Book Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Book Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner (2019) (Fiction)
3 Stars ***

This is one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read and/or reviewed. Maybe it’s a generational thing, or a life-style choice thing, but this is one depressing book. No one is happy for more than five minutes. We follow this multi-generational saga from the 1950s to 2022. The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of sisters Jo and Bethie, who should act like two nice Jewish girls in the Detroit of their era. Instead, we’ve got two miserable, entitled brats, who rebel against everything and everyone, trying to find personal fulfillment. Uhmm, good luck with that one. Chaos theory at work here.

The girls battle with their mother, each other, and their roles in society. Being a traditional wife and mother is a sentence into oblivion and life imprisonment. They each experiment with a number of crazy, self-destructive behaviors they can find: same sex relationships, hallucinogenic drugs, sexual promiscuity, lack of commitment to education and steady employment, backpacking around the world, bartering sexual favors for food and money, leaning on other people to supply their basic necessities, living in all female communes, hanging with the worst possible in-your-face-loser-men, becoming complicit victims of sexual exploitation, making relationship choices that invite friction for a lifetime, yada, yada, yada.

Needless to say, nothing works in their favor until near the very end when things look rosy., however short-lived. By the way, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to amass a fortune when allowed to follow one’s dream. Hmmm.

The book is boring. You can’t imagine how many recipes and dinner menus we are subjected to. Oh, and let’s not forget the explicit sex scenes between Jo and her lovers. Very surprising since this is not a book of erotica or a how-to book on sexual arousal for women. Or is it?  Who cares? At about 18% into my Kindle edition, I already looked to see how much of the book was left to read. That’s how tedious this experience was for me.

The author’s message? Marriage and children can never bring fulfillment. Significance of title? Mrs. Everything = Misses Everything. This means the traditional roles of wife and mother insure that women will miss out on personal fulfillment, will be unable to travel freely, will be relegated to serving food and drink to their husbands and children, and must speak and act as expected rather than how they truly feel. There’s no room for discussion here: This choice can only bring misery. If the role of homemaker appeals to you, then you are brainwashed by societal and familial expectations. You’re not happy. You only think you are.

So depressing. In a million years, I would not want to be any of these women or call one of them a friend. They’re miserable, calculating, and strategic. No spontaneity here. They’re only kind if you agree to do it their way. If you embrace the idea of life as a merry-go-round, adding and discarding people until you find the one that will solve all your problems and make you happy to be you, then you’ll like this book.



Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2020

Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (2015) 5 Stars *****(Book 4 of The Neapolitan Novels)

An excellent source book for women’s studies and sociological patterns.

Intelligent. Insightful. Thought Provoking.
Elena Ferrante will be remembered as one of the greatest novelists of all time.

Lenu, our narrator, and her closest friend, Lila, are in their forties through sixties in this book. Their relationship still has its ups and down: interdependence/ abandonment, admiration/resentment, tenderness/anger, understanding/frustration. Lenu reinvents herself as a speaker realizing, “I had a natural ability to transform small private events into public reflection” as she becomes more and more honest and open about her herself and family and friends. Lila keeps her successes hidden from Lenu, leaving Lenu to discover Lila’s accomplishments almost by accident and as incidental comments from mutual friends.

Lenu and Lila continue separately to assert their independence from traditional domestic life, leaving human debris in their wake: hurt, accusations, insults, guilt, broken familial relationships, neglect. ‘Round and around and around they go as people from the past keep popping up, causing them to reflect on the effect of their neighborhood upbringing on their fabric as a person. Lenu tells us we never can truly shed who and where we come from. Our childhood shapes us for a lifetime and we either become trapped by it, or struggle to leave it behind.

Both women need love but often feel trapped by its obligations. Lenu demonstrates her strength as she continuously sets goals and works step by step to achieve them, still enjoying positive relationships with all those from her past. Lila, on the other hand, suffers from emotional and mental problems as she goes through life full of anger and thoughts of revenge, as she vacillates from being a tower of strength and kindness to becoming unglued, neglectful, and distracted. Negativity is her constant companion. Not only does it follow her, but she creates it and magnifies it.

I do not want to spoil the story by telling you specifically about the lost child. This terrible event remains a mystery. Blame and culpability cannot be assigned. Maybe an innocent photograph led to what happened, maybe not. Interactions by Lenu and Lila conspired to create the outcome—ironic shades of childhood—collateral damage? if you will. Still heartbreaking no matter how you slice it.

I love this series and did not want it to end.

Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym for an author who wishes to remain invisible. As a matter of fact, writing is not her full-time job. She writes these wonderful books in her spare time—when she’s not at her day job. Is she even really a woman? No one knows. In any event, her Neapolitan Novels series contains four books: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child.  My Brilliant Friend has already aired on HBO. Although I do not know the time frame, books two and three are scheduled to be made into mini-series to give us closure on Lenu and Lila’s story. Hopefully, the fourth book will be added to this HBO series.

The review for Frantumaglia-A Writer’s Journey, also by Elena Ferrante, will be published on January 19, 2019.

Ciao bella!

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019


Arbor Day: Making It Real For Kids

Arbor Day: Making It Real For Kids

Looking for hands-on back- to- nature activities for kids? Arbor Day, celebrated this year in the US on April 27, is a perfect time to reconnect with nature, especially trees which clean our air, provide shade, housing, and sustenance and, are fun to climb! That’s just the beginning.

The April, 2018 Long Island Edition issue of Natural Awakenings contains a great article “Into The Woods-Nature Helping Kids Build Skills and Character” by April Thompson. We gather information about “youth organizations that encourage survival skills like tracking food sources, making fires and shelters; indigenous knowledge of local environments and life’s interconnectedness; physical and other challenges to heighten sensory perception; sharpening observation and awareness of animal behaviors during hunting by ‘foxwalking’, ‘owl vision’, or during self-protection by staying still like a rabbit or coyote; or using natural patterns of day and night and seasonal changes to tune in to the rhythms of nature.”

Where can you find the organizations that offer these experiences? Checkout “Earth Native Wilderness School, 4 Elements Earth Education, Wild Earth, Wilderness Awareness School, Coyote’s guide to Connecting With Nature, The Tracker School, Children & Nature Network, and Earth Skills Alliance.”

Plant trees. Celebrate trees. Climb trees. That’s what today is all about. Maybe you’ll be inspired to go further into the back-to-nature movement. The future belongs to our children and grandchildren. Let’s build awareness and a sense of connection and responsibility for our future decision makers.

Please remember, saving the planet goes beyond reuse, recycle and reduce. It also involves how we treat each other and the world in which we live.

One person, one experience at a time.

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Kids: Let The Pros Sweat The Small Stuff

PrintWith so many parents working long hours, it’s understandable that you want the quality time you spend with your children to be free of stress. One way to accomplish this is simply to have fun with your kids, while leaving “the  rules” for someone else to teach. Manners? Bathroom etiquette? Bike riding? Tying shoelaces? No problem. Let the pros handle it.

In today’s self-starter business society, people have come up with a business for every need. In fact, there are even businesses for things you never even knew you needed. Like the above mentioned areas, for example.

Let’s take a look Leslie Goldman’s p.11 article in the March, 2016 issue of Parents which is a wealth of information for making parenting easier.

Need Help With Manners? – Manners To Go, $150-$375 for a 90 minute private lesson in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania at

Need Help With Toilet Training? – Potty Generation, Webinars, $27 to $57, Discover Package, $450;

Need Help With Riding a Two Wheeler? – REI’s two-hour “How To Ride A Bike” class teaches  kids as young as four, how to balance, steer and brake. Bring your own bike. $45 to $65.

Need Help Tying Shoe Laces? – Nordstrom department store offers a free shoelace-tying workshop at their stores. Kids even get a certificate.

Who knew? There may even be many more helpful businesses out there. If you’re aware of any, please share. Let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post – It Was Good To Be Lady Almina of Highclere Castle: Good-bye Downton Abbey

© 2016 All rights reserved

Teaching Kids To Save Our Planet And Ourselves

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

The sins of the parent are visited upon the child. This is a sobering thought. Not only does this adage reach across psychological, emotional, mental and  social boundaries, but it extends to the world situation in which our children and grandchildren will find themselves. A world filled with strife, war and famine. Often, the absence of a peaceful, supportive family life. A world depleted of natural resources. Food shortages. Clean water shortages. As individuals, we do not have the power to save the world, but we each can take a positive step and instill good habits in our children, so we may all work together for a more powerful impact on the world in which we live. Each generation must continue good practices, since no action has everlasting results.

Saving the planet goes beyond reuse, recycle and reduce. It also involves how we treat each other. It’s one thing to be kind and generous to people who enter our lives on a daily basis, but more powerful if we seek out situations where our help is needed and create a game plan for positive results.

I came across an interesting article in the December, 2015 issue of the Long Island edition of Awakenings by Jennifer Jacobsen, “Generous Pint-Sized Givers.” What’s interesting and unique here, is the concept of giving that involves not only donations of money and useful things, but how our thoughts, words and actions impact those around us.

