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Today’s book review comes from Dawn, our newest staff reviewer over at 5 Minutes for Books. She invites you to visit her at my thoughts exactly, if you’re a fan of cute kids or random thoughts, which both appear in abundance on her blog.
Have you ever found yourself gulping down the words from a book at an alarming rate because you no longer have any sense of the actual world around you? Have you ever connected with a fictional character in such a way that you think there’s possibly an eerie force at nature that led you to the book in the first place? Have you ever had trouble actually seeing the print on the page because of the massive amount of tears streaming down your face? I can honestly answer yes to all of the above about Katherine Center’s new novel, Everyone is Beautiful.
This is the story of Lanie, the mom to three young boys and the wife to a composer trying to make his mark on the profession, who is literally beginning a new chapter of her life at the onset of the story, moving her family from Texas to Massachusetts to support the aspiring career of her husband. Notice how that description mentions nothing particularly personal about Lanie?
Yeah, so would she, because that’s what she’s realizing her life has become– who she is can only be defined in relation to the people around her. A mother. A wife. That’s the scope of her life, and she has trouble recalling the self she used to be before these new identities took top billing in her life. An epiphany of sorts results, triggered by being asked the worst possible question ever by a stranger, leading her to add “change your life” to the top of her never ending to-do list (Ever been asked when you were due… when you weren’t pregnant anymore? Oh yes, worst possible question ever.) She soon comes to find that she may have changed more than she bargained for.
You could call this novel a treatise on modern day motherhood, parenting and marriage all wrapped up in an entertaining and wholly believable contemporary story. I’m drawn to fictional works that portray women and mothers in all their glory, often struggling with the messes that come with regular life and trying to find their particular path in it all. (Oh yes, I am what I read.) This book definitely had that overarching theme, but there was something else. I’m not even sure that I can put my finger firmly on it, but I’ve read enough novels in my day to know that this one was different.
Perhaps I come to this novel with certain characteristics that made me predisposed to connecting with it– I also have three young children, I also have a love/hate relationship with my own body, I also find myself often wondering what happened to the ‘me’ I used to be… but I think it was even more than that. The voice of Lanie speaks with such ferocity when she describes the fear that mothers live with about the vulnerability of their children’s lives, or the drudgery that can so easily swallow a marriage when you are surrounded by young children, or the physical imperfections that are an undeniable fact of life. Lanie goes beyond simply being a realistic character- as I turned the last pages, I felt as if I lived this story, instead of just spending the last day consuming it in a few extended sittings.
This book will find a very special place on my bookshelf, and it is definitely shooting to the top of the list of the books I (annoyingly) tell my friends they just have to read. Far be it from me to tell you, people whom I’ve never met, what to read… but I think you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. If I’ve sold you on this book, you can head over to 5 Minutes for Books to see the video trailer to get just a tiny taste of what this wonderful novel has to offer.
Please leave a comment to win one of three SIGNED copies of Everyone is Beautiful. We’ll announce the winners in next week’s column. This contest is void where prohibited and subject to our terms and conditions.
We’re thinking of doing some sort of bookclub with this book, so if you are interested, be sure to follow us at twitter.com/5M4B and keep an eye on our feed for details.
The winner of Sixty-Five Roses: A Sister’s Memoir is #32 Denise.
If you did not receive an email from me, please send your full shipping address to me at 5minutesforbooks(at)GmailDOTcom.
Edited by Susan to Add:
You’ll love these videos featuring the book:
“Everyone Is Beautiful” Trailer
Excerpt from “Everyone Is Beautiful”
I would love to read this book!
Mandie McBride says
I would love to read this one! Sounds really good.
amy h says
This book sounds wonderful!! WOW!! Thanks for the chance to win!!
Sounds like a great book!
Beverly M says
This sounds like a book, I would enjoy reading. Thanks for having the contest!
dorothy l says
sounds like a great book
Cheryl F. (The Lucky Ladybug) says
I’d love to read this 🙂 *Thanks* for the giveaway!
This book sounds simply fabulous!!!!!
Marcy Strahan says
THIS SOUNDS LIKE SUCH AN INSPIRING BOOK!
I WOULD LOVE TO READ IT!
I COULD TRULY USE A DOSE OF INSPIRATION RIGHT NOW!
Renee We says
It is an ever changing world that we live in. We change too.
Paula J hephner says
runnin out of stuff to read, it sounds wonderful!
Timothy Sternberg says
I would Love to win.
Gina Benway says
thanks for the contest. I just love getting into new books!
Jack Davis says
I really want to win this book for my daughter who loves to read! And who know she may share it with me! Thanks
Veronica Garrett says
This sounds like a great book. I would love to win it.
I would love to win–thanks!
R Hicks says
Looks like a great read!
Lily Kwan says
Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!
Donna C. says
Looks like a great book.
Looks great! Thanks for the giveaway!
