Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review: Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center

A funny, poignant, and spirited
new novel about what happens
after happily ever after.

Lanie Coates and her husband Peter are moving across the country from Texas to Massachusetts. She's driving their three small children in the car and he's got all of their belongings in a U-Haul. They are leaving family, friends and the only home their children have ever known to give Peter a chance at his dream. He had applied to several schools and he finally won a free ride into the graduate program at Brandeis for music composition. So they loaded up and moved away. Now Peter is always busy with his music and she is always busy with the kids. Lanie loves her husband and children but somewhere along the way she lost herself. She doesn't have time to care for her own looks and needs. She doesn't have time for anything. But after 15 years of marriage and three young children she decides it's time to take care of Lanie. A new gym membership and a new hobby help to give her new life. Will she still have room for the old life?

Oh, can I ever relate to this story! I only moved across town with three small boys and a U-Haul but Katherine Center captures the very essence of motherhood in these moments. I can't imagine leaving all of my friends and family at a time when I needed them the most. These are the people I depended on to help me survive those early years when I was so excited to be a parent but so scared that I wasn't doing it right. It would be great to have an owner's manual with each kid.

The situations that occur in this story are often mortifying to Lanie but funny to the reader. When that post-pregnancy weight looks like another pregnancy (ouch!) and the boys misbehave in public, women can empathize with her pain. We can also be truly glad it wasn't us - this time. So many things made me laugh out loud. I can see little boys everywhere sticking maxi-pads to their naked bodies. You'll have to read it to find out why but just use your imagination.

What was close to my heart was how the main character struggles to find a balance between her roles as a mom, wife and young woman with her own hopes and dreams. She knows it's possible to have them all, but how do you have them at the same time? She loves and adores her family but she has always put their needs before her own. Now that they have moved she realizes just how much she has neglected herself and she starts a journey to find what makes her happy. As she begins to realize her dreams she must decide how much of her old life she still wants. It's a journey that so many of us take and often don't know how to fulfill. Why can't we have it all? Lanie's struggles may help some of us to figure that out. This was a book that I truly enjoyed and I recommend it to anyone who has ever been a parent or had a parent. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for the ARC of this book.

Katherine Center's website:

Publisher: Ballentine Books
Release date: March, 2009
Pages: 256
Price/format: $23.00/Hardback
Type: Fiction
Age: Adult

CONTEST: S. Krishna' Books is having a giveaway for this book. Sign ups close May 6th!


  1. Sounds like a great read. Will add this one to the list.

  2. S. Krishna's Books is hosting a contest for this book!

  3. This looks like a great one!

  4. I'm not a mom...yet *sighs dreamily* 8) But I know the sacrifices that have to be made from parents for their spouses and their children. This sounds like a wonderful book everyone should read! Great review.

  5. I've read great things about this book. Thanks for letting us know of the giveaway!

  6. I got this in the mail today from Dar at Peeking between the pages. Thanks for the review! NICE Job!


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