Arminzerella's Reviews > The Center of Everything

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
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** spoiler alert ** Evelyn Bucknow's father left before she was born and her mom, Tina, has been doing her best to raise her daughter on her own. Tina's own father thinks she's a whore and will never forgive her for the mistakes she made as a young adult – and Tina's about to make another one. Desperate for food, transportation, and money, she finds herself involved with a married man who seems more than willing to help her out. Tina lets her guard down and gets herself knocked up. Again. Guy #2 disappears before she can tell him what's happened. Evelyn is mad, mad, MAD at her mom – how could she be so stupid? When mom goes into the hospital, Evelyn's grandmother, Eileen, comes over to watch after Evelyn – taking her to church and getting her religion. She finds a community of loving people there who support and nurture her, but mostly being Christian allows Evelyn to feel self-righteous about her situation and superior to her mother. Other than that, Evelyn has a pretty normal life – she becomes an awkward teenager with all of the accompanying hopes, dreams, fears, crushes, and acne. Her mother eventually swallows her pride and applies for welfare, and her devotion to her younger child (she gave birth to a mentally disabled boy) is truly admirable. Even Evelyn sees the changes Sam's care and education have brought about in her mom. Evelyn watches her two best friends fall in love and make all of the wrong choices, and she knows what her own life has been like because of the choices her mom made. These things help her decide to make different choices and she works hard to make good grades and save her money for college.

“Just an ordinary story 'bout the way things go, round and around nobody knows, but the highway goes on forever. That old highway rolls on forever...” - Oak Ridge Boys. The Center of Everything is a story about ordinary people with ordinary lives, who manage to overcome their mistakes and circumstances to find something better. Not everyone escapes unscathed. There are deaths, regrets, and disappointments all around, but they're balanced by the joys, accomplishments, and successes. Satisfying read.

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