Review: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

All We Ever Wanted Was EverythingAll We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The women of the Miller family are all falling apart.

On the day her husband’s company offers its IPO, their stock holdings rocket up in price, making them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Janice is hoping that this culmination of years of hard work will be the spark their marriage needs to get back on track by allowing them to not worry about money. What she doesn’t seem coming is the letter from her husband, informing her that he’s leaving her and wants a divorce. To make matters worse, he’s having an affair with her doubles tennis partner.

Oldest daughter, Margaret, lives in Los Angeles, self-publishing a women’s magazine called "Snatch." She’s recently broken up with her movie-star boyfriend, Bart and is living on maxed out credit cards while avoiding threatening phone calls and letters as she waits for a buyout from a media outlet. Margaret, it turns out, is the reason Janice and her husband "had to" get married back in their college days.

Then there’s the youngest daughter Lizzie, who struggles with her self image and her love of food. She’s working on losing weight and herself on her school’s swim team and becoming popular with the teenage boys by sleeping with six of them over the course of six months. Lizzie’s reputation is slowly starting to head south and she’s losing what few friends she had.

All three Miller women are forced to come home and begin to confront the real demons facing them in Janelle Brown’s "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything." At times, the story reads like your standard chick-lit storyline, but there are moments and flashes of real insight and understanding of these characters and their struggles. And don’t expect any up-standing male characters in the book. The closest we get is the pool boy, who becomes Janice’s drug dealer and Margaret’s emotional summer fling (though things do get physical toward the end of the book). The soon-to-be ex-husband only shows up occasionally, usually in flashbacks and by sending over his assistant to get his clothes and things so he can properly move out of his house.

But no matter how cliched the situations get, Brown still manages to inject the story with some interesting observations and some wry character moments.

This isn’t great literature by any means. But it’s not necessarily light or fluffy either. It’s somewhere firmly in the middle, which isn’t necessarily a terrible place to be.

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