Book Review of All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

In May I attended the Midwest Writer’s Conference at Ball State University, where I went to college. It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to, and one of my favorite parts was having one-on-one sessions with literary agents.

In February I had the good fortune of meeting with an agent from The Seymour Agency who told me the novel I was writing, The Four Seasons of Summer was not a romance as I thought, but was classified as Women’s Fiction. Great, because two of the agents at the MWW Festival actually represented authors of Women’s Fiction.

Truthfully, I wasn’t really sure what the difference was between Romance and Women’s Fiction, but I was excited to talk with an agent who did. Which brings me to my book review. One of the people I spoke with said that All We Ever Wanted was her idea of the epitome of Women’s Fiction, so I knew I needed to read it.

As a mother and (gulp) grandmother, I could feel the devastation that Nina Browning felt when she found out her only child was involved in a scandal involving an inappropriate photograph. And I could feel her frustration when she realized her self serving husband thought he could make it all go away with money. Something he had too much of. But I couldn’t fall in love with her character, and that’s what has to happen for me to truly get excited about a book.

Nina and Kirk Browning are nouveau rich, but unfortunately the money has taken an already egocentric Kirk, and turned him into a jerk. When the Browning’s become aware that their son Finch; yes, named for Atticus Finch of To Kill A Mockingbird fame, has taken a provocative picture of himself with a girl from his elite high school, and that the picture is going viral, Nina and Kirk have different ideas on how to deal with it.

Finch’s future is all of a sudden in question. Will he be kicked out of the prestigious Windsor Academy, or worse yet, lose his acceptance into Princeton? Nina wants him to own up to his responsibility, but Kirk and Finch come up with their own plan to absolve Finch of any accountability.

And how about Lyla, the girl in picture being shared with the student body? Is she appalled, indifferent, or more concerned about her social standing than the implications in the photo? Her father of course is furious, and wants the truth to come out.

The back story in All We Ever Wanted, and the true crux of Nina’s feelings about what her son did, all revolve around an incident in her past. She kept quiet and allowed the person to go unpunished, and as an adult she knows how much she’d suffered because of it.

One thing I liked a lot in the book were the chapters being written from the perspectives of the different characters. I use “Now and Then” in my books to take the reader back to a earlier time, so the chapters being in different characters point of view was appealing to me.

Did I get as involved in this book as the literary agent I spoke with did? No. But it was written well and gave me some interesting perspective’s on writing that I didn’t have before. It ends with a Happily Ever After of sorts, but definitely is not a love story. And maybe that’s what I missed. No heart stopping passion, no tension between lovers, just a story about relationships gone bad. But it is a story about a mother’s never ending love and commitment to her child, and that’s something I can totally relate to.

If you like books about connections between people, and don’t have to have a romance involved, please give All We Ever Wanted a try. Emily Giffin is a number one best selling author and this book has over 1000 reviews on Amazon.

Until we read again…đź“š

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

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