Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center is a novel I read for a Pump Up Your Book Promotional Tour and it was a delightful book to read. It’s about what happens after you get married and have the 2.1 kids—-are things really happily ever after? Or are there really struggles and fumbles along the way—is anything ever really perfect? Now one would think that this novel is really geared towards the mom and yes, I imagine a mom could really relate to the story in ways I couldn’t being a non-mom (well, mom to a puppy-lol). However, I have to say that I enjoyed the book so much. I laughed and got teary eyed as I travelled along with Lanie on her journey to finding herself amidst the chaos of family life.
The novel starts with Lanie packing up her worldy possessions and leaving behind her parents to move across the country to support her husband Peter and his career ambitions as a musician. Lanie is none too happy about the move either. Now she’ll be on her own with three young boys, no less. Previously she had at least had her mother’s help. So, they make the move and while Peter is getting their lives unpacked into their new apartment, Lanie has taken the boys to the park to keep them out of the way. The catalyst to the whole story happens there in that park-one of the mother’s asks Lanie how far along in her pregnancy is. Yikes! Lanie’s not pregnant.
After three kids in not too many years she’s carrying around more weight than she’s happy with. She doesn’t make the effort to look good anymore-sheesh, who would have the energy after taking care of three young boys. In the midst of this she realizes that her marriage is becoming distant too, the kids consume every minute and past that she’s tired with good reason. All of this leads Lanie to realize she needs to do something and soon. She needs to find herself in all of this. Somehow there has to be a happy medium where she can be happy with who she is and have a fulfilling family life.
Lanie sets out to join a gym. She commits to an hour each evening. All is going well until her husband decides to join the gym also. This is supposed to be something just for her. At the same time her mother sends her a camera. Lanie used to be an artist which she gave up for her family. She joins a photography class and learns she has a real talent. Lanie is starting to find herself again and this is making her happier and therefore making so many other things in her life run more smoothly.
I think all women can relate to this story. We get older, we gain weight, we aren’t as gorgeous as we used to be—we’ve all experienced these feelings whether we’ll admit them or not. I felt that Lanie was such a ‘real’ woman; she had flaws like all of us. Katherine’s writing is wonderful; she draws you into this story, these lives, and so quickly. From the beginning you feel you have a stake in how things will turn out for Lanie and you’re rooting her along in her quest to discover herself again. For me it was an inspiration. Yes, you may lose yourself but with some effort you may be able to find yourself again and reinvent your life. The author also introduced other characters who were just as charming and fit perfectly in the story like Lanie’s new friend Amanda or the ‘mean witch’ Nora who lives in Lanie’s apartment building. She has a real knack for portraying the real emotions and feelings that women have.
I’d like to thank Katherine for a wonderful novel. This is a fun and entertaining read laced with a lot of real life that we can all relate to whether we have kids or not. I look forward to reading her first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster and will certainly be on the lookout for her next one. There were a couple of favourite quotes I had that I’d like to share…
- ‘In that moment, I suddenly loved us all the more for our flaws, for being broken and human, for being embarrassed and lonely, for being hopeful or tired or disappointed or sick or brave or angry. For being who we were, for making the world interesting. It was a good reminder that the human condition is imperfection. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.’ (pg 225-226, Advance Reader’s Copy, Final published copy may be different)
- ‘I believe the eyes see everything through the heart—and nothing in the world feels as good as resting them on someone you love.’ (pg 233, Advance Reader’s Copy, Final published copy may be different)
A big thank you to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for having me participate in this blog tour. She does an awesome job putting together these tours and making it fun for everyone.