Jennifer  Jacobson offers the following suggestions:

 *Ask Kids How They’d Like To Help– make a list of things in which there is interest
*Make A Game Plan– map out activities like visiting, donating or fundraising
*Quick Tasks Can Make A Big Difference– periodically, fill a “donate box” with items from closets, toy chests, drawers and the garage

*Find Ways to Raise Money For Donations– yard and bake sales

*Associate Getting With Giving– encourage birthday and holiday gifts to include a monetary amount allocated for donations

*Volunteer To Do Community Service– public gardens, historic buildings, food banks all need volunteers                                                                                                                                 *Grow The Mindset– teach kids to ask,”How would you want people to help you in this situation?”

The important thing to remember is giving is not something we should do upon occasion, it should be a way of life. One person, one experience at a time can change the world.

Next week’s blog post: Color Yourself Calm – Yep, With Crayons!

© 2016 All rights reserved


Selfie: Millennials As Parents

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Unique (they think), entitled, individualistic, self-promoting, tech savvy, social media addicted, constantly seeking public approval  Millennials: kids born between the late 70s and late 90s or between 1982 and 2004, depending on the source. These dates are flexible, since behavior should be examined, as well as year of birth in determining assignment to a generational group. Emotionally conflicted parents foster emotionally conflicted kids. We’ve been discussing the effects of stress on today’s kids in the last few blog posts. If you think the social media whirlwind is tough on millennial parents, let’s take a look at how it impacts their children.

In an article in the October 26, 2015 issue of Time Magazine, “Help – My Parents Are Millennials by Kathy Steinmetz, the following picture is presented:                                                                                                                 * Mom-petition – social media presents a constant brag fest photo-op for the “perfection” that is the lives of others, creating a daily standard to be met and surpassed                                            * Dependence on Social Media For Approval – the number of  likes and comments matter                                                                                                                                                              * Social Media Fosters Rude, Confidence-Slashing Comments Its Nature – people post things they would never say in a face to face situation                                                                      * Information Overload – Google, Twitter, Apps, Facebook all day long                                       * Afraid Of Making The Wrong Choice – must check reviews of doctors, restaurants, manicurists, hair stylists, toy stores, etc. before taking action                                                           * Democratic Approach To Family Management – kids are canvassed for their opinions and participate in discussions regarding family decisions, activities, schedules, punishments                                                                                                                                               * Their Children’s Approval Is Sought – children are confident in expressing their opinions and feel free to let their parents know they do not approve of their choices                               * Their Children Have An Inflated View Of Their Place In The World – they want what they want NOW. Every activity results in a media blitz of photo ops.Of course they think they’re terrific, their pictures are posted all over social media every day. Since when did eating an ice-cream become newsworthy?                                                                                           * Technology Both Brings Parents & Kids Closer And Acts As A Barrier – yes, cell phones keep you in touch but also interfere with conversations and participation in the present *** flip phones without Internet are safer to protect your kids from cyber sexual predators and social media sites where bullying and teasing can happen at an alarming rate ***                                                                                                                                                                            * Worry About Screwing Their Kids Up For Life – the parent fears if they don’t make the right choices, the child will carry permanent emotion, mental and psychological scars

So, here’s my take on this subject. Warning: I have a lot to say since my experience with this subject is extensive. Ready?

What we have is a generation of petrified parents, afraid of public media criticism and criticism from their own little children to whom way too much power has been given. Millennials, take back your parental power! You have a right to make decisions for your children for which they have no say. Be the parent. You’re creating a dysfunctional family by allowing the child to be in control.

Don’t run to social media for every advice. Family members, neighbors and professional have valuable life experience, know your child and your situation, and can offer suggestions in a loving, supportive environment. The Internet is great for fact checking the dates of the Crimean War, but has little place in life affirming decisions.

Stop posting every little thing on Facebook. Do you really think anyone wants to see sixteen pictures of your child walking in the park carrying a balloon?

Put down those cell phones. Stop texting your friends and pay attention to the people who are in front of you. Be present.

Your child is a kid, not a mini adult. Don’t give away your power to children who are emotionally ill-equipped to handle the burden of their own lives. That’s your job.

In every healthy relationship, there’s room for one adult and one child. A child without a strong parental influence grows up insecure and resentful. Notice, I did not say an overbearing influence, I said strong. You be the adult. Let your child be the kid.

Trust yourself. Relax and enjoy your children. Parenting is not an Olympic sport.

You don’t need to seek constant outside approval. Set your goals. Follow your life’s path. Constantly seeking outside approval can only lead to confusion and disappointment. Leave your middle school self in the past.

Please let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week’s blog post – Earth Day Kudos

© 2016 All rights reserved

Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

January 2021
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