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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 toge 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?


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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 toge 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?

30 review for All I Love and Know

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    This novel is powerful. I was interested in every single detail. I was heavily pulled in to the story. I was constantly thinking about the characters and their situations almost every waking moment when I wasn't reading it. I couldn't wait to get back to this book-- not wanting to 'miss' anything!!! After Daniel's twin brother and his wife, ( Joel and Ilana), are killed in a cafe bombing in Jerusalem --there is barely any time to mourn-- because things get very complicated 'fast'. Joel and Ilana This novel is powerful. I was interested in every single detail. I was heavily pulled in to the story. I was constantly thinking about the characters and their situations almost every waking moment when I wasn't reading it. I couldn't wait to get back to this book-- not wanting to 'miss' anything!!! After Daniel's twin brother and his wife, ( Joel and Ilana), are killed in a cafe bombing in Jerusalem --there is barely any time to mourn-- because things get very complicated 'fast'. Joel and Ilana had two small children. Gal is almost 6 years old. She is quick, intense, and gifted. Noam is just a baby -- easy going -- constipated... but has a quiet disposition. Joel & Illana made a will. They wanted their kids to go to Daniel and his partner Matt who lived in the United States. ( Northampton). It gets complicated because Illana's parents, ( Holocaust survivors and very religious Jews), are irate that their only daughter who now is dead, could possibly send their grandchildren to another country to live with a gay couple. Plus Daniel's partner, Matt, isn't Jewish. He's a goy-gay-boyfriend. So, the Grossman family is going to fight to keep the children - raise them in their home - in Israel. It's messy. Daniel & Matt -'do' in time get the children --but there are conditions. ( more challenges) It seems the State of Israel 'can' overturn the wishes that Joel and Ilana wrote in their will. I was hanging on the edge of my seat during this part. Add more problems... ( by the way-- if a reader is not in knots part of the time reading this book-- well, I don't know what your secret is)....but I was. A few times I wanted to scream...."I can't take this tension any longer". Matt & Daniel's relationship will feel like nails on a chalkboard at times too. ( hell, most of the time). If my relationship with Paul had an ongoing undercurrent of disconnect & bitterness ...for a few 'days' I would start to feel sick... but for a year??? I thought I'd die of agony with the tension between these two men -- OMG....let alone the 'ongoing' fires to keep being put out with the children. I was definitely taking sides in my own mind of who is right and who was wrong for more than half of the book.... however -- I began to expand my point of view as this novel went on. There are a few situations in this book that are soooo real ---yet I'll be damn if I would have known the best way to handle the problems and with sooo many to boot....coming faster than the speed of light. The life of these people - children included was overwhelming. If I were to find one fault.. ( but truthfully NOT for me), It's possible that some readers might think the book could use some editing. I thought about it...( it's a long novel) we read about many mini breakdowns from 'all' the characters, but for me it made the story seem that much 'more' real. We are part of this family... and if one of them has a problem ( big or small), to edit them out would not have supported the final impact of THE POWER that this story is. So, guess what??? I read about children's tantrums- dirty dishes, messy toys, friends relationships, in-laws, sexual tensions, political conflicts, regrets, shame, fears, feelings from everyone - while having my own, experiencing the loss, ongoing & ongoing struggles ... and thankfully love too!!! Judith Frank wrote a SUPERB NOVEL!!!! OUTSTANDING!!! Highly recommend it!!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    There is so much about All I Love and Know. It is not just a story about a gay couple becoming parents. It is not just about a Jew and a Christian couple trying to reconcile their differences. It is not just about the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is not even solely about the loss of a beloved brother and the gap that leaves in a family. It is an amalgam of all of these scenarios and more. To separate out the story into its parts means to lose other key elements of Matt and Daniel’s r There is so much about All I Love and Know. It is not just a story about a gay couple becoming parents. It is not just about a Jew and a Christian couple trying to reconcile their differences. It is not just about the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is not even solely about the loss of a beloved brother and the gap that leaves in a family. It is an amalgam of all of these scenarios and more. To separate out the story into its parts means to lose other key elements of Matt and Daniel’s relationship, to trivialize the various hardships of the characters, and to simplify a scenario that is anything but simple. One must take the good with the bad, the controversial topics with the safe, and look upon Daniel’s and Matt’s story as the sum of its parts. The sum of All I Love and Know is a complex, eye-opening story about the issues gay couples face as couples and parents, the ongoing struggles for acceptance, and the compromises they must make to achieve a semblance of normalcy in a world not quite ready to accept them with open arms. More importantly, it is a story of grief and love. The loss of his twin leaves Daniel reeling in unimaginable ways that have deep-seated consequences for their future, just as Matt’s ambiguous role within the family leaves him struggling to find an acceptable balance between his own grief and his support of Daniel and his loved ones. It is a fascinating dichotomy, one that threatens to tear them apart rather than bring them together as parenthood should. Daniel and Matt are an adorable couple, but they are also very real. Each is highly flawed, opinionated, unwilling to compromise, and completely lost in the new roles into which they are thrust. There is a beautiful gentleness to them both which endears them to readers even when their behavior is questionable. While they are without doubt the main characters of the story, there is an aspect of the underdog about them both, as if to say that even though they have come so far and