Sunday, June 5, 2016

My take on: All of Us and Everything

    "I have to go back," he said. "I'll always feel hunted so I have to be allowed to hunt"
   "I'm willing to take risks to be a family." She wasn't sure, though. She didn't know what she was trying to sign on for.
   "Some people love a storm and some fear it," he said. "And some people love it because they fear it."
   "What's that mean?"
  "I can't let you all get swallowed by a storm." --Pg. 208

Augusta Rockwell has always been in love with Nick Flemming. But being in love with a spy comes at a price. At some point the safety of their daughters, Esme, Liv, and Ru, became more important than Augusta and Nick's relationship. Slowly, Nick disappears from their lives until he's gone for good. Soon he's nothing more than a figment of their imaginations. Augusta's wild stories about Nick lead her daughters to believe that their father is nothing but a myth. But a real-life storm is brewing -- Hurricane Sandy. The deadly storm unearths long-buried family secrets. The Rockwells will have no choice but to face their past, present, and future in All of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher.

This is a story of a slightly crazy and very quirky family. It all starts with Augusta. My initial impression, Augusta wouldn't know the difference between the truth and a lie unless it slapped her in the face. She starts different social and political movements at the drop of a hat. The "Statements of Personal Honesty" movement was one of my favorites. As the book progresses, it's clear Augusta's lies was her way of protecting Esme, Liv, and Ru. Portray Nick as everything under the sun, except as a loving father, and maybe the girls won't want him in their lives anyway.

But Esme, Liv, and Ru do need Nick, they just don't know it.

Esme's marriage has failed. Her daughter, Atty, has been expelled from school. Esme has always believed she should be living a different life. She loves being a mother, but what if there was a different future out there for her. Liv collects rich husbands, like people collect stamps. She's also a big believer of using prescription pills instead of therapy. The end of each marriage results in a rehab stint and....the hunt for the next husband. Ru spends more time running from her life and family, than dealing with reality. She's a bestselling author, writing a book that borrowed many details from Liv's life. Of course, that doesn't go over well with Liv.

How does Nick fit into all of this? The girls barely remember him. They're adults now. What's his role in their life? He's the missing piece to all of their problems. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, a box filled with long-lost letters reveals Nick has been a part of their lives for decades. They didn't know he was around but he was always in the shadows. He was there for important milestones, like recitals and graduations. He was there for the heartbreaks, too. He has influenced their lives in more ways than one.

I'm always a sucker for family dramas. This one has its moments. The best part? A family road trip that turned into a comedy of errors. What family hasn't fought over who gets to sit where in the car? And....who gets to drive? Re-entering his daughter's lives proofs more nerve-wracking and dangerous than a spy mission overseas. Overall, this one missed the mark -- just a little -- for me. I love quirky families, but this family felt a little bland for me. They're weird just for the sake of being weird (if that makes sense). There doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason for the way they act. I don't say this often, but I think this book should have been longer. It needed just a little more character development and it would have been a home run!

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Penguin RandomHouse). All of Us and Everything is one of the Spring selections for She Reads.

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