Laura Moriarty’s The Center of Everything is a beautiful, bittersweet coming-of-age first novel, gritty in its particularity, insightful in its universality, pungent in its humanity, rich with perception, funny, sad and true.
The story of Evelyn Bucknow, growing up under substantial adversity, but with considerable perspicacity, in Kerrville, Kansas — the “middle of nowhere” yet “the center of everything.”
For me, it is especially poignant to have read Ms. Moriarty’s book thousands of miles from “the center of everything” in my daughter’s third floor (for the Germans — we would say fourth floor) apartment on Graunstrasse in the Wedding district of Berlin, then to have stepped out onto her balcony in the early morning hours to observe, as young Evelyn would have done from the roof of her little apartment in the Treeline Colonies, Orion rising once more in incessant circumnavigation of the earth in vain pursuit of the Pleiades seven sisters.
The Center of Everything is just the novel to help you understand anew the beautiful fragility, random tragedy, and ineffable wonder that is life. Do read it.
(The Center of Everything is the first book in our four-part book discussion series “Literature with Kansas Connections,” sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council. On Monday, October 6th at 7 pm, McPherson College’s Kim Stanley will discuss the book. You still have plenty of time to stop by the Haysville Community Library and check out your copy.)