Monday, November 12, 2012
Published July 2003, audio by Recorded Books LLC
Source: I found this one for $2 at my library book sale
In Laura Moriarty's extraordinary first novel, a young girl tries to make sense of an unruly world spinning around her. Growing up with a single mother who is chronically out of work and dating a married man, 10-year old Evelyn Bucknow learns early how to fend for herself. Offering an affecting portrayal of a troubled mother/daughter relationship, one in which the daughter is very often expected to play the role of the adult, the novel also gives readers a searing rendering of the claustrophobia of small town midwestern life, as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl. Evelyn must come to terms with the heartbreaking lesson of first love -- that not all loves are meant to be -- and determine who she is and who she wants to be. Stuck in the middle of Kansas, between best friends, and in the midst of her mother's love, Evelyn finds herself . . . in The Center of Everything.
I'm a bit lost on what to say about The Center of Everything to be honest. I so loved Moriarty's The Chaperone; I couldn't wait to read another of her books. Perhaps it was the narration, perhaps it was the entirely different kind of story, but this book just did not do it for me. I kept waiting for something to happen. More importantly, I guess, I kept waiting to like Evelyn again.
In the beginning I liked Evelyn and her mother, Tina. Tina is a young mother, a girl who got pregnant as a teen, resulting in irreparable damage to Tina's relationship with her father. Life isn't easy for Tina and Evelyn but they had each other and it seemed that Tina understood her responsibility to Evelyn.
And then it was as if the wheels fell off of the wagon. Tina didn't make good choices, couldn't keep her emotions in check; Evelyn became, well, something of a brat. And that's where they stayed - battling each other as much as their circumstances. I wanted to shake Evelyn constantly and tell her to stop feeling sorry for herself.
Then again, maybe it was just the voice. Really, it grated on my nerves. Perhaps if I had read this book, Evelyn would have been a more sympathetic character for me. Readers who have posted reviews on Barnes & Noble almost all loved this book and loved Evelyn. I wish I would have.
Posted by Lisa at 1:30 AM