Cover image for The center of everything
The center of everything
Moriarty, Laura, 1970-
Personal Author:
Unabridged, [Library edition].
Publication Information:
[United States] : Recorded Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
11 audio discs (13.25 hrs.) : analog ; 4 3/4 in.
This is the story of a 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.
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Compact disc.
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Audiobook on CD


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The Center of Everything.

Author Notes

Laura Moriarty was born in 1970 in Honolulu, HI. She attended the University of Kansas to earn her degree in social work and later her M.A. in Creative Writing. She went on to be awarded the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She soon became a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. It was then that she started her writing career. Her title's include: While I'm Falling, The Rest of Her Life, The Center of Everything, and The Chaperone.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Moriarty's debut novel is the story of Evelyn Bucknow, who comes of age in a small Kansas town. Evelyn is 10 when the novel opens, an observer of the silent struggle between Tina, her wayward young mother, and Eileen, her quiet, religious grandmother. Proud Tina cannot bear to humble herself to ask for help--not from her stern father, her married lover, or even the welfare office, after she finds herself pregnant again. After the baby is born severely retarded, Evelyn and her mother grow further and further apart. Evelyn is falling in love with her neighbor Travis, a troublemaker a year older than she is, who has become her friend. When he in turn falls for beautiful Deena, Evelyn is crushed. Though Evelyn appears to be a mere observer of the tumultuous lives of her friends and family, it is she who will achieve her dreams with quiet determination. 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 Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

For 10-year-old Evelyn Bucknow, there really is no place like home. On all the world maps she's ever seen, the United States has been smack dab in the middle, with Kansas in the middle of that. "I feel so lucky to live here, right in the center," she proclaims, in Moriarty's wonderfully down-to-earth debut. Dazzled by visions of Ronald Reagan on the television, the twinkle in his eye and his contention that "God put America between two oceans on purpose," Evelyn's youthful optimism is shaken by her young single mother Tina's inability to take control of her life. As Tina falls for her married boss, who gives her a car (his contribution to the trickle-down theory) but leaves her pregnant and shattered, Evelyn grows closer to her neighbor, a curly-haired scamp named Travis (who has eyes only for Evelyn's stunning friend, Deena) and her Bible-thumping grandmother, a regular listener to Jerry Falwell's radio show. As a teenager, she is influenced by a couple of liberal-minded teachers, one an emigre from New York and the other an introverted biology instructor intent on teaching evolution, but she never cuts her family ties. With renewed faith in her scatterbrained but endearing mother and with college on the horizon, she begins to find her place in the social and political spectrum and to appreciate the vastness of a world that just might extend beyond the Sunflower State. 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. BOMC and Literary Guild main selection; author tour. (July 2) Forecast: First novels are usually a hard sell, but this one has already been chosen as a BOMC and Literary Guild main selection; backed by major ad promo, Moriarity's debut should see robust numbers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Evelyn Bucknow's world has been quite small up till now. She and her mother live in Treeline Colonies, a collection of cramped apartments teetering on the edge of a highway in the middle of Kansas. Her grandmother visits every week, smelling of cigarettes and bearing gifts, including stories about God and Wichita, where she lives with her husband, the grandfather Evelyn has never met and the father her mother no longer speaks to. But she is getting older, and luckily she takes the reader along as she enters a widening world of new friends, cruel enemies, fresh pain, and Travis Rowley, "thief, breaker of locks, my own dark avenger and first true love." This world is a place of hard knocks and little self-pity, especially for the charming and prescient Evelyn. Moriarty builds an addictive and moving portrait of this poor, Midwestern girl in the Eighties, reminiscent of Dolores in Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone, 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. Essential for fiction collections.-Rachel Collins, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Evelyn Bucknow, 10 years old at the start of this novel, lives with her single mother. Struggling to make ends meet, Tina is a loving, if sometimes absentminded, parent. Won over by the seemingly kind attention of her married boss, she has an affair that leaves her pregnant and in dire financial straits when she is fired from her job. Evelyn narrates the story, and readers witness her growing maturity in the face of circumstances that are beyond her control. With dawning awareness and increasing resentment, she sees that her mother's poor choices are creating havoc in their lives. Evelyn is determined to avoid the same mistakes and use her intelligence to get out of the cycle of poverty that is so much a part of her youth. YAs will enjoy this engrossing novel and connect to the authentic and changing voice Moriarity gives Evelyn as she grows into adulthood. Her thoughts and feelings ring true to the angst and insecurity that are often associated with adolescence. Readers, along with the protagonist, feel sympathy and understanding for human failings.-Julie Dasso, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.