Robert Moseley says
This sounds like a good one!
Renee G says
I’d love to read this.
Betty C says
I’d love to win this. I need new reading material.
Rachel Newman says
I love losing the real world and entering the world in a book. Thanks for this opportunity!
i would love to win this! it looks like a great book to read
This sounds like a good read!!
Janice Wright says
This looks like an excellent book. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!
Wendy Wallach says
always looking for a new,good read.
madamerkf at aol dot com
looks like a great book
Candie L says
I have been disappointed lately with the books I have read. I need something that will absolutely capture me and make me feel lost. Thank you
Brenda S. says
This book sounds like a good one. Thanks!
nancy waychoff says
i like he book cover
shawna f says
Would love to win!
Terrisa Swift says
I would love to win, never one anything
Belinda Shaw says
Your review really peaked my interest in this book! I’d really enjoy reading it!
Brenda Park says
This sounds like a great book, and your review was awesome too. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Ed Nemmers says
Great book cover!
Karen Gonyea says
Count me in 🙂
nancy waychoff says
my 12 yr old has too read 10 books a month for her reading class i hope this will be one of them
Ellie W says
Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.
I’m also a newsletter subscriber. Thanks.
Great contest, please enter me.
Hesper F says
Looks like a fantastic read!
Samantha Miller says
This book sounds really good. Thanks!
veronica sandberg says
want to win this
Amber B says
Reading unlocks the mind? ambpool(at)hotmail.com
Diane Baum says
sounds like an interesting read
J Chaborek says
We just got a new condo, would love to read this while at the side of the pool. Thanks for the giveaway!
Kristen Hendricks says
I would love to win this book so I can read it. It sounds like the type of book that I could relate to so much. This is a great giveaway. Thanks.
Molly Capel says
I would love to read this book. It sounds really different than what I normally read.
Bryanna P. says
Awesome book… =D
Jean F says
Its sad that women spend so much time judging themselves by unobtainable standards-of beauty, accomplishment…
Sara Amos says
This would be a great book to share with my sister who is a high school English teacher. I would love to read it also
This sounds like a great book and a cautionary tale (that all women should remember) about giving to others too much and losing one’s sense of self in the process.
This sounds like a great book from what I have read on it. Would love to read this one.
Steve Scott says
I need to feed my wife’s reading addiction.
Pamela S says
Thanks so much for the giveaway!! I love all kinds of books and would love to read this.
Vicky Boackle says
i would like to read this.
Terra Heck says
I’d like to read this book. Thanks.
Sounds like a good book.
victoria lynch says
I just read my last new book and this looks like one that I would enjoy
thanks for the giveaway!!!!!!!!
Looks like a great book, I’d love to win!
mary bailey says
I’ve often wondered if I was alone in marveling in the beauty of my soft, post-baby, squishy belly. This books sounds like one I will adore. I’d love to win it!
i’d l♥ve to win this book .. sounds like a great read!
I love your review.
I am a new subscriber to the e-newletter.
Gabriel J. says
Please, enter me, great prize!!!
Christina G. says
Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway!
great, i need a new read
Ellen C. says
I’d love to give this book a read. Thanks for the chance.
This book sounds wonderful. I would love to read it. Great giveaway – signed copy! Thank you!
Jason Nickolay says
This looks like a great read. Thanks for the chance
Gina Stratos says
Really does sounds like a great book
This sounds like a really good book I would love to read. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks!
Susan Smith says
sounds like a good book
This sounds like it should be my next read!
Angela J says
I’m always looking for the next book to read.
This sounds wonderful, please enter me!
Linda Chaput says
Thanks for the contest.I hope i win this one.I am a subscriber.
Susan C says
You have definitely sold me. I would love to read this book, it sounds like just what I need right now!
This sounds like a wonderful book!
Mary Ward says
I read her first book and just loved it. I’d really love a copy of this one!
This book sounds like just the thing I need right now! Great review!
I’d love to win a copy! It sounds like a great story.
i have your button in my sidebar.
i subscribe to your feed.
This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!
Alice C says
Ah yes. I can agree with that title for everyone but myself. I’d love to read this. Please enter me. Thanks.
Meredith Rogen says
I heard this is an amazing book, I’m looking forward to reading it!
This book looks wonderful, I would love to win!
Adrian Lamont says
This is great, count me in.
Tanna Moddison says
I find myself reading more lately, and this sounds like the perfect book to add to my growing (again) collection! Thank you!
This sounds like a great read. something I need at this time to bring me back into basic sanity! Is that possible anymore??? I figure laughter & sounds like I will relate to the character will fill the spot!
Everyone is Beautiful sounds just right for me!
thank you !
I’d love to win! Sounds like a great book! I’m gonna recommend it to my book club. 🙂
sounds like lots of fun from a great book
Sounds like a book I could relate to!! 🙂
Shannon H says
I’d love to read this, so please count me in. Thanks!
