Katrina Onstad on her novel Everybody Has Everything

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First aired on Metro Morning (7/6/12)


Imagine for a moment that you're in your early 40s, with a promising career, comfortably enjoying urban life with your partner, but no kids. Then one day, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy arrives and you find yourself thrust into parenthood. What happens next is the story told in Katrina Onstad's newest novel Everybody Has Everything.

Onstad felt compelled to write this story because, after having two children one after the other, she felt thrust into the role of "being modern urban parents" and wasn't quite sure how to handle it. "I could see the absurdity of the consumption and competitiveness of being a modern parent," she told Metro Morning's Matt Galloway. When you become a parent, your whole world changes and how to interact with the city you live in changes, she explained. "The city does start to change as we change, and it reveals itself in different ways. Some of those ways are really comforting."

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Onstad was also intrigued by how much biology plays into embodying being a parent. The couple at the center of Everybody has Everything are childless "not-quite-by-choice," so Onstad wanted to explore what it would take for them to love this child as their own — and whether they even had that capability. "Is that a function of biology?" she asked. "Or can you have a family that's about emotional bonds instead of biological ones?"

Finally, Onstad wanted to explore the "taboo about not having children at a certain age." Even today, Onstad believes there are pressures and expectations placed upon women to become mothers. And when, for whatever reason, women do not become mothers, their choices are questioned and challenged. "I want to look at that idea of [motherhood being a choice]," Onstad explained. "How can you examine the role that everyone is expecting you to take on?"






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