Exclusive Excerpt: Mrs. Everything - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Book Type:

Women's Fiction

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Exclusive Excerpt: Mrs. Everything
By Jennifer Weiner

Exclusive Excerpt: Mrs. Everything

Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner is back with MRS. EVERYTHING—a tale of two sisters who take very different paths in life. It’s both a gripping, heartfelt story and a social exploration about women and their roles in a changing America. While the book isn’t out until June 11th, I’m excited to share an exclusive sneak peek below! Plus, make sure to click on the Instagram post below to enter to win a signed advanced copy!!!

In the car, Shelley suggested they go back to her place, an apartment on the third floor of a three-story brick house a few blocks away from College Avenue. They walked through the entryway, a high-ceilinged, dimly lit space with a faded green-and-gold rug on the floor and cubbyholes for mail against the wall. Upstairs the rooms were airy, with high ceilings and walls painted creamy- white. There was a kind of parlor, with a couch upholstered in soft gray mohair, and a coffee table made of ornately carved and polished wood, and a rug, apple-green with ivory fringe. “My mom’s hand-me-downs,” Shelley said with a negligent wave. “She re-decorates and I get the cast-offs.”

A television set, with antennae stretching halfway toward the ceiling, sat on a carved wood stand in the corner. A desk, made of the same dark, polished wood, was piled high with textbooks, with a pale-blue Olivetti typewriter beside them. Jo saw The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volumes of poetry, a battered, bathwater-swollen copy of Wuthering Heights. A wheeled cart with glass shelves stood against the wall, carrying neat rows of wineglasses, martini glasses, highballs and tumblers, half a dozen bottles, and a glass ice bucket. The bar cart was Shelley’s first stop, after a detour to the kitchen to collect a metal ice-cube tray, which she deftly cracked and decanted into the bucket. The glass and the ice bucket were both engraved with REF, the same monogram as the car. “Rochelle Elise,” Shelley said, noticing Jo noticing.

“You got a middle name, Stretch?” Using gold-plated tongs, she plonked ice cubes into two short glasses, adding a generous splash of amber liquid from a decanter before turning to Jo, eyebrows lifted.

“Manhattans okay by you?”

“Sure. And no, no middle name.”

“So are you a Josephine?” Shelley was using a smaller pair of tongs to retrieve a maraschino cherry from a jar. “A Joan? A Joanne?”

“Josette.” Jo’s throat felt thick. Shelley handed her a glass and raised her own.

“Rochelle and Josette,” Shelley said. “Well. Shall we toast to nicknames?”

“To nicknames,” Jo repeated. She felt like she’d walked into an old black-and-white movie, where an elegant couple sipped drinks and tossed witticisms at each other. Her first taste of the Manhattan was closer to a gulp than a sip. She could taste the sweetness of the cherry and feel the burn of the liquor tracing a fiery line down her chest, glowing in her belly like a lit bulb.

“I’m going to get out of these wet things,” Shelley announced. She eyed Jo up and down and said, “I’ll bet I’ve got some pajamas that’ll fit you.”

Shelley had taken her shoes off by the door. Jo watched as she padded, barefoot, toward the back of the apartment. By the time she reappeared in a soft pink robe, with a set of flannel pajamas in her hand, Jo had finished almost half of her drink, and her head was starting to spin. Shelley’s toenails were the same pink as her robe. The pajamas were size small, still with tags attached.

Shelley noticed her noticing and winked. “I’m not actually a pajama gal.” She raised her arms, and the robe lifted, revealing the slim ivory curves of her calves. She was standing so close that Jo could see her pupils, the dark ring around her pale-gray iris, so close that Jo could feel Shelley’s exhalations against her own skin.

Do not do this, Jo told herself. Shelley has a boyfriend. She doesn’t like you that way. You could get in trouble. You could get expelled. People will talk. But she could feel all of those sensible thoughts floating away like smoke rings, erased by the alcohol and by Shelley’s proximity. She was certain that Shelley had nothing on underneath that soft pink robe, and that she wanted Jo to know it.

“You know what I think?” Shelley’s expression was teasing, and when she leaned close Jo could smell perfume, Camay soap, and maraschino cherry. “I think you like me.”

Jo’s head spun with desire and confusion. “You’ve got a boyfriend,” she said.

Shelley stood on her tiptoes, wrapped her arms around Jo’s shoulders, and kissed her, very lightly, on the mouth. “I’ll tell you a secret,” she whispered, so close that Jo could feel the puff of Shelley’s breath as she formed each word against her own lips. “I like boys. I like girls, too. A lot of times . . .” She dropped her voice to a beguiling whisper. “I like girls better.” She tilted her head up, looking at Jo with those dizzying gray eyes. “So what’s your story, Stretch?”

“I like girls, too,” Jo whispered, all in a rush. It was the truth, as true as it had been the day she’d made the same confession to Lynnette, and she’d been so lonely for so long; without a girlfriend, without even female friends, because Jo didn’t want to do anything that would cause the girls in her dorm or her classes to become suspicious. She’d kept to herself her entire time in Ann Arbor, and instead of being free, away from her mother’s scrutiny and suspicion, she’d just been lonely.

“Well, then.” Shelley cupped the base of Jo’s head in her hand, stroking gently. “And do you like me?” Shelley stood on her tip toes and brushed Jo’s lips with her own. They kissed, softly at first, then more deeply. Shelley’s lips parted, and Jo brushed the tip of her tongue against Shelley’s, hearing the other girl sigh, feeling her sway against her.

“This way,” Shelley whispered, taking Jo’s hand, and Jo let herself be tugged along, down a shadowy hallway, hearing Shelley humming sweetly as she fell backward onto the bed, pulling Jo down with her.

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One Comment:


  1. Angel Kelly said:

    I know her new book will be great just like always. I can’t wait to read mrs, everything! I’ve been waiting for it to come out& now its a week away. Jennifer is a talented woman & amazing writer. I’ve read every one of her books&I also own them. Ive been a fan of hers from the start. She seems like she is as amazing person as she is an author. Happy Reading!📚🙂

    Reply

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