Told with the storytelling power and emotional fidelity of Wally Lamb, this is a searing drama of a modern American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and love lost and found.
For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.
In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple’s two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew’s place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel’s questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children, six-year-old Gal, and baby Noam.
The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. What kind of parents can these two men really be? How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure? And are there limits to honesty or commitment - or love?
©2014 Judith Frank (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
Daniel and Joe are identical twins. They grew up in a Jewish suburb of Chicago. Daniel now lived in Northampton, Massachusetts and Joe was married and lived in Israel.
Daniel met Matt at a gay bar in NYC. While there, Dan and Matt met and talked for a short time. Dan gave Matt his phone number and he stuffed the slip of paper in his coat pocket.
Shortly thereafter, Matt's best friend, Jay, died of aids. The world seemed to be crashing down on him. He needed to get away from NYC for a couple of days. away from the drugs, and the people he thought were his friend's. He remember that he had Daniel's phone number in his coat pocket. He was a little anxious but decided, why not, all he can say is no. Matt pushed the buttons, talked with Daniel and plans were made that he would visit with Daniel on the weekend.
Their relationship grew and Matt moved to Northampton to live with Dan. They were opposites in many ways but had grown together and made the relationship work. Matt and Dan were living a quiet domestic life in Northampton when Daniel received a phone call that his twin brother had been killed in Jerusalem, along with his wife, while drinking a latte at a small cafe. Their two children, Gal, six and the baby, 11 month old Noam, were now without parents and David and Matt's lives were suddenly transformed.
The funeral preparations were in place and ready to occur after Daniel arrived in Israel and was able to make a positive identification of his brother, Joe. Jewish law wants any deceased person buried soon after death. Joe and his wife, Allena, were buried that same evening.
The will needed to be read because of the two children. There were two sets of grandparents, one living in Israel and the other in Chicago. Daniel, when he had visited his brother and Allena last yearhad agreed to raise the two children, along with Matt, if both of them were to die.
Allena's parents protested that the children would be taken away from their place of birth. Daniel's mother could not understand the thought of the children being left with "queers."
Daniel knew that "the gay card" would eventually be thrown in the midst of things. Daniel, once again, explained how both Joe and Allena had absolutely no issues that he, being gay, would be a problem. Their other request was that the children be raised in America. They were taking Gal and Noam back to Northampton to be raised by himself and Matt. That was what his brother and sister-in-law wanted and he would honor their request.
This book was emotional at times. The issues about gay men raising children was an integral part of this novel. Love and trust in others was also a theme of, All I Know and Love. I read the first chapter and knew that I wanted to listen to every chapter. The narrator, Peter Berkrot, was great. He added truth and feelings while reading this book for the listener. The novel also dealt with today's issues, not those of 1981. The character development was deep. I came to know everyone. I don't even remember the length of time it took to finish this book. I only know that every chance available, I listened. Learning about Jewish people, a small fraction of Israel, David's view about who should be living on the land that Palestine say belongs to them, the Jewish ritual of burial and many other things. This book has peaked my interest to learn more about the Jewish people. I will read this book again sometime in the future. I hope that this review has given you enough information to want to read this book. If not, read it anyway. The credit you use will be well worth it.
Jaime From Alpha Book Club
This book is way more than your normal love story. It talks and deals with subjects that many would not be comfortable with but are things that need discussed and that matter.
All I can say is give this story a chance, take it as what it is..and also let yourself be moved by all the symbolic, real, and implied subject matter.
One of my favorite books of the year. Another reviewer said that the book tried to do too much. Perhaps that true. It did cover a lot of issues. But it did it well! I found the story moving, interesting and it felt super real to me. I loved the well developed characters: both adults and children. I cared about all of them and I wanted to read it until late hours of the night. These well developed characters all showed vulnerability and felt very real to me. I loved how this story touched on the complexities of loss, family, home, love, relationships and even the politics of Israel. Unfortunately, for me, the narration was very difficult to get past.
This narrator was inconsistent and distracting. He sounded like he was narrating a preview for a grade B horror flick one moment and then the next moment like he was narrating Gone with the Wind. He spoke in a hushed tone a lot, which I just didn't get. The voices and accents he gave the characters were inconsistent and inappropriate. For example: Daniel, the main character, grew up in a upper crust suburb of New York. He was highly educated. The narrator seemed so impressed with himself that he could do a New York accent and needed to show us that. I grew up in New York and it seemed to me that the one he gave Daniel was more typical of an old Brooklyn cab driver than one of a brilliant writer, musician who went to Oberlin College in Ohio. His partner Matt, grew up in Illinois. He also was given a New York accent (at times anyway). He slips into a southern drawl occasionally also. The over performing is extremely distracting and confusing. I just wanted to say to the narrator "JUST READ THE STORY". I did love the voice he gave the little girl in the story...got to give him that!
The story is fresh. It held my interest all of the way through. I did not want the book to end. It made comparisons between life events that I would never thought of comparing. I liked the characters, even with their flaws.
I can't think of any.
The voices of the characters.
not at first, but after about half way through
I have already recommended this book to a number of friends.
I loved this story and for the most part, the narration was compelling. BUT each time a Hebrew word or phrase was mispronounced (which was 3/4 of the time) I cringed! I strongly suggest consulting a native speaker for correct pronunciation before performing in a language one doesn't know.
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