Everything’s Still There by Kalyn Fogarty is a well-narrated story of an unlikely friendship between two women, Brynn and Joyce. I listened to an audiobook narrated by Mia Hutchinson-Shaw and Bernadette Dunne. They have done a marvellous job of bringing the characters to life.
Brynn, a new mother, is struggling emotionally and physically after the birth of her son, Cody. The reality of her situation is significantly different from what she had imagined. A perfectionist by nature and a party planner by profession, she cannot accept the way she is losing control over her life. It breaks her heart to know that she is unlike those Instagram influencer moms who are always posting perfect pictures. Her husband fails to notice her signs and believes (or rather prefers to believe) the stories Brynn shares about her new friendship with other moms.
One early morning, Brynn notices a flash of light coming from her neighbour’s home. Intrigued, she drops in for a visit, unannounced. Joy, her neighbour, an 80+ woman, welcomes her not into her home, but into her life too. Thus begins an unlikely and heart-warming friendship between two women that helps them both equally.
The two characters are as opposite as one can be, and yet, they share common traits defined by womanhood and motherhood. The way they grow through the pages makes them endearing and unforgettable.
Fogarty’s writing is honest to the core.
Any woman who has faced post-partum depression will be able to identify with Brynn’s character a lot. Brynn’s breastfeeding journey, her latching problems, difficulty accepting her changed physique, disinterest in physical intimacy, disconnect with friends, mom’s guilt, and even envy are depicted with utmost honesty. Joy’s loneliness, wisdom, and guilt are hard to miss. Her regret at her soured relationship with her children is heartbreaking.
While Brynn’s actions, thoughts, and behaviour might feel repetitive and toxic, as someone who suffered from PPD, I know it’s portrayed authentically.
I loved the dual timelines and the flashbacks.
Fogarty has given equal space to both narrators to share their stories. She has handled postpartum depression, loneliness, isolation, mother’s guilt, loss of loved ones, and the shift in timeliness expertly.
Everything’s Still There is a beautiful and honest story of motherhood and friendship. The happy ending makes the story all the more wonderful. Highly recommended!
Wordsopedia Rating 4.45/5
|Title: Everything’s Still There
|Author: Kalyn Fogarty
|Publisher: Dreamscape Media
|Publication date: September 14, 2023
|No. of Hours: 11 hours 51 minutes
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