The Weekly Concerns, No. 4 (Mrs. Everything, The Overdue Life of Amy Byer and Where'd You Go, Bernadette)

At the end of a particularly stuck-in-my-head week, here are some words from books I’ve read recently that I hope will make you want to read them, too.

Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner

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“You’re doing the best you can,” Jo would tell her, over and over, and refrain from pointing out that Matt never seemed to torment himself when he was golfing the first time Flora rode her bike on her own, or reading the paper during Leonie’s first successful dive into the deep end.”

“Women had made progress- Jo only had to look as far as the television set to see it- but she wondered whether they would ever not try to have it all and do it all and do it all flawlessly. Would the day ever come when simply doing your best would be enough? Her generation hadn’t managed it, and neither had her daughters. Maybe Flora and Leonie and their classmates and cousins would be the lucky ones.”

“So you made a mistake.” Jo wanted to tell Melissa more. She wished she’d spent more time teaching her girls that women should forgive themselves, showing them how to take care of themselves with kindness. The world was hard enough, would beat them up enough without them adding to the pain.”

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, by Kelly Harms

“Like most good-looking things, my house is high maintenance. My house makes it so I never, ever have any extra money. If my house starts to notice I’ve been squirreling away a hundred dollars here or there to try to get my kids to a national park for a week, the house breaks something. I think it has abandonment issues.”

Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

“We entered a tunnel. The guide standing in the front of the bus got on the PA system and started rhapsodizing about when the tunnel was built, who won the contract to build it, how long it took, which president approved it, how many cars go through it every day, etc. I kept waiting for him to reveal its greatness, like maybe it was self-cleaning, or made out of recycled bottles. Nope, it was just a tunnel. Still, you couldn’t help but feel happy for the guide, that if things ever got really bad, he’d always have the tunnel.”