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The Center of Everythingby Laura Moriarty
"Ordinarily, I would rather live in a small Midwestern town with love or loss than read a novel about a 10-year-old girl doing so, but Moriarty pulls it off. The secret to her success is a pitch-perfect voice and unfailing restraint. She's so good at portraying the charming mixture of egotism and insecurity, humility and grandiosity that marks adolescence....By listening closely to the innocence and perception of adolescence, she's invented a moral geometry that allows her to skewer and cherish simultaneously. There's no cheating in this novel, no phony breakthrough, or precious reconciliation, just a sweet, often comic series of tender moments spun from real-life battles and moments of kindness among unsorted laundry." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
Now in paperback, Laura Moriarty's breakthrough novel of growing up and growing wise.
Critics and readers everywhere stood up and took notice when Laura Moriarty's captivating debut novel hit the stores in June '03. Janet Maslin of the New York Times praised The Center of Everything as "warm" and "beguiling." USA Today compared the scrappy yet tenderhearted Evelyn Bucknow to Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. It garnered extensive national attention; from Entertainment Weekly to the Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle, the press raved about the wisdom and poignancy of Moriarty's writing. The Book-of-the-Month Club snatched it up as a Main Selection, as did the Literary Guild. It was a USA Today Summer Reading Pick, a BookSense Top 10 Pick, and a BN.com book club feature title. And still, months after The Center of Everything's original publication date, reviews and features of the book continue to run nationwide.
With a reading group guide bound into the book and a stellar hardcover publication behind it, the paperback edition of The Center of Everything is poised to explode onto the scene again, and Evelyn Bucknow is ready to steal more hearts than ever.
"Ms. Moriarty's artful, enveloping book is a lot more interesting than its genre initially suggests....A warm, beguiling book full of hard-won wisdom." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Everything is a winning first novel that perfectly captures the pain of adolescence and dysfunction, and delivers it with a wry grin. (Grade: A-)" Allyssa Lee, Entertainment Weekly
"Realistic and familiar as a summer day in Kansas — brave and gritty, strong voiced and spare." O Magazine
"[A] wonderfully down-to-earth debut....Moriarty deftly treads the line between adolescence and adulthood, and insecurity and self-assurance, offering a moving portrait of life in blue-collar middle America." Publishers Weekly
"Evelyn is an intriguing, thoughtful narrator, and this novel is a truly exceptional coming-of-age story, perfect for readers of all ages." Kristine Huntley, Booklist
"A pleasantly wry, spunky debut....Among the plethora of first novels tracking preteen daughters of sorry single mothers, Moriarty's gutsy opener is hard not to like." Kirkus Reviews
"Moriarty builds an addictive and moving portrait of this poor, Midwestern girl in the Eighties...so well realized that one forgets it is fiction and so infectious that one never wants to put it down, even after turning to the last page." Library Journal
"Moriarty's enchanting novel passes too quickly." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Graceful and poignant." Chicago Tribune
"Intelligent and charming debut novel." Elle Magazine
"This impressive debut is a marvelously satisfying story....Moriarty eschews tough questions...competing loves and loyalties of adolescence." Christina Schwarz, author of Drowning Ruth
"The Center of Everything reminds the reader of the full spectrum of youthful experience in all its beauty, anger, and pain...lively and endearing." Robin Vidimos, Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News
"Deadpan and dead on, this funny, moving portrait reads like To Kill a Mockingbird updated for our time." Mark Costello, author of Big If
Now in paperback, this is Moriarty's breakthrough novel of growing up and growing wise.
Offering an affecting portrayal of a troubled mother/daughter relationship, one in which the daughter is very often expected to play the role of the adult, the novel also gives readers a searing rendering of the claustrophobia of small town midwestern life, as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl. Evelyn must come to terms with the heartbreaking lesson of first love — that not all loves are meant to be — and determine who she is and who she wants to be. Stuck in the middle of Kansas, between best friends, and in the midst of her mother's love, Evelyn finds herself...in The Center of Everything.
"A warm, beguiling book full of hard-won wisdom."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"The Center of Everything is as realistic and familiar as a summer day in Kansas--brave and gritty, strong voiced and spare."--O, The Oprah Magazine
Set in Kerrville, Kansas, The Center of Everything is told by Evelyn Bucknow, an endearing character with a wholly refreshing way of looking at the world. Living with her single mother in a small apartment, Evelyn Bucknow is a young girl wincing her way through adolescence. With a voice that is as charming as it is recognizable, Evelyn immerses the reader in the dramas of an entire community. The people of Kerrville, stuck at once in the middle of nowhere but also at the center of everything, are the source from which Moriarty draws on universal dilemmas of love and belief to render a story that grows in emotional intensity until it lifts the reader to heights achieved only by the finest of fiction.
About the Author
Laura Moriarty received her master's degree from the University of Kansas and was awarded the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy. She is the author of The Center of Everything. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
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