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Monday, June 24, 2013

Love All: A Novel

Dysfunctional families are right up my alley, so I jumped on Callie Wright's Love All ASAP.

Anne never expected that her mother would pass before her father, but that is exactly what happens when she suddenly finds herself moving her father into her home. Anne's marriage with Hugh is already rocky and her teenage children are going through their own growing pains. Underneath all of this lies a book from their small town's past that holds the dirty little secrets of the town--infidelities, unhappiness, and family drama, warts and all. Can one family explore what it means to have three generations living together, and and can they become a functioning family?

I love families that are depicted as real and dysfunctional, because in real-life I have yet to meet a family that doesn't have at least one crazy family member or a dark horse hiding somewhere. The Obermeyer family is just that, and Wright portrays them as they are with no sugar coating allowed. The story is told from several different perspectives, each of which is different yet each of which matches up with the other. It's intriguing, and it kept me turning the page.

My favorite character was Hugh, Anne's husband and proprietor of the local preschool. I found him to be the most raw and conflicted of the characters (yes, even more so than his children!) because as an adult, he was making poor choices, realizing these choices, yet still pushing forward to make his family work regardless of his bad (or is is good???) behavior. Wright's portrayal of a real-life marriage felt a bit like salt in a wound; being a grown-up with responsibilities to others outside of yourself is a fact of growing up and having a family--but that doesn't mean it's ever easy.

Kindle copy on left, hard copy on right.

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