Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Center of Everything

Laura Moriarty's first novel, The Center of Everything is a nicely done debut novel. Originally published in 2003, my paperback copy has 335 pages. The Center of Everything follows Evelyn Bucknow from a 10 year old fourth grader living in an apartment in Kerrville, Kansas with her single, chronically unemployed mother to an 18 yr. old high school senior preparing to attend college. Moriarty gives voice to Evelyn's thoughts as she tries to make sense of the world around her and find her place in it. This isn't an earth shattering kind of novel with lots of plot twists and action. It's more of a simple story of down-on their-luck small town life. Moriarty has Evelyn's voice mature as she ages and I felt her characters were well developed. I did have a few reservations on how Evelyn's Evangelical grandmother was portrayed, but, all things considered, I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading Moriarty's next novel. Rating: 3.95 (I'm not quite willing to give it a 4, but it's darn close to being highly recommended.)


"My mother is maybe the opposite of Nancy Reagan. I could never imagine her wearing the peach dress with the bow on it because she wears blue jeans and usually her gray sweatshirt." pg. 1

"Last week, she went to the library and checked out a stack of books, and now she falls asleep while she is reading. She is still on the first one, The Grapes of Wrath, and she says it isn't nearly as bad as it was when she had to read it in high school, but of course, then she was busy getting pregnant. She had all the wrath she needed, haha." pg. 13

"Eileen says you can make sick people better by praying for them. But I don't know if it works the other way." pg. 47

" 'You've been given a little gift.' She points to the place where her hair touches the edge of her glasses. 'Right here.... People who don't have this gift often don't understand how important it is to nurture it, help it grow.' " pg. 67

"She says this is really the only reason people are ever mean - they have something hurting inside of them, a claw of unhappiness scratching at their hearts, and it hurts them so much that they sometimes have to push it right out of their mouths to scratch someone else, just to give themselves a rest, a moment of relief." pg. 70

"She said she wanted us to see Kansas and Nebraska the way it is in the book, beautiful, a breadbasket that feeds so many people. She said that Kansas is beautiful if you look at it the right way, and that we shouldn't believe anything other people try to say about it." pg. 98

"I don't say anything, but in my head, things have changed. I've have drawn a line between us, the difference between her and me." pg. 116

"And Jesus, I understand, is nicer than God, a little less likely to kill you if you do something wrong." pg. 120

"The Day After is going to be on television in November. It's about nuclear war. The people who made the movie picked Kansas because we're in the middle, and that way it would scare the most people... The commercial for The Day After shows... A man keeps saying 'This is Lawrence, Kansas. Over. Is anyone there?' " pg. 139

"When she sees the church is also a roller skating rink, she starts laughing. She says the Second Ark might be more successful if they let everyone bring their skates." pg. 143

"I know that sometimes when you are really worried about something, it ends up being not nearly as bad as you think it will be, and you get to be relieved that you were just being silly, worrying so much over nothing. But sometimes it is just the opposite. It can happen that whatever you are worried about will be even worse than you could have possibly imagined, and you will find out that you were right to be worried, and even that, maybe, you weren't worried enough." pg. 230

1 comment:

bookinhand said...

You sold me on this one! (I just ordered it from PaperbackSwap.) Nice review! I really enjoyed the selection of quotes.
That is one of the best things about reading blogs... finding book recommendations from other book lovers.
Thanks! Diane