Book Club Queen

Love and Biology at the
Center of the Universe

Free Book Reviews

by Queenie D

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge

Free Book Reviews: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe

"Maybe sometimes, some things-good as well as bad-were better kept to one's self, even between husband and wife."
~ Mira Serafino

At forty-five, Mira Serafino has a perfect life. She is one half of a loving, lasting marriage. She has a daughter who, though not without problems, is finding the right path to becoming an adult. She has a father for whom she will always be his only girl. She has the important and revered job of shaping young minds into intelligent adults. She even finally has her dream kitchen after years of scraping together enough money to fully renovate her beautiful beach home.

So on New Years Eve when she finds out her husband has befriended another women and isn't sure where their marriage stands any more, Mira is more than startled. As a matter of fact, after less than 24 hours with this news she finds herself driving away from the town she's called home all her life, away from her friends and family, away from the confusion of not having the life she thought she did.

When her car breaks down in Seattle, Mira decides it's as good a place as any to start over. With a new haircut, a few new essential clothing items, and a new job she begins to reinvent herself. Or really, to accept the girl she was underneath all the pressure of being perfect as a child, to accept the woman she became but kept hidden even from her husband, and to accept the woman she is now who decides she has lived enough to just be whoever she wants to be.

A few very emotional months follow during which Mira's idea of perfection is totally changed as are her relationships with every person she holds dear. The end result will be a new life that doesn't fit neatly inside her old one. Mira has to make some choices about who she is, where she came from, and most importantly - where she's going.

And it's all happening at The Center of the Universe...

Free Book Reviews: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe Opinion

Just by looking at the cover I could tell this book was going to be a perfect book club read.

And it was. It's emotional, thought-provoking, saddening, and uplifting. Jennie Shortridge really gets to the heart of what causes a marriage to go bad, even when the two people involved aren't bad people. All of the characters are trying to find their way and all feeling really lonely as if they have nobody to lean on. Funny thing is, if they'd just open up their eyes a little wider, they'd realize they are SO not alone!

What really touched me about Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is that the main character, Mira, is far from perfect but spends a lifetime trying to repress who she really is. I am positive we all know someone, could be that someone, that is living like this. It's not necessarily living a lie because she loves her husband, her daughter, her family, and even parts of her life. But she's almost sleepwalking through the motions because underneath it all is a vibrant, exciting, passionate woman trying to escape. Because of the nature of her family, she has done her darndest to make sure that "bad Mira" never shows her face.

I often wonder how and why marriages that start off so wonderfully, with such love end up falling apart. I thought this novel was a beautiful explanation of how far apart two people who love each other can grow and how hard it can be to find your way back to that person again, if ever. Even though I cried through a large majority of the book, I still felt hopeful after finishing it. I felt like the lesson in becoming oneself and allowing another person to love you for that self was so perfectly written that anyone in Mira's situation could find their way to happiness.

The secondary, underlying theme of how a parent's actions deeply affect their children and the adults they become was artfully interwoven throughout each character's story. From Mira and Thea, to Al and Fonso, to Nona and Al, and even Lannie and Trevor - the children really are products of their environments.

The potential for book club discussion is endless and I strongly recommend you give Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe a chance to touch your heart as it did mine.

Free Book Reviews: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe Discussion Questions

  1. Mira often says "the sins of the mother" almost as a penance for somehow raising an imperfect child. Should she feel responsible for the way Thea turned out?
  2. Is Mira's whole life built around denial?
  3. Do you feel sorry for Parker at any time in the book? Why or why not?

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Jennie Shortridge
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AUTHOR(S): Jennie Shortridge





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