Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Review: Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center

Everyone Is Beautiful: A Novel by Katherine Center

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 17, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1400066433
Rating (1 to 5 stars): *****


After living all her life in the same Texas town where her parents lived, Lanie Coates is uprooted to follow her husband Peter’s music career to Cambridge, Massachusetts. They pile everything they own, including their three small boys, into the car and drive across the country—leaving behind everything Lanie has ever known. Then, to add further insult to misery, Lanie’s parents decide to sell the family home—the one they’d owned since before Lanie was born—and move to Dubai.

Lanie has never felt so alone, even with the spectacularly daunting task of caring for her young and precocious children while unpacking the apartment and getting used to a new city. However, she runs into an old high school acquaintance, Amanda, who throws herself into their new friendship.

Something happens to Lanie in Cambridge: she decides it is time to find herself again. She joins the gym to finally start getting rid of the baby fat she had been carrying around for four years. Her mother sent her some cameras, so she decides to take a photography class to channel her long-ignored artistic talent. Things have never been better—until her new approach to life threatens to destroy her marriage.

Kathereine Center has a wonderful voice, telling the story with a mixture of humour and regret. Not only mothers, but many women will be able to relate to Lanie in her struggles to find the person she used to be. When I approached the end of the book, I was reading in the bath…and I was a complete prune by the time I got out, because I HAD to finish!

What truly impressed me about Everyone is Beautiful is that it inspired me to want to look at my own life to see if I am doing everything I want to be. By the end, Lanie’s musings on how we view ourselves and our relationships were so poignant that I was knocked off my feet. It truly made me look at things differently. Chick lit? Yes (and this genre is my guilty pleasure), but Everyone is Beautiful is definitely not fluff.

While my normal practice is to give away my copy after I review it, I'm sorry to say that I cannot with this one. It is a pre-release review copy and not eligible for giveaways.


  1. Thanks for the great review, Jennifer!

  2. This book sounds awesome, thanks for the review!

  3. Thanks for this lovely review!! I love hearing that it was chick lit, but "definitely not fluff." Someone at a reading the other day called the novels "literary chick lit" which I kind of liked! Thanks again so much for your thoughtful review. It was a pleasure to read!

  4. Literary chick lit--I like it! Definitely tells you the book is more than girls going out and shopping.

    You're very welcome, Katherine, and thanks for stopping by!

  5. great review! I love this book!

  6. What a wonderful review! This makes me want to read this book even more than before.