This sounds like such a great book. I would love to win a copy.
Another great review, Dawn. Would love to win this book…keeping my fingers crossed.
This looks like a great read. I’d love to win it!
I’d love to read it, thanks!
shannon Baas says
Jennifer Elliott says
This looks awesome, thanks for the chance!
Jen S. says
would love to win!
Donna R says
I’d love to win this. Thanks for the contest.
christopher h says
love to win this
Martha C says
I am also the mother of three but my kids are getting older and I have found my way back into my line of work so I have a bit of myself back. I’d love to read this and share it with my book club. Thanks for that opportunity.
I would love to read this book!
James Jenkins says
thanks for this opp!
Count me in!
C. clemens says
would love to win
Sounds like a great read, thanks for the chance to win!
IE Mommy says
The more I have to read, the happier I am! Wish me luck.
Sounds like an excellent read!
I need a great book to read! I have been struggling finding great books at the library…it is hard for me to pick out a good book from all the masses 🙂
Please include me in your giveaway.
This looks like a good book. Thanks!
I can’t tell you the last book I read that wasn’t about parenting! I am very interested in this book and would love to win. If I don’t win, I may just visit Amazon and get it for myself. Thanks for offering this contest and for the chance to learn about a good read.
Karen B says
I have grand/greatgrandkids now and their moms are going through what I did back in the 60s-70s-80s. Would love to win and pass it on after I’ve read it!
I’m also a subscriber 🙂
I’d so love to read this book! Thanks!
Alicia Webster says
I have three kids also (a three-year-old, a two-year-old, and a one-year-old), and I am shocked at the differnce between the pre-marriage/kids “me” and the post-marriage/kids “me”. When I was single, I used to think poorly about moms who had clearly let themselves go. Now I am the embodiment of that particular sterotype, and I never would have predicted it. I give my family everything that I have, and there is nothing left for me. Do I think that is healthy? No. But the guilt that consumes me when I try to have a little “mommy time” makes it all pointless.
Looks like a GREAT read!
this looks like a great book and great idea about a book club! would love to win!
I’d love to win this book! It sounds great!
I need a new book and it sounds great!
Mozi Esmes Mommy says
This looks interesting – I’d love to read it!
Rhonda Struthers says
I need a new book and this looks great.
Deb M says
This books sound perfect for getting us out of the “cabin fever after long winter at home with kids” mode. Thanks for a great giveaway!
Occupation: Mommy says
This sounds like a great book!
Sounds like a great book. I would love to win and read it!
This one is on my ‘To be read list’! I’d love to win!
Sounds like a book every mom should read! An autographed copy would be awesome.
Michael Capp says
I’d love to win!
Angela C. says
I would love to win. Thanks for the giveaway.
accoupons at gmail dot com
getting this book one way or another!
Mama Zen says
I subscribe to the newsletter.
Mama Zen says
This sounds fabulous!
Heather J. says
and I’m subscribed through Google Reader
Heather J. says
I recently recommended this to a friend (without having read it myself) and she LOVED it. I’d love to be able to give her a signed copy, since hers was a library book.
Please enter me. 🙂
Donna Slice says
I would be thrilled to win this book. We moms rule.
would love to read this
Sounds great–and I LOVE that cupcake on the cover! I’d love to read it.
Sounds like a great book!!!
Sign me up. Thank you!
randi oaklief says
This sounds great!
I’d love to win!
wow i’ve been looking for a new book and this one sounds great! i would love love love to win it!!
This book sounds like a good one. Following on twitter in case you do a club.
I love winning books!!!
i’m a book addict and this sounds like a great one! please count me in for the giveaway!
i’m actually giving away 15 books for ubp09 on my site! enter to win!
This sounds like a good one! I’d love to read it.
Loved the trailer, would love to win this book.
rachael s says
i have heard so many wonderful things about this book, i would love to win!
I’m a subscriber.
Sounds like a great book!
susan varney says
love to read -hope to win
I would love this book too! I hope I win!
Shirley Rogers says
Sounds like a great book. I’d love to win it.
I love to read – this one sounds great!!!
Breezy's Mom says
Sounds like a good book. Would love to win a copy.
debbie c says
I’m always looking for a good book to read and a new author I haven’t read before. Hope I win, but, if not I at least I know a book to go get.
Amber G says
I would really love to win this book!
Isn’t this book AMAZING!!!!
You’ve gotta watch these videos on YouTube
Excerpt from the Book:
I am reading her first book right now and have heard so many wonderful things about “Everyone is Beautiful” I would love to win a copy.
i really enjoyed her first book (which i won on a blog…lol) so i’m sure i’ll enjoy this one too! hope i win:-) great review.
I need a book that I can get into! This one sounds great!
Beloved Mama says
I would LOVE to win- I’ll head over to the review ;O)