overcome so many obstacles to obtain happiness together, the universe is not quite done stacking the deck against them. It is as if someone or something wants them to fall apart as a couple rather than live happily ever after. Their battle against these unknown factors is what makes the story so poignant. All I Love and Know is not an easy novel to read. The frank nature of Matt and Daniel’s life together may cause conservative readers to squirm. Also, Ms. Frank does not shy away from controversial topics or sharing her strong opinions about such topics through her characters. However, in so doing, she forces her readers to learn more about a certain topic, to form an opinion, and to become actively engaged in the story. One can read and love ALL I LOVE AND KNOW without having to agree with Ms. Frank’s political statements because her ultimate goal is not to win people to her side but to inform. It is a crucial distinction that still requires on open mind and open heart while reading. For all of its controversy, All I Love and Know is a simple and beautiful story at its core. Such emotions as grief and love transcend lifestyles and religions, something she tries to repeatedly emphasize. Matt and Daniel and their experiences together and apart in Jerusalem and the United States break down barriers and stereotypes and put the human back into humanity. It is a stunning, simple story that allows readers to ignore the intricacies of the world and focus on the quintessential core values – love and respect.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    When I read a book this wonderful, I always wish I had more of a way with words, so I could do the book justice. I desperately want to convey the essence of this book to you so that you can share the love and awe I feel for it. I’m not someone who always loves flawed characters. I sometimes even find them annoying. But in this book, when I say the characters are flawed, what I mean is that they are created with flaws and strengths and likes and dislikes and feelings that are so believable and so When I read a book this wonderful, I always wish I had more of a way with words, so I could do the book justice. I desperately want to convey the essence of this book to you so that you can share the love and awe I feel for it. I’m not someone who always loves flawed characters. I sometimes even find them annoying. But in this book, when I say the characters are flawed, what I mean is that they are created with flaws and strengths and likes and dislikes and feelings that are so believable and so self-consistent that it seems they could step off the page. I thought the author also did an incredible job showing that gay couples are just like any other couple without diminishing the extra pressures put on their relationship by the prejudices some people have towards gay couples. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked Daniel very much, but as we get into the story and share his perspective, my heart ached for both halves of this struggling couple. The author flowed seamlessly between their perspectives, as well as the perspective of their adopted daughter. Throughout the book, the author connects what’s happening to Matt and Daniel back to greater issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gay rights. She made me do a lot of thinking about these issues but I never felt that she was moralizing at me. Instead she just gave these issues a human face. I think there are parts of this book which could make many people uncomfortable, including some (necessary) description of the characters’ sex lives and perhaps the characters’ views on Israel. I think that’s a good thing though, making this a book which will push peoples’ boundaries. It’s also moving and beautiful and so, so wonderful. Even if you’re nervous about the topic, perhaps especially if you’re nervous about the topic, I highly encourage you to give All I Love And Know a chance. This review first published at Doing Dewey.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    There are many, many issues explored in this story. Zionism, validity of wills, parental rights, single parenthood, grandparent rights, stereotyping, freedom of speech, and oh by the way, gay rights. I haven't come across another story with similar subjects and really liked reading about these topics. There are many, many issues explored in this story. Zionism, validity of wills, parental rights, single parenthood, grandparent rights, stereotyping, freedom of speech, and oh by the way, gay rights. I haven't come across another story with similar subjects and really liked reading about these topics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    If Jodi Picoult were a Jewish lesbian, she might have written All I Love and Know, which packs multiple issues into a well-written story of love, gay rights, parenting, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I had a little trouble with the author's frequent head-hopping; the POV shifts quickly and without warning, sometimes several times on the same page. But I was engrossed by the portrayal of characters thrust into a situation they never expected and are woefully unprepared to confront. Of the If Jodi Picoult were a Jewish lesbian, she might have written All I Love and Know, which packs multiple issues into a well-written story of love, gay rights, parenting, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I had a little trouble with the author's frequent head-hopping; the POV shifts quickly and without warning, sometimes several times on the same page. But I was engrossed by the portrayal of characters thrust into a situation they never expected and are woefully unprepared to confront. Of the two gay men who suddenly become parents, Matt is the more sympathetic one, even if he is a tad narcissistic and makes some ill-advised choices. Daniel is wracked with grief at the loss of his twin brother, but he is such a prick to Matt for so long that he almost completely lost my sympathy. But my heart completely went out to six year old Gal, who barely has the words or emotional capacity to deal with the loss of both of her parents and a move to a different continent. Frank does a great job of showing how, over the course of one year, she gradually starts to heal. The Holocaust survivor Israeli grandparents (wouldn't they be too old to have been the parents to Daniel's sister-in-law Ilana?) and the clingy American grandparents are slightly stereotypical but are given a few moments to show they are real human beings coping with tragedy as best they can. The author presents both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but her strong liberal politics and pro-Palestinian stance may upset some readers. All in all, an engrossing and powerful read. Highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Minty McBunny

