A remarkable debut that has been called a hybrid of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season, The Center of Everything is the fictional story of 10-year-old math prodigy Evelyn Bucknow. Living in Kansas with her single mother and deeply religious grandmother, Evelyn believes she is destined to marry Travis, the boy next door. But as she grows up, she experiences the heartbreak of a love not meant to be. Author Laura Moriarty was a recipient of the George Bennet Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy.
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A terrific coming-of-age novel
I read this book when I was about the same age as Evelyn at the end. I found I could relate to Evelyn in particular, and (at the time) I couldn't wrap my head around her mother and grandother. Fast-forward more than ten years and a ton of life experience, I understand many of the secondary characters more than I did before. I loved this book 10 years ago, for its look at growing up in middle America; I LOVE it now for its complex and flawed characters and its look at opportunities, hard knocks, and making choices.
Julie Dretzin was a terrific choice of narrator for this book. Her voice is young and emotive, and her cast of characters was wonderful!
Evelyn, of course. She grows up so much in this book, and would grow up more in further pages. But besides her... probably Tina. She is tough, resilient, and wants to do her best for her children, even as she juggles the need to work and provide for two children of vastly different ages with vastly different needs.
This book is a wonderful complex look at friendship, family and middle America. It's a character-driven novel, for sure, almost in a stream-of-consciousness style. Normally, this would drive me crazy, but Moriarty pulls this off - with its layers of determination and regret and choices and consequences - incredibly well.
Well-written, well-read, well worth the time!
not religious fiction
no on moriarty
never could figure out the motivation behind some character actions
it was very depressing and used quite a bit of cursing. thus dulling my appreciation
why was this book listed under religious fiction?
- Theresa Jameson