Laura's Reviews > Everything We Ever Wanted

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard
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's review
Jul 10, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, i-read-grown-up-books-too
Read in July, 2011

Members of a dysfunctional family gradually learn to accept themselves, even if they don't really learn to communicate.

Widow Sylvie Bates-McAllister is the mother to two adult men, one of them adopted. Everything We Ever Wanted slides from her point of view, to her sons, to daughter-in-law Joanna. All of them have problems communicating, trusting their feelings, or sharing their pain. A crisis at Swithin, the private school Sylvie's grandfather re-founded, pushes the entire family to a new level of misunderstanding and hysterical repression.

I guess what I ultimately didn't like about the book was the level of doubt that each character felt. I understand that all of us feel unsure sometimes, but I think that the doubt that these characters expressed was excessive. There were also a lot of situations in which I just wanted the characters to talk to one another already. (Kind of like the Harry Potter problem -- so much could be avoided just by having a reasonable conversation in chapter 1.)

The characters, despite the doubt concerns I have, are well-developed and their intertwined problems are engrossing. It was a quick read, even though I did want to encourage all of them to get some counseling.

I haven't read Shepard's YA work and I'm curious if her teen characters seem as conflicted and full of doubt as the adult characters did in this novel.

ARC Provided by... the publisher at ALA 2011 Annual Conference

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