Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Review: Everything We Ever Wanted By Sara Shepard
Sara Shepard, the bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, delivers a powerful novel of family dreams, lies, and delusions. Everything We Ever Wanted begins with a phone call with allegations that rock an upper crust Philadelphia family to its very foundations, unlocking years of secrets and scandals that expose the serious flaws in outwardly perfect lives. A moving, intelligent, and unforgettable novel, Shepard’s Everything We Ever Wanted is exceptional contemporary women’s fiction that will be embraced by book clubs everywhere.
Sylvie Bates-McAllister is your typical rich matriarch. She comes from old money and serves on the board of the prestigious private school her grandfather helped to restore. She has two sons, Charles the uptight, responsible, possibly unhappily married son and Scott, the adopted, distant and troubled younger son.
When Slyvie learns that Scott, now a wrestling coach, has been implicated in a hazing scandal at the school that possibly led to a child's suicide, her world falls apart. This is where everything sort of fell apart for me. Instead of straight up asking her son for his part of the story, she dances around it, afraid of him or maybe afraid of hearing the truth. She drove me crazy! He's your kid, sure he's an adult but he's your son and he lives in your house. Just ask him!
Charles is no better. He had a blowout with his brother several years before and the two barely speak. Caught in the middle is Charles's new wife Joanne who is whiny and upset at being left out of the family drama.
I couldn't find a single likable character in the whole bunch. They were all just moody, whiny and/or passive aggressive. They drove me nuts and I just couldn't get engaged in the story. The supposed scandal gets blown way out of proportion with just one phone call and before anyone has any details or even knows what is really going on.
This entire family is severely dysfunctional. I'm OK with dysfunctional. I have experience with dysfunction. However, it's rather difficult to read about such dysfunction when there isn't a whole lot of resolution. The end comes on rather abruptly with one a few blurbs about where everyone ended up. I felt like we made a big mess with these people and then someone came up and suddenly swept it all away with little explanation.
The book was well written but I just couldn't connect with the characters, the plot or really, the story itself.
Posted by Rachel at 9:41 AM