My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The publisher's blurb says this book is "Funny, humane, touching, sly and sympathetic, HOW IT ALL BEGAN is a brilliant sleight of hand from an author at the top of her game." Which I think is overstating the thing quite a bit. This is a charming novel about the way we are interconnected and how one event can ripple out to change the lives of seemingly unconnected people. I thought the characters were appealing enough to want to know how things turned out for them and Lively's philosophical musings on mothers and daughters and on reading (mostly through the character of Charlotte who'se mugging starts the chain of events) were insightful.
"Forever, reading has been central, the necessary fix, the support system. Her life has been influenced by reading. She has read, not just for distraction, sustenance, to pass the time, but she has read in a state of primal innocence, reading for enlightenment, for instruction, even. She has read to find out how sex works, how babies are born, she has read to discover what it is to be good, or bad; she has read to find out if things are the same for others as they are for her--then, discovering that frequently they are not, she has read to find out what it is that other people experience that she is missing."