I enjoyed Katherine Center's novel Everyone Is Beautiful. As Dawn described in her original review, I did finish it quickly. The story really pulled me along. I laughed, I welled up with emotion -- it was great.
I wanted to address two of the questions below, as suggested by Dawn. I'll just use them as a jumping off point:
I am not sure how much I related to Lanie's character, but I related to her situation, and I admired her resolve to get out of her situation. Let me amend that: I related to a couple of her situations.
- How did you relate to Lanie's character? Beyond just the mom/young children connections, did you feel any type of kinship with her?
- What did you think about Lanie's pursuit of a new definition of herself, with her workout routine and photography interest? Is there something you'd love to pursue in your own life?
Lanie moves from Texas to Boston, and almost five years ago, I moved from Texas to Connecticut. Like Lanie, there were things that I missed about "home," but I was also determined to make it work. I think that my situation was a little better, because we moved into a little home on a beautiful piece of property, so that I would sit out on my front porch, gazing out at the lush trees, and think "This is my house? I really live here?"
In my front yard in Houston, there was no place to sit, and who wants to sit outside in Houston anyway? If I looked out the windows of my foyer, I'd see a not-always-so-well-manicured lawn, some oak trees that the builder had planted (which had actually grown a surprising amount), and lots of white concrete -- the driveway crossing over the sidewalks and flowing into the concrete street. I could sit on my back deck and gaze at the pool, or take a dip, which I did enjoy, but I enjoyed the change to a more rural Connecticut (just as Lanie enjoyed living and walking within the city streets of Boston).
The second situation that I related to was needing to have her own thing, her own time. But in this, we are most different. For one thing, I only had one child for 5 1/2 years. When Kyle came along, Amanda was practically grown. I was never lost and mired in that 3 under 5 situation. I also knew, instinctively perhaps, that I had to have "my own thing." Unlike Lanie, I didn't really find or need a specific talent, as she found with her photography. I just needed time. I was home full-time with a new baby, and I had a supportive husband who encouraged me to meet with my monthly neighborhood book club, my monthly scrapbooking group, to attend an evening Bible Study once a week. Those were all "my things," and I knew that I needed them.
For Lanie, for whatever reason (perhaps the fact that it took sheer focus to simply survive the 3 under 5 situation), she got lost. Or perhaps she had been involved in something other than motherhood in her "old life" in Houston, but the move was a shock to her.
One thing that I loved about this novel, is that Katherine Center just got people. That's what was beautiful to me about the novel. So, also per the discussion questions, I have a question for Katherine, that I hope to ask her either on the conference call or the tweet-up: "Is there a way in which the experience of motherhood is the same for everyone? Or is everyone's experience different?" In the novel, we really only explore two moms, Lanie and her wealthy mom-to-an-only-child friend Amanda. I thought that they were quite different, so I'd like to explore that a bit more. I think that would be a good topic to discuss on the tweet-up on Wednesday night at 10pm Eastern.
It also leads to thoughts in my head about fatherhood, or husbandry (not animal care, but you know, the act of being husband). Nelson, Lanie's husband Peter, Lanie's father, and Amanda's husband Grey. Now that I think about it, I think that she said a lot about the male role in all of this.
If you have questions about Twitter, let me know. Anyone can do it!