    Until I was 28, I had only left one book unfinished (an Anne Tyler book, FTR). I just always felt like I had to finish any book I started. Finally, in the middle of a particularly bad chick lit novel, I realized there was an endless supply of good books in the world, why would I waste time reading one I got no pleasure from? But I also didn't want to give up too early on a book that was just a slow starter. So since then, my rule has been this: I read half the book, then ask myself "if I put this Until I was 28, I had only left one book unfinished (an Anne Tyler book, FTR). I just always felt like I had to finish any book I started. Finally, in the middle of a particularly bad chick lit novel, I realized there was an endless supply of good books in the world, why would I waste time reading one I got no pleasure from? But I also didn't want to give up too early on a book that was just a slow starter. So since then, my rule has been this: I read half the book, then ask myself "if I put this book down right now, will I have any curiosity in an hour or tomorrow or next week about the fate if the characters?" If the answer is no, I quit the book then & there, move on to the next one. My answer was no on this book. I wanted to like it, but aside from the children, I found every character, especially Matt & Daniel, to be insufferably self-absorbed and unlikable. I really could not have cared less about their lives or their relationship. Next, please.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I love how this book steps on every landmine, makes you feel the blast and the aftershock and yet manages to make me feel hopeful. I am such a Daniel....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Megan Porter

    This book was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It's been a fair while since I've read a book that I think about during the day and can't wait to get back to in the evening. Within the first few chapters, I was completely hooked on this story. I felt emotionally attached to the plot and the characters very quickly. I found myself siding with Matt through most of the book. It was frustrating to see Daniel's reaction to his feelings and I had to keep reminding myself that everyone grieves differe This book was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It's been a fair while since I've read a book that I think about during the day and can't wait to get back to in the evening. Within the first few chapters, I was completely hooked on this story. I felt emotionally attached to the plot and the characters very quickly. I found myself siding with Matt through most of the book. It was frustrating to see Daniel's reaction to his feelings and I had to keep reminding myself that everyone grieves differently. Because of that, I see this story as very realistic and true to what couples must go through following a tragedy and an upheaval of life as they know it. My only very minor complaint is that sometimes Gal, who is only 6 yrs old, was portrayed as saying or doing things far beyond what I would expect from someone that age. That being said, I think it was done with purpose to enrich her side of the story and larger overall role in everyone's personal tale. Fantastic read, I will recommend and look for other books by this author. Thank you for choosing me as a good reads winner.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lenore

