On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review when they were first released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I am not going to lie, what is happening in our country scares me. I will not get all political but it did cause me to choose a different type of book for this week’s Flashback Friday. A book with no mystery to solve, a book about just every day life that I could comfortably “escape” into for a few hours and forget about what is really happening in the real world. I hope you won’t mind that I slipped away from the mystery genre this week.
Everyone Is Beautiful: A Novel
Setting – Massachsetts
Ballantine Books (February 17, 2009)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Kindle ASIN: B001NLL2TS
Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.
These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.
Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.
I needed to read something different and funny and this book fit the bill.
Lanie’s life takes an abrupt turn when her husband’s new job uproots her family from their Texas home and into a 3rd floor 2 bedroom apartment in Massachusetts. She is with her kids, three under the age of 4, 24/7. While visiting a nearby park one day she reconnects with a classmate from high school and this gives her at least one adult to share things with and keep her sane. Her husband is wrapped up in his work and their relationship has reached the phase where you just go through the days without any real firm connection beyond being parents. At the end of her rope she joins a gym and realizes she has dreams as well. She just needs to figure out what they are and then find space to place them in her life. But can her marriage survive her putting herself first even just for part of the day or week without losing everything else so important to her.
As a mother of four I could relate to Lanie’s story quite easily. Mom’s always put themselves last. Those days when the children are small and it is a triumph to just get a shower or go to the bathroom by yourself. Unlike Lanie, I worked full time when my children were growing up, so I was around adults for a least 8 hours of the day. Lanie heads to the gym for her “me time”. I used to escape to my sewing room, where I made the lion’s share of the clothes for my family, and let my creative juices flow.
The author gives us an entertaining and in places really funny look at family life. You know the day to day stuff most of our lives are filled with. It’s not rocket science but sometimes getting through days with toddlers it seems like rocket science would be easier. Three little boys can be tough, especially 3 boys under four years old. I did want to jump in the book a few times to tell her to put the youngest one down. He was almost a year old and not crawling or walking yet and I think that was because she carried him everywhere. He was like her security blanket. Funny, after some lifestyle adjustments near the end of the book the little guy starts walking and crawling all in one day
This was just the book I needed to read at this time. It brought back some fond memories, but even it, a book like this, my new trigger word appeared, “suicide”. It seems I just can’t escape that in anything I read these days. Thankfully it was only a mention and was followed by a moment that made me laugh. This book was recommended to me several years ago, long before my son took his life. It has been buried in my To-Be-Read stacks since then. Waiting for me to find the perfect time to read it. Well last Sunday was the perfect time. If you need a light read, this may be the one.
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*This book was from my personal collection.