Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Review: Everybody has Everything by Katrina Onstad
James and Ana are happily married with successful careers, their one wish is to have a child, and they’ve recently learned that they both have fertility issues. They begin to test the waters of the adoption process, unsure if this is really what they want. Their lives as married, childless adults has been isolating, it seems like everyone is consumed with their children and couples struggle to include them in activities, thinking they wouldn’t be interested. Marcus and Sarah were different, but James and Ana had no idea just how much their relationship would change their lives. When Marcus passes away in a car accident and Sarah is left in a coma, James and Ana learn two year-old Finn has been placed into their care and they were appointed his legal guardians. Scared, grieving and worried about Finn, they take him home, and hope for the best. They are forever thinking, what would Sarah do in this situation? Every time Finn mentions his parents, they are put on edge and not sure what to say. Ana quickly begins stepping away, distancing herself and re-evaluating her situation, unsure if this is what she wants. James has been adapting much better than Ana, and Finn has become very attached to him. Ana is not sure why this bond doesn’t seem to be happening between her and Finn. Her whole life is turned upside down, and everything she thought she wanted becomes blurry.
I loved, loved this one! The emotions are raw and the situation very real. How do you parent someone else’s child? They don’t know if this is temporary, perhaps Sarah will wake up. What would they do if this does become permanent? Ana and James learn that life continues, even when you want it to pause and slow down. To make matters worse, James loses his job. Ana is offered a great career move but she will need to move. Life becomes hectic, and unstable.
Ana begins to question if parenting is for everyone. Did she want a child because James wanted one? Ana forces readers to think about some stereotypes, childless adults face. This is another book that is great for discussion. Onstad had me glued to the pages, and I struggled with my feelings towards the characters. How could I judge Ana about her uncertainty when her life has been turned upside down? They were friends with Marcus and Sarah, but how well did they really know them? The friends they would turn to in this type of situation are no longer around.
This is Katrina Onstad’s second novel, but the first I’ve read. I am a fan, and will be looking for her first book entitled How Happy To Be. This book evoked many emotions in me, and made me question what I would do in this situation. This situation is something readers probably never think about, but it does happen and could happen. Highly recommended!