"Everybody Has Everything" by Katrina Onstad

What happens when two people become parents in an instant?  Ana and James are about to find out.  

When a car crash kills their friend Marcus and leaves his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James instantly become legal guardians of their son, two year old Finn.  While all four were friends, Ana and James never thought they were close enough to be given such a monumental role and they are shocked as they are thrown into parenthood.  Though they had once tried for a child of their own it wasn't meant to be.  While they considered adoption, they settled into a life without children as they contemplated what to do next.  

When Ana and James' lives are turned upside down by the sudden arrival of Finn, they discover the truth about themselves and the notion that not everyone may cut out to be a parent.

Everyone Has Everything by Katrina Onstad is a smart, deeply poignant novel that tackles the tough subject of parenthood and the taboo notion that not everyone wants to, or can, be a parent.  It's a touching novel about a haunting subject.

Raising a two year old is a tough job, especially when you become a parent to a two year old in a matter of hours.  Ana and James struggle to support Finn in a difficult time while integrating him into their busy lives, ones that aren't quite conducive to the situation.  They are forced to examine who they are, how they got to where they are and whether or not they are the right parents for Finn, or any child.  And they are forced to confront the effect parenthood is having on their marriage.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Which is strange to say given the nature of the novel and how the tragedy of the orphaning of Finn stays with you through every page.  It is such a heartbreaking situation.  However, that's not really the subject matter of the book.  Finn is a strong and capable boy who is comfortable with his new life, even though he may not understand much of it.  Instead the book is about Ana and James in their role as parents, something they thought they wanted but only find out the truth when they are confronted with it.

It's a touchy subject in our society today.  A lot of people find it difficult to admit that they do not want to be parents or are not cut out to be parents.  A lot of people feel pressure to have children even when they are not sure of it.  And a lot of people struggle to have children.  Parenthood isn't a once size fits all thing.  And it can often take a toll on people's lives and relationships.  Katrina Onstad does a fabulous job of putting all of this into novel form and it makes for a page-turning read.

I received this book courtesy of Random House of Canada.  The opinions expressed above are purely my own.


  1. Sounds like a very interesting book! I shall seek it out.

  2. I think you would really enjoy it Claire!

  3. Sounds great - adding it to my wishlist!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  4. This sounds like a powerful book. The very idea of this happening is heartbreaking, and as a mom who shamefully admits that she isn't entirely sure she likes being a parent, it's good to see this in literature. Being faced with the idea that every parent either loves being a parent, or is a horrible parent who shouldn't have kids, it's refreshing and validating to see a different viewpoint that does exist in real life. This will be definitely going on my wishlist.


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