Don’t let the Oprah.com quote on the front of Love All discourage you from giving it a try.
Love All opens with the death of Joanie Cole. Joanie leaves behind her 86 year old husband, Bob, and her daughter, Anne, who have a tumultuous relationship following a scandal in 1962 regarding the publication of The Sex Cure.
The Sex Cure was written by a local writer and used real neighbor’s affairs as it’s subject matter which caused a rift in the marriage of Joanie and Bob Cole, even though they were never explicitly mentioned. Anne read and re-read the forbidden book before finally acting out over its contents. The flashbacks to 1962 and The Sex Cure is the least interesting part of the whole book.
It is now 1994; Anne has since married Hugh Obermeyer and they have two children together: Teddy and Julia. Everyone has a secret and narration switches between family members are their stories overlap throughout the novel. Like her parents before her, Anne’s marriage is in trouble and her father’s moving in only exacerbates the situation; and Hugh’s affair may have ramifications beyond his marriage. Their children have their own problems. Julia’s unrequited crush on her best friend and her lack of confidence that leaves her on the sidelines of the tennis team. And Teddy, an all star pitcher who is nervous about the next step in school and his relationships.
All the action takes place during a few days and moves pretty quickly both to the novel’s benefit and detriment.
My biggest complaint is the ending. Or the lack of an ending. Just as the action picks up and the story lines start to intertwine the novel ends without reaching a satisfying conclusion. I think Wright wanted the ending to be up to interpretation but I think she took the easy way out. She had a five star book on her hands but certain parts felt underdeveloped. I think using so many people’s perspectives and individual story lines limited the development of some characters. This would have been a 5 Star book if it was 400 pages long.
Still worth a read.