All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 14 hrs and 30 mins
4 out of 5 stars (153 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A smart, comic pause-resister about a Silicon Valley family in free fall over the course of one eventful summer from the author of Watch Me Disappear and the upcoming Pretty Things

When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for - until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune. 

Meanwhile, 400 miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers’ older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling post-feminist magazine, Snatch

Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut. 

The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country club ladies, evangelical neighbors, their own demons, and each other, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for, even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. 

Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything crackles with energy and intelligence and marks the debut of a knowing and very funny novelist, wise beyond her years. 

©2008 Janelle Brown (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Rarely does a first novelist write with such confidence and grace. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is a marvelous book." (Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits)  

"A razor-sharp critique of the absurd expectations that, these days, have come to stand for ambition, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is wrenching, riveting, and still manages to be great fun. This is a wise, intimate chronicle of one family's struggle to take off their masks and live in the place they most feared: the real, imperfect world." (Meghan Daum, author of The Quality of Life Report

What listeners say about All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Perfect Life Ain't So Perfect

I really enjoyed this book. A moving story of how a Mom and her two daughters deal with their own personal issues as well as a family crisis. All three face what measures success and how other people's opinions truly shape our lives. This book makes one think about what is and isn't important in their life and the things we thought were, might not really be. Real life gone wrong and somehow made right again in a surprising way. You won't be disappointed!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

pretty good, sort of sad

It was okay. It held my attention. I really liked the narrator, especially since she had to narrate the three different perspectives of Mom, older sister and younger sister.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

So disappointed, I wanted to like it...but dull

What was most disappointing about Janelle Brown’s story?

Full of cliches, could not warm up to any of the characters...no wonder her husband left the family. I was not the least intrigued and had to make myself finish.

How could the performance have been better?

Story was dull

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from All We Ever Wanted Was Everything?

I would have added, not taken away, as it was down right boring.

Any additional comments?

wish I had not wasted a credit. I was looking for a new author to follow, did not find it here.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Just O.K.

Held my attention, but just barely. The characters weren't easy to root for and it was too long. I finished it, but can't say that it stuck with me when it was over. It wasn't bad, but there are much better books out there.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Horrible characters

Every single character in this book is selfish, idiotic and incredibly unlikable. They repeatedly make frustratingly bad decisions (or lack of decisions) throughout almost the entire book. I didn’t care for the affect of the narrator but it’s hard to tell if it was her fault or if it’s just because the characters were so bad? That said, I was mildly entertained - like watching a train wreck. But was not sad when the book was over.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Wasn't the great

The story line was tedious the mothers addiction went on and on so boring. The little girl Lizzys voice was just annoying sing song and like a 5yo.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Awful! Like a bad Creative Writing 101 story

I despised this book!! I have enjoyed Brown‘s other books, but this one is in another league. At times, it seemed that I was reading a first draft from a Creative Writing 101 student who had not received feedback from an instructor or peers. Spoilers here, but I was dumb-founded by these ridiculously unrealistic aspects:
- betrayed mom cluelessly becomes addicted to crystal meth and then kicks the addiction / withdrawal single-handedly (irresponsible to illustrate that such a dramatic solo recovery is possible!)
- teenage daughter vacillates between the intelligence / knowledge-base of a 7 year old and 16 year old.
- the husband’s character was poorly developed and portrayed as a wholly hateful man. Although the treatment of his wife was believable, it is doubtful that as a father, he would be so one-dimensionally awful to his daughters with whom - according to the book - he had enjoyed in-depth, loving relationships.
- the husband has an affair with his wife’s best friend / tennis partner who also leaves her spouse. Instead of the publicly known betrayers, the betrayed wife is ostracized by her social circle and community. Really??
- several more aspects were head-bangingly off the mark.
I stuck with this remarkably, infuriatingly bad book to see how it would wrap up, but the ending - or lack of one - was insulting. If I wanted to read a college freshman’s crap writing, I would apply to be an instructor. At least I would get paid. Instead I am kicking myself that I wasted time and money on this book.
One positive: the narrator was good. But even her performance couldn’t rescue the book from a “1.”

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A true downer

Ridiculously depressing book. I kept waiting for a little sunshine and happiness to enter their lives, but it never really did. Painful to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

So-so

I found the narration excellent; however the storyline was dull and predictable. I really enjoyed other audiobooks by this author, but now this one. It was tedious.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

ho hum

Started out with promise and then it just seemed to drag and drag. After that it just abruptly ended!

1 person found this helpful