Read Date: September 1, 2019
Buckle up, everyone. I really did not like this book.
The story of Bethy and Jo Kaufmann from their youth in the 1940s up to present day, Mrs. Everything is LGBTQ+ feminist fiction for people who have no interest in LGBTQ+ feminist fiction. This book is laden with unlikeable characters, superficial glimpses at gender roles and sexual identity, and, yes, I’ll say it: errors.
As a resident of metro-Detroit, I was so excited for the first few parts of the book to take place in an area I grew up knowing so well, and was so disappointed with the slew of factual errors. An example: the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel does *not*, in fact, run underneath Lake Erie. Another example: when Bethy is in South Pacific at her high school, the narrator refers to a moment in rehearsal in which Bethy is singing about how ‘the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye’, which is from Oklahoma!, NOT South Pacific. I know that these things seem minute and pedantic, but this is a Simon & Schuster book. A New York Times bestseller. How did this happen?
Every character is a stereotype and none is likable, save two characters, one of whom is made out to be a bad guy. No one in this book does anything to further equality or progress in the identity, gender, and sexuality efforts, they just regurgitate what we already know. Pushing 500 pages, I felt like this book could’ve ended about four times. In short, this book didn’t really need to be written.
I know that this was harsh, and I know that this is just an opinion, so by all means, if you enjoyed this book, enjoy it! Ignore me, and keep on keeping on! But I just found it gratuitous and unnecessary, and for such a highly lauded book from such a prominent publisher, these editing problems were pretty much unforgivable to me.
Posting negative reviews always makes me uncomfortable, but my gosh I did not like this book. If it weren’t my book club book I would’ve DNF-ed it about five chapters in. At the end of the day, though, not every book can be a winner, and the beauty of reading is that there is always another shot! So, onto the next!
Happy reading, all. Xx.