Release Day Review: Love All by Callie Wright

Title: Love All
Author: Callie Wright
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Released: July 9, 2013
Source: publisher (NetGalley)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

It’s the spring of 1994 in Cooperstown, New York, and Joanie Cole, the beloved matriarch of the Obermeyer family, has unexpectedly died in her sleep. Now, for the first time, three generations are living together under one roof and are quickly encroaching on one another’s fragile orbits. Eighty-six-year-old Bob Cole is adrift in his daughter’s house without his wife. Anne Obermeyer is increasingly suspicious of her husband, Hugh’s, late nights and missed dinners, and Hugh, principal of the town’s preschool, is terrified that a scandal at school will erupt and devastate his life. Fifteen-year-old tennis-team hopeful Julia is caught in a love triangle with Sam and Carl, her would-be teammates and two best friends, while her brother, Teddy, the star pitcher of Cooperstown High, will soon catch sight of something that will change his family forever.

At the heart of the Obermeyers’ present-day tremors is the scandal of The Sex Cure, a thinly veiled roman à clef from the 1960s, which shook the small village of Cooperstown to the core. When Anne discovers a battered copy underneath her parents’ old mattress, the Obermeyers cannot escape the family secrets that come rushing to the surface. With its heartbreaking insight into the messy imperfections of family, love, and growing up, Love All is an irresistible comic story of coming-of-age—at any age.

Love All is a character-driven story that focuses on the perpetual and intricate currents that run through the life of a family. What happens when members of a family are so busy that their lives are “played out in separate spaces”? How does it feel to be elderly and in need of our children and grandchildren’s care? What keeps generation after generation tied to their hometown?

As teenage siblings Teddy and Julia put it, respectively: “[Home] was a set of people acting a certain way—live, married, happy-ish—and when that was gone, you were sunk,” yet… “There are very few people who can hear us the way we want to be heard.”

The novel’s changing perspectives each has its own distinct voice, which made it easy to keep track of the characters and the details of their lives. Interestingly, Julia’s perspective is the only one told in first person, and that drew me to her narrative most of all. Upon finishing the book, I felt this was really Julia’s coming of age story, presented in pieces throughout the complicated situations of (and with) her family and friends. But after mulling over the book for a few days, I realized that each and every character who contributes to the narrative point of view experienced growth and gained insight while facing a new stage of his or her life.

A compelling story, Love All is a family’s coming of age.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

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