Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book #15 of 2010

"All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" by Janelle Brown

In Brown's withering Silicon Valley satire, a family wakes up on a June day to realize that patriarch Paul's company has hit the big time with a phenomenal IPO. But instead of rejoicing about being newly rich, the family's three women each find themselves in the throes of a major crisis. Paul has fled with his new amour, who happens to be wife Janice's tennis partner. Desperate housewife Janice discovers the soothing power of the pool boy's drug stash and sinks into addiction and denial. Meanwhile, 20-something daughter Margaret learns the price of living a Hollywood lifestyle on an artsy hipster's budget—gargantuan credit card debt. Finally, 14-year-old Lizzie wades deeper and deeper into a sea of adolescent trouble without an adult to confide in. From the ashes of their California dreams, the three must learn to talk to each other instead of past each other, and build a new, slightly more realistic existence—but not without doses of revenge and hilarity

I admit to being attracted to this book initially based totally on the cover art. I even found the first few chapters to be intriguing but then it all seemed to fall apart midway.

Brown initially sets up what could be a good character study as well as a commentary on greed/materialism. However, as the plot moves on beyond the initial setup, she seems to become bored with it all. She starts to use her book as a platform to poke fun at all the things she disdains - which can be good when done well. Unfortunately, her manner ends up being childish and overdone.

By the end, the characters seemed like pathetic and grossly exaggerated versions of their original selves. Don't waste your time reading this book liked I did.

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