Friday, December 9, 2022

Book Review: Everything Must Go

By Melissa Amster

Laine Francis believes there’s a place for everything—and New York, where her family lives, isn’t her place. But no sooner does the professional organizer’s marriage begin to unravel than her sisters drop another bomb on her: their mother, Sally, may have dementia, and they need Laine to come home.

Laine agrees to briefly return to Brooklyn. After all, bringing order to chaos is what she does best. To Laine’s relief, Sally seems no more absentminded than usual. So Laine vows to help her mother maintain her independence, then hightail it back to Michigan.

Except Laine’s plans go awry when she runs into her former best friend, Ben, and realizes she finally has a chance to repair their fractured relationship. Then she discovers that memory loss isn’t the only thing Sally’s been hiding, forcing Laine to decide whether to reveal a devastating truth to her sisters—and whether to follow her heart when it means breaking her mother’s. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I have enjoyed Camille Pagán's novels over the past few years and Everything Must Go is no exception to that. It's so warm and genuine and I loved the family dynamics throughout the story. Laine is such an interesting and complex character. Her situation was easily relatable, as I also live in a different part of the country than my parents and sister and it sets a different dynamic. I could also understand why she felt torn about her marriage, even though I can't relate on that aspect, thankfully. Laine had a lot of decisions to make and some of them involved giving into everyone else's needs even if that didn't feel right for her. 

I really liked the parts involving Ben and it was so interesting to backtrack to the start of their friendship and also see how things unraveled. I kept hoping for something good to come of their reunion as I really liked their connection. 

The descriptions and dialogue in this novel are great and really move the story along at a nice pace. I could easily visualize everything without feeling like it took away from the narrative at all.

The only thing that didn't work for me was that I felt like Sally's secret was anticlimactic. There are actually two revelations and one of them is more startling for sure. The one revealed later on is the one that just didn't feel earth-shattering or anything. 

Overall, this novel is worth checking out and I think you will enjoy spending time with the Francis family, just like I did! 

Movie casting suggestions:
Laine: Mila Kunis
Josh: Rene Gube
Ben: Leslie Odom Jr.
Piper: Marie Avgeropoulos
Hadley: Minka Kelly
Sally: Kathy Baker

Thanks to Lake Union for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Camille Pagán:

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