The Center of Everything

Narrated by: Julie Dretzin
Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A remarkable debut that has been called a hybrid of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season, The Center of Everything is the fictional story of 10-year-old math prodigy Evelyn Bucknow. Living in Kansas with her single mother and deeply religious grandmother, Evelyn believes she is destined to marry Travis, the boy next door. But as she grows up, she experiences the heartbreak of a love not meant to be. Author Laura Moriarty was a recipient of the George Bennet Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy.

©2003 Laura Moriarty (P)2003 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Center of Everything

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A terrific coming-of-age novel

What made the experience of listening to The Center of Everything the most enjoyable?

I read this book when I was about the same age as Evelyn at the end. I found I could relate to Evelyn in particular, and (at the time) I couldn't wrap my head around her mother and grandother. Fast-forward more than ten years and a ton of life experience, I understand many of the secondary characters more than I did before. I loved this book 10 years ago, for its look at growing up in middle America; I LOVE it now for its complex and flawed characters and its look at opportunities, hard knocks, and making choices.

Which character – as performed by Julie Dretzin – was your favorite?

Julie Dretzin was a terrific choice of narrator for this book. Her voice is young and emotive, and her cast of characters was wonderful!

If you could take any character from The Center of Everything out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Evelyn, of course. She grows up so much in this book, and would grow up more in further pages. But besides her... probably Tina. She is tough, resilient, and wants to do her best for her children, even as she juggles the need to work and provide for two children of vastly different ages with vastly different needs.

Any additional comments?

This book is a wonderful complex look at friendship, family and middle America. It's a character-driven novel, for sure, almost in a stream-of-consciousness style. Normally, this would drive me crazy, but Moriarty pulls this off - with its layers of determination and regret and choices and consequences - incredibly well.

Well-written, well-read, well worth the time!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique and lovely

The magic of this story caught me by surprise, a coming of age story about a child of the 80’s, only a bit younger than myself, there were plenty of moments of nostalgia for me. The narration is SUPERB. I gave 4stars for the ending which I didn’t love.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great...until the non end.

Very good read. Very interesting and captivating....until it literally just stopped. I can't even say it "ended", it just stopped. So many things were just starting and nothing was resolved. Very disappointed.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

What the heck

The store ended right in the middle of nothing. Nothing resolved. We don’t find out what happens to anyone.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It's real. And sad.

When I say, "It's real," what I mean is that this book seems like it can almost be a true account of someone's life. The characters are relatable, the events seem probable, and the emotions seem logical for given situations. The cover of the book in my kindle is a girl smiling in the grass. There is a scene that takes place in the grass in the book... but the girl in that scene is definitely not smiling. It's so real, and so very melancholy. The reader is left perpetually feeling sad for EVERY SINGLE MAIN CHARACTER. Without exception. Every character seems like they are living out some form of tragedy that's all their own. I guess that's the case with real life as well. If you're looking to read a book as a form of happy escapism, this is not for you. It's real. It's sad. And it will make you feel bad due to the unfairness each character faces throughout the work. I'm just saying the highs weren't very high, and the lows were SUPER low. It's worth the read, but the story rarely made me happy. That's why I gave it four stars. I would still recommend it though. The writing was superb. And Moriarty is clearly a master at the craft. I regret feeling the need to take off a star because how the work made me feel, but there it is.

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not religious fiction

Would you try another book from Laura Moriarty and/or Julie Dretzin?

no on moriarty

What do you think your next listen will be?

tracie peterson

Did Julie Dretzin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

never could figure out the motivation behind some character actions

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

it was very depressing and used quite a bit of cursing. thus dulling my appreciation

Any additional comments?

why was this book listed under religious fiction?

1 person found this helpful