now. I think most moms have seen poop in just about every place imaginable. For the first few years of my kids, that was what my life revolved around.

katherinecenter said...

Hooray! Thank you so much for this lovely review. I'm so glad to hear that you liked my book! I have a copy of the audiobook myself (and got a lovely note from the actress who read it, saying that, as a mom herself, she really enjoyed reading it)--and it's so fun to listen to the story come to life that way.
Thanks again so much for all your kind words!

Kim said...

I can recall that time in my life so well, almost as if it was yesterday and now my boys are grown and gone. I'm not sure I would be able to read this book just yet, perhaps when I am little further away from my youngest having just left home, I will give it a whirl, as I do remember being often terribly embarrassed and hysterical with laughter, much of the time then. I shall put the book on my "Review in 2010" list! Thank you for reviewing it, Sandy.

Serena said...

Anna really liked this book. It sounds like its some nice light reading.

Beth F said...

Sounds like a fun, light read.

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a good one, Sandy. It's easy to lose ourselves in the everyday stuff--our families and work or what have you--and forget to take care of ourselves.

Iliana said...

This sounds like a riot! I don't have children but as I begin to care more for my aging mom it almost feels like I'm entering parenthood! I will add this one to my radar.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Katherine - thanks so much for taking the time to read my review and respond! You can tell the narrator enjoyed herself on this one, which makes the book even more of a treat. I am looking forward to reading more of your work!

Kim - I don't blame you. I will be an absolute mess when my babies leave me. This one will definitely have you in stitches, and most likely remind you why we wouldn't want to necessarily relive those toddler years!

Serena and Beth - it is a nice break from some of the heavy stuff that we read! It does have some serious moments, but the author still manages not to take herself too seriously!

Wendy - the only way to survive these stages in our lives is to laugh!

Iliana - Hey! You may be onto something! It is very hard when you start taking care of your parents. Again, we must laugh through our frustrations and tears!

Melody said...

Sounds like a great escapism read to me, Sandy! Will have to check it out!

Dar said...

Nice review Sandy. I really enjoyed this book as well. I found a lot of it applies to a woman even without children. I look forward to reading her first novel too.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

Thanks for the great review! I keep hearing great things about this one, but hadn't picked it up as I don't have kids and didn't know how much I could relate, but I think I'm going to give it a try anyways!

Jess said...

This sounds great. Thanks for the wonderful review.

Anna said...

I loved this one! I agree that some of the things that happened to Laine were a bit extreme, but I have stories from my early parenting days that seem that way when I think back on them now. LOL I'm going to add your link to my review. Glad you really enjoyed this one.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric