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Everybody Has Everything

3.15  ·  Rating Details ·  1,204 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
What happens when the tidy, prosperous life of an urban couple is turned inside out by a tragedy with unexpected consequences? After a car crash leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they have become the legal guardians of a 2-year-old, Finn. Finn's crash-landing in their lives throws into high relief deepl ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Emblem Editions (first published January 1st 2012)
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2012 Giller Prize Longlist
9th out of 13 books — 36 voters
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146th out of 196 books — 35 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 10, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, canadian
Author Katrina Onstad's clever writing style had me quickly wrapped up in the story of couple Ana and James, and the 2 -year-old boy who they suddenly become legal guardians of when his parents get into a car accident. Finn’s dad, Marcus, dies in the crash, while his mom, Sarah is left in a coma. And now, without warning, a couple who has been trying for years to have a child (and are currently in the throes of the adoption process), have become instant parents.

Watching Ana and James’ tidy and s
Jul 17, 2012 Kendra rated it really liked it
Shelves: giller-nominee
I would've given this book five stars, but for the ending! I think it deserves 4.5 stars from me. After reading Katrina Onstad's debut novel earlier this year, I was quite eager to read her sophomore novel, because she's a writer who taps into the urban ennui with great clarity.

James and Ana are fortyish DINKs living in Toronto. They've been trying for a baby, without success. When the novel opens, their good friends have just been in a car accident. The husband dies and the wife is in a coma, l
Christine Callihoe
May 20, 2012 Christine Callihoe rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. Ana is the kind of character I could completely relate to And I found myself completely immersed in the story.
Ann Douglas
Jun 04, 2012 Ann Douglas rated it really liked it
A fast-paced novel with compelling characters. Recommended.
Jul 10, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-june
This review was originally published at:

Katrina Onstad’s latest book explores one of the more controversial topics of today’s society: parenthood, and the decision (by choice or otherwise) of some couples not to go down that road. Ana and James have been married for many years, and have tried all the conventional means to have children without success. Busy with their respective careers, they half-heartedly begin the process for adoption overseas. While they are in the mid
The Baking Bookworm
This book review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog,

Synopsis: Professional couple Ana and James have successful careers but unfortunately have struggled for years with infertility. Years of watching their friends become parents and slowly alienate childless Ana and James have taken their toll on the couple. After numerous unsuccessful rounds of fertility treatments they have started the adoption process in China hoping for a child of their own.
Aban (Aby)
Jul 03, 2012 Aban (Aby) rated it it was ok
This book had a good review in the Globe and Mail, but I found it disappointing. The story line is interesting: a childless couple, Ana and James find themselves taking care of a two and a half year old boy, Finn, when his parents are involved in a car accident. James takes to fatherhood immediately; Ana, however, finds she doesn't want to be a mother and feels excluded. The story traces the progress of James and Ana, both as a couple and as surrogate parents.The characterization is also strong: ...more
Alexandra Yarrow
Jul 07, 2012 Alexandra Yarrow rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking examination of middle age, marriage, and accidental foster parenthood.
Aug 10, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing

I dove in and stayed under until I finished the book. Very good story.
Brooke Stephenson
Aug 29, 2012 Brooke Stephenson rated it really liked it
An interesting read and I enjoyed it. I found myself liking the characters, tho not not their actions entirely, but I guess that what's a good story. It's based in Toronto and that was a major draw for me and I'd recommend it to others for a quick easy little weekend read
Sep 19, 2012 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"Everybody Has Everything" is about the joys (and reluctance) of parenthood, trust between friends, and the complexity of guardianship. I really liked that the book's plot didn't feel bogged down by its character-driven nature. It was recently long-listed for the Gillers, and takes place in Toronto. Readers who are interested in gender relations, modern family life, and Canadian/Torontonian fiction may enjoy this book.
This was a book I was looking forward to reading, but once I read it I found I was rather disappointed in it. It wasn't necessarily a bad book, but it didn't meet my expectations and it was different that what I initially expected. I thought it might have been an emotional journey on parenthood. And while the themes the book did touch on were interesting, I didn't find it came together as well as it could have.

I enjoyed some of the themes in the book. Motherhood versus the working woman, what it
Beth Mocherniak
Dec 11, 2012 Beth Mocherniak rated it it was ok
It was disappointing, not well written. The title made no sense to me. The theme of not wanting to be a mother is not very unusual anymore, and it wasn't handled in any special way.
Mar 16, 2016 Will rated it really liked it
This is an intelligent and beautifully-written work, which grew on me with a second reading. (I do that often now, even for books I don’t care for that much, as writing in GR has made me realize how much I miss the first time through)

The writing is a little ethereal but the main characters, James and Ana, are well developed and sensitively drawn. The childless couple become the guardians of 2-year-old Finn when his father is killed, and mother Sarah is severely injured and left in a coma, in a c
Steven Langdon
Dec 09, 2012 Steven Langdon rated it liked it
This novel has all the makings of a very good book. Katrina Onstad is an able writer -- she has an interesting column in the Globe and Mail. The two central characters -- Ana, a sharp young lawyer, and James, the Toronto TV producer to whom she is married -- are each well-defined and have a complicated but rich relationship between them. And the situation established, set off by a traffic accident that leaves them looking after youngster Finn, seems likely to lead to new dimensions in their ties ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Explored many concepts like community in a city like Toronto, conflicted feelings around motherhood and challenges of marriage. She really brought Toronto to life for me. I could picture the neighbourhoods, parks, shops and offices where the characters led their day to day lives.

I believe a lot of readers may not have been sympathetic to the character of Ana but she spoke to me. Not every woman wants to be a mother and her inner turmoil felt very real.

Also some light
Jul 17, 2014 Avery rated it it was ok
Shelves: ugggh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Faith Anderson
I think this could have been a really good book, the story line was good and the characters were interesting, but the transitions were a nightmare. Characters would change and flashbacks would happen with no clear direction.
I won this book from Goodreads first reads.

This book was hard to get into. But once I did, it was hard to like. The two main characters, Ana and James, should not be parents! One thinks it's ok to cheat, the other has no interest in Finn, the child in the center of this book. As someone who waited several years for a child, this made me both mad and upset. The premise of the book is great, I just didn't care for how the author told it, and didn't like Ana and James.
Jul 05, 2013 Kimberly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
3.5 stars.

I won this book through Goodreads First Reads, and plowed through it in about two and a half days. The characters in this story are very well-drawn, though not always likable, and I was anxious to see what happened to them. Here's my little breakdown, hopefully without giving too much away.

James: I feel like everybody knows a guy like James--that fiercely intelligent, opinionated, sort of cocky guy who is never going to really grow up. This doesn't make James an unlikable person--in fa
Lori Bamber
Jul 05, 2013 Lori Bamber rated it really liked it
A bit of context: I read this book on vacation, so basically over 12 hours with a few breaks for meals and naps. And I read it right after I finished a Tana French mystery and watched two episodes of The Killing on Netflix, so I had zero appetite for a slow pace.

Everybody Has Everything did not disappoint. All of the characters in this book are deeply flawed (you know, just like the rest of us) and Onstad doesn't sugarcoat their weaknesses or blur them with inauthentic, socially appropriate beha
Aug 03, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
a very compelling book. layers of sadness & the reasons for this sadness. Ana reminded me of the Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People. the only thing that gave me pause was the constant switching points of view, from Ana's to James', sometimes even within the same paragraph. that confused me at times & i had to stop & reread. other than that, this was an exceptional read.
Katrina Onstad's writing style is excellent. The story flows beautifully and is very readable. She has a knack for describing characters in a visual way that is very effective.

I found the characters to be somewhat stereotyped (female lawyer with Type A personality, male philandering TV producer. Also, the basic plot premise is too contrived: childless couple who are unable to have a baby just happen to have friends who are in a terrible car crash and have named them guardians to their two-year-o
Sep 04, 2013 Meggan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At first, I assumed this was a based-on-true-facts memoir-type book and I couldn't figure out why someone would choose to paint themselves in such an unflattering light, but it's a work of fiction.

I had to set this down a couple of times because I was so frustrated that Ana didn't seem to have a single redeeming quality. Sure, James was annoying and douchey, but at least he was a great dad to Finn. I guess Ana was good at her job? I don't know. I feel bad disliking her but she was just so unlik
Dec 02, 2013 Karin rated it it was ok
I thot this book had a good premise. Should everyone want to have kids? What if you are a woman who doesn't? She thinks she is supposed to want them and gets infertility treatments- unsuccessfully.

Then out of the blue this couple get to be guardians to a little preschooler named Finn because his parents were in a car accident.

The problem is, is that I was too caught up with their lack of morality and loyalty to each other to see them as any kind of competent parents. Ana can't seem to discuss he
Dec 16, 2013 Maggie rated it really liked it
Super good book.
Anna Pearce
I hated this book.

Well, hate is a strong word. I was bored by this book.

I read a lot of books that are about terrible people doing terrible things, and I believed when I read the blurbs for this book that that was what it was. However, it's not about terrible people doing terrible things. It's about boring people doing boring things, and the sheer banality of the story made me keep questioning when the plot was actually going to begin.

I mentioned to my friend I was reading this book and that I c
May 17, 2015 Krista rated it liked it
Shelves: can-con, 2015
The plot of Everybody Has Everything is simple enough: Each around 40, James (a recently laid off TV host of documentaries at a public broadcaster) and Ana (pronounced like “on a moon”; a high-powered patent attorney) have accepted that they can't have children of their own, and just as they decide to start the process of adopting a baby from China, a couple who have become their recent but very good friends are in a car accident. The husband is dead on the scene, the wife is in a coma, and Jame ...more
Aug 18, 2016 Patsey added it
Shelves: 2016
Meh. Probably a good "young mothers" book club book. The author asks all those "What would you do if..." questions but I just didn't engage with this one. Long listed for the Giller? Really?
Oct 12, 2016 Marlene rated it liked it
After years of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving a child, Ana and James become parents overnight when a terrible accident makes them guardian to 2 year old Finn. His crash landing in their lives throws into high relief deeply rooted, sometimes long-hidden, truths about themselves, both individually and as a couple. They begin to ask the question "Are all of us cut out to be parents?" The husband, James becomes almost the full care giver for the child and they do not seem to have equal partners ...more
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Katrina Onstad has an English degree from McGill and a Master’s from University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto with her family and works at CBC Television.
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