    One of the most compelling, heart rending books I have ever read. It was the first time I have seen my opinions of the Arab-Israeli conflict written about. You cannot help but love this extended family and wish for a happy ending to their story. After reading the acknowledgements, I wonder exactly how much is based on actual events. I hope that Goodreads hosts a Q&A with Judith Frank. She is a gifted storyteller.

  10. 5 out of 5

    kim

    This book is hard for me to rate because I really struggled to read it. I went into the book expecting a story centered around a custody battle, with much hinging on the fact that the battle involved a gay couple. In truth, custody played a very minor role in the story, and was settled very early on. Instead, the book was very much character-driven and I felt like I had a book that wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be. Is it a book that is trying to show that gay parenting is a valid option, or This book is hard for me to rate because I really struggled to read it. I went into the book expecting a story centered around a custody battle, with much hinging on the fact that the battle involved a gay couple. In truth, custody played a very minor role in the story, and was settled very early on. Instead, the book was very much character-driven and I felt like I had a book that wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be. Is it a book that is trying to show that gay parenting is a valid option, or that a gay relationship can be as loving, but complicated as a straight relationship? Is it a book that want to show us the flaws in Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, or the emotional difficulties of Holocaust survivors? Is it a love story? Or a story of family and relationships? Maybe a story of coping with grief? All of these issues are touched upon in the book, some in more detail than others, but not always very effectively. Much of the time, I felt like I was just plowing through the book to get it done and never really finding the story! Even though I don’t feel like a lot of these issues were covered in detail (and others in far too much detail) I do feel like a book club could have a great time with this book. The book touched on so many issues that clubs would have a diversity of feelings about, whether or not they all enjoyed the book. . Some of the best book club discussions I’ve had have been based on books that had mixed reviews! Just to warn, some of the scenes in the book are graphic, both love scenes and scenes of violence, and this may make some readers uncomfortable. But if you don’t mind this, and you are looking for a story with character development and good discussion material, this may be the book for you! Be sure to follow the book tour to learn how others see the book. My Rating: ★★1/2 2-1/2 Stars This review first appeared on my blog, Time2 Read, as part of a TLC Book Tour. I was provided a review copy of the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    I thought I would like this book but I thought it took on too many issues at once and therefore it was very hard too get into. I also couldn't stand Matt. He was whiney and moody when his partner just lost his twin in a very violent way, a roadside bomb in Jerusulem. I think the author should have whittled down the issues she was looking at and focused more on maybe just Daniel's brother's death and the fact that Matt and Daniel now had to raise their children and how that affected their relatio I thought I would like this book but I thought it took on too many issues at once and therefore it was very hard too get into. I also couldn't stand Matt. He was whiney and moody when his partner just lost his twin in a very violent way, a roadside bomb in Jerusulem. I think the author should have whittled down the issues she was looking at and focused more on maybe just Daniel's brother's death and the fact that Matt and Daniel now had to raise their children and how that affected their relationship. That would have made for a much more readable and understandable book without jumping around to all the other topics. 3 stars!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Judy D Collins

