Everybody Has Everything

Everybody Has Everything

Book - 2012
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"Combining a pitch-perfect, whip-smart dissection of contemporary urban life with a fresh and perceptive examination of our individual and collective ambivalence towards parenthood, Katrina Onstad's "Everbody Has Everything" balances tragedy and comedy with verve and flair. What happens when the tidy, prosperous life of an urban couple is turned inside out by a tragedy with unexpected consequences? After a car crash leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they have become the legal guardians of a 2-year-old, Finn. Finn's crash-landing in their lives throws into high relief deeply rooted, and sometimes long-hidden, truths about themselves, both individually and as a couple. Several chaotic, poignant, and life-changing weeks as a most unusual family give rise to an often unasked question: Can everyone be a parent?"--Publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2012.
ISBN: 9780771068980
Characteristics: 300 p. ; 21 cm.


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Mar 10, 2014

A very real look at how getting what you thought you wanted, even if through someone else's tragedy can make you implode. Ana had tried for years to have a child biologically and it just hasn't worked out. Then her friend ends up in a coma, with her husband dead and a child that needs caring for. Watching her slowly fall to bits was realistic and heart-breaking.

Cdnbookworm Feb 14, 2013

This novel has a couple, Ana and James, who are thrust into a situation with no warning. Their friends Marcus and Sarah have been in a car accident and Marcus is dead, while Sarah is in a coma. Marcus and Sarah's 2 1/2 year old son Finn is not injured, and Ana and James are named as the legal guardians in Sarah and Marcus's wills. With Sarah's situation uncertain, the couple take charge of Finn, and this sudden change to their lives changes their relationship and finds them questioning their ability to be parents.
Ana is a research lawyer hoping to make partner, a woman who organizes her house to a pristine minimalism. Her unstable childhood and difficult relationship with her mother has her scared about her own parenting skills. James desire to be a father has him jumping into the situation with both feet, and since he was recently laid off from his television job, he has the time to be the primary caregiver.
As the two adjust to Finn, and to how their own relationship changes, we see the emotions both good and bad that are felt by both of them.
This is an interesting situation and the characters are complex and interesting. Very enjoyable read.

brianreynolds Jan 04, 2013

I suppose the title “Everybody Has Everything,” although ambiguous and unrelated to the story, at least will remind book shoppers of the title “How Happy to Be.” As a novel, Everybody Has Everything is unambiguous for the most part and well-focussed on a few central themes: the precarious balance between motherhood and a career, the difficulty in maintaining a loving relationship, and trials of understanding and nourishing a young child. Katrina Onstad does a competent job of examining these themes. She also fashions a moment near the end of the book where the story that drives the themes becomes briefly absorbing. However, as so many others have pointed out, her inept and overly entitled characters do not inspire much enthusiasm in their journey toward a somewhat surprising rebirth (birth?) of their union. Not only does the reader suspect no one in the book has everything all together, there is a strong suspicion everyone has very little indeed to be smug about.

Nov 21, 2012

Such an amazing writer! Her style, her observations, her turn of phrase. I am blown away. And her depth of feeling! Excellent excellent writing.

Nov 09, 2012

Katrina Onstad is an excellent writer.

wendybird Oct 24, 2012

This feels like a thoroughly current Canadian urban novel, sketching clearly & sympathetically the struggles a young couple has around the question of parenthood. I found the beginning & the ending far more carefully written that the center section, but still, this book is more than worth a read; I predict good things for this author as she continues to develop. The ending, while a bit pat, does make some -- if too sweet -- sense.

Sep 25, 2012

Listened to interview on CBC radio, sounds like a great book

Sep 15, 2012

For some reason I found this boring. Maybe it just isn't my thing.

ksoles Jul 15, 2012

At its core, "Everybody Has Everything" depicts the existential panic that ensues when trying to decide whether or not to have children. Ana, a lawyer on the path to partnership, and James, a TV personality and aspiring novelist, have undergone countless unsuccessful fertility treatments. Just as they begin to settle into their childless lives, their friends Marcus and Sarah are in a car accident that leaves Marcus dead and Sarah in a coma. Ana and James become guardians to their two-year-old son, Finn.

The sudden and shocking arrival of Finn creates both upheaval and joy in their lives. James, who loses his job and suffers from a fear of becoming obsolete at 43, takes to parenting quickly. James and Finn bond in a way that seems foreign to Ana, who never quite relaxes around Finn. Thus, Ana feels scrutinized by James and overwhelmed by expectations that she should just seamlessly adjust to being a mother. Her first night alone with Finn, she wonders, “How is motherhood supposed to feel? Because she wasn’t sure that it should feel like this, so much like terror.”

One can’t scan a newspaper or magazine these days without seeing articles about the role of motherhood, making Onstad’s new novel a timely read. She thoroughly examines how and why adults choose to parent, and what happens when you don’t have a choice in the matter. Ana and James come alive convincingly in this impressive novel; their compelling agony and triumphs remain with the reader long after the book closes.

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