Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Everybody has Everything by Katrina Onstad

Publisher: Emblem
Pages: 312
Source: Publisher
Released: 2012
Rating: 5/5


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!


  1. Having, or bringing up kids, is something people rarely question. 9 out of 10 people never even ask themselves if they want a child, they just assume they do.
    The story sounds amazing Mrs. Q. I'm putting it on my TBR.

  2. I love a good emotional read and this one sounds great. I am looking forward to reading it!

  3. This sounds excellent. It sounds like it gave you a lot to think about so I bet it would make a great book club book.

  4. I haven't seen this book before. It seems like one that I would really like!

  5. Sounds amazing. My husband and I were a childless couple for quite some time so I can probably relate. I must say having a child is beyond wonderful but it also took some time to get use to. Poor Ana didn't get that adjustment time. I sort of feel for her already.

  6. Wow -- sounds very thought-provoking! And I can see how it would lead to some great discussions.

  7. Wanting to become a parent and being a parent are two different things. We were a childless couple and only had children 8 years into our marriage, which brought about changes in our lives , both welcome and some that took lots of getting used to! This sounds like a good book club read.

  8. This sounds really thought-provoking. I'll definitely keep it in mind.

  9. Oooh, that's a tough situation. Especially if you were unaware that someone named you as the guardian of their kid(s) in the even of a tragedy.

    I can feel your enthusiasm for this book though. Glad you enjoyed it and that it was able to evoke such emotion and thought from you.

  10. Ooh this one sounds really rough! I'm childless, not by choice, and find myself often questioning why I even want kids in the first place and all that kind of stuff, so this one would probably be emotional for me. But I'm still interested! LOL

    1. So, I requested a galley of this on net-galley, but it's not available anywhere here... is this published only in Canada?

    2. I'm not sure, I see it is available for the Amazon Kindle but not a paperback copy.

    3. I actually figured it out... mclelland and stewart, the publisher, is part of random house in canada, I guess. So I'm not sure when this one will be published here!

  11. Hi Jennifer,

    We don't have any children, but have been lucky enough to be able to closely share the lives of our two nieces, thanks to their parents understanding and acceptance of us as almost pseudo parents.

    I can therefore fully relate to the stresses placed on Ana and James, I am not sure how either of us would have reacted if either of the girls had been left entirely in our care, especially if one parent still survived and could waken at any time, demanding that their child be returned to them.

    I hate to say this, but fortunately both girls are now adults, with one of them recently married herself, so that particular clause in their parents will, no longer applies.

    Another great book which deals with the human psyche and a must read.

    Thanks for a thoughtful and comprehensive review.