    Judith Frank’s ALL I LOVE AND KNOW, is a riveting account of love and loss, diversity, adoption, and finding your way back from tragedy to something beautiful. Matthew and Daniel, a gay couple residing in Northampton, MA (before gay marriage is legal), where they are in a comfortable relationship, until their world is turned upside down. Daniel’s twin brother, Joel and sister-in-law, Ilana, have just been killed by a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, and the gay couple’s life has been totally uproot Judith Frank’s ALL I LOVE AND KNOW, is a riveting account of love and loss, diversity, adoption, and finding your way back from tragedy to something beautiful. Matthew and Daniel, a gay couple residing in Northampton, MA (before gay marriage is legal), where they are in a comfortable relationship, until their world is turned upside down. Daniel’s twin brother, Joel and sister-in-law, Ilana, have just been killed by a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, and the gay couple’s life has been totally uprooted, as their wishes for their children’s care is left in their will. When Matthew and Daniel, find out they will have the responsibility for the care of two young children, they are not prepared for what lies ahead. Daniel is a little more grounded of the two, (however, he can be controlling), as Matt is younger, and more of the NY club scene, and unsure he is ready for this new lifestyle. To further complicate matters, the grandparents, devout Holocaust survivors, are not happy with this arrangement, nor the secular, American Rosen’s about their grandchildren being raised by Matt, whom they don't really like. Daniel is under tremendous stress and is still grieving, as he chooses to bear all the responsibility, and feels he is in the middle. He becomes emotionally distant with Matt, while Gal acts out, due to the tragedy, and the new living conditions. Daniel begins pushing Matt away, and you can imagine what happens next – everything goes downhill. ALL I LOVE AND KNOW is a novel of flawed characters experiencing raw emotions, in a world and time of not so accepting gay couples, especially those raising children. When the book begins, not a lot of likable characters, and they are dealing with much stress; however, as the story moves along it is a powerful, beautiful, and moving one of complex and rich characters. As they grow in their love, communicate, and embrace their situation, they begin to experience real unconditional love, a true family bond, against all odds. This was my first book by talented storyteller, Frank and look forward to reading Crybaby Butch, her first novel. As always, the audiobook narrator, Peter Berkrot was divine, with a stellar performance! http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.c...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ulysses Dietz

    All I Love and Know By Judith Frank Published by William Morrow, 2014 Five stars Well, here's a different book. "All I Love and Know" (Morrow, 2014) by Judith Frank. SO not a romance, but entirely about a gay couple who love each other. I want to say "harrowing," but it's not really--any more than everyday life can be harrowing and disorienting. It is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in a while. This book knocked me down. Fortunately, it lifted me back up again. Matt Greene and Dan All I Love and Know By Judith Frank Published by William Morrow, 2014 Five stars Well, here's a different book. "All I Love and Know" (Morrow, 2014) by Judith Frank. SO not a romance, but entirely about a gay couple who love each other. I want to say "harrowing," but it's not really--any more than everyday life can be harrowing and disorienting. It is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in a while. This book knocked me down. Fortunately, it lifted me back up again. Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen live Northampton, Massachusetts. They've been a couple for four years and are very much in love. The year is 2003. Bush 2 is president. Working from his office in their home, Matt gets a phone call. Daniel's identical twin brother, Joel, and his wife Ilana, have been killed by a suicide bomber at a cafe in Jerusalem. They left behind her Holocaust survivor parents, and two small children, one just a baby. Everything these two men love and know is overturned. Suddenly Matt is the goyish boyfriend dragged into a maelstrom of grief and confusion. Suddenly Daniel, who has always lived in the shadow of his charismatic, manly, beloved straight twin, is unmoored. Suddenly they realize that Ilana and Daniel wanted them to take the children away from Israel should something happen to them. Nothing in this book reflects my own life, and yet (as often happens in books I love) everything resonated with every part of my life--my Jewish husband, our two children, the loss of two siblings when I was a teenager, my experience of Israel. Judith Frank is a lesbian, and I point that out because she seems to have a key to the way gay men think and feel that I have never quite experienced. Maybe it's just that we're human. Whatever her magic, this is a wonderful book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I was very underwhelmed and disappointed in this book. Frankly, I was disappointed in the author. She had an opportunity to take the subject matter of gay relationships, gay marriage, gay parenthood, Judaism, and the struggles in Israel and Palestine to a new place; instead, she gave the reader what we already know and expect from the current daily news. Bummer, as she missed an opportunity in 420 pages to give us something insightful or inspiring. Daniel Rosen, is a gay professional living in N I was very underwhelmed and disappointed in this book. Frankly, I was disappointed in the author. She had an opportunity to take the subject matter of gay relationships, gay marriage, gay parenthood, Judaism, and the struggles in Israel and Palestine to a new place; instead, she gave the reader what we already know and expect from the current daily news. Bummer, as she missed an opportunity in 420 pages to give us something insightful or inspiring. Daniel Rosen, is a gay professional living in Northampton, MA with his partner, Matt. Daniel's brother, Joel and his wife, Ilana are killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Daniel obtains custody of the two small children, Gal and Noam. Ilana's parents are WWII holocaust survivors and live in Israel. The children are brought to the States and they all learn to adjust to their new life and grief. The first 25% of the book was sort of interesting as Daniel navigates the Israeli legal process to win custody of the children and to get the grandparents to agree to let them come to the U.S. The remainder of the book was dreadfully dull and predictable. Everyone is damaged and miserable. I was quite disappointed in Frank's need to portray or dwell on the bitchy/queeny and sexually driven side of gay life and relationships. I feel she sold out the LGBTQ community through reinforcing these stereotypes in circular recurring text and themes throughout the book. Too bad, she missed a great opportunity to tell a story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brendy

    I'm having a really hard time deciding between 3 and 4 stars. Most of the time, I don't hand out 4 stars unless I feel a personal connection with a character, or the story really touches me. In this book, I don't really identify with any of the characters because my life is so very different from theirs. However, the story was compelling. Dealing with political situations that I don't know anything about kept it a bit at arms length from me, but the author managed to draw me in anyway. The chara I'm having a really hard time deciding between 3 and 4 stars. Most of the time, I don't hand out 4 stars unless I feel a personal connection with a character, or the story really touches me. In this book, I don't really identify with any of the characters because my life is so very different from theirs. However, the story was compelling. Dealing with political situations that I don't know anything about kept it a bit at arms length from me, but the author managed to draw me in anyway. The characters were flawed and real. The situations were painful and awkward. So even though the book dealt with events I couldn't relate to, the feelings the events evoked, I definitely could.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    I really enjoyed reading this, and it seems odd, but if anything, the book was TOO ambitious - it crammed in far too many hot button issues for its own good: gay marriage & parenting, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, AIDS grief, fidelity vs.monogamy. Despite that, and the rather prosaic prose, the novel moved swiftly and one came to care about all of the characters, even though some were not terribly likeable (Daniel in particular).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Oh I hated this book!! But finished it just bc it was necessary. I felt the author tried to shove too many issues down the readers throat: Judaism, Israel, homosexuality, politics, love.... It was too much Plus I didn't like any if the characters Oh I hated this book!! But finished it just bc it was necessary. I felt the author tried to shove too many issues down the readers throat: Judaism, Israel, homosexuality, politics, love.... It was too much Plus I didn't like any if the characters

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I liked the story and characters, but it badly needed better editing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    LAPL Reads

    Lydia Rosen’s inane chatter about bourekas during the flight to Israel baffles Matt Greene. To his partner, Daniel Rosen, her preoccupation with the stuffed pastry makes total sense. His mother is “trying not to have to imagine how much of her other son’s body has been blown to bits." But the grim reality intrudes when Daniel, his parents, and Matt land at the Tel Aviv airport and are transported directly to the Institute of Forensic Medicine. There, amidst indescribable, horrific odors and the Lydia Rosen’s inane chatter about bourekas during the flight to Israel baffles Matt Greene. To his partner, Daniel Rosen, her preoccupation with the stuffed pastry makes total sense. His mother is “trying not to have to imagine how much of her other son’s body has been blown to bits." But the grim reality intrudes when Daniel, his parents, and Matt land at the Tel Aviv airport and are transported directly to the Institute of Forensic Medicine. There, amidst indescribable, horrific odors and the sound of crying and wailing, the family is asked to identify Joel’s body. Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law are among 16 people killed by a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem café. Joel and Ilana leave behind a six-year-old daughter, Gal, and a one-year-old son, Noam. The grandparents are heartbroken, and Daniel is not only inconsolable, he is also unmoored by the seismic shift that has occurred in his relationship with his lifelong rival, the brother who always outshone him. At this time of unbearable pain and family tensions, Daniel and Matt are instantly going to become parents. During a recent visit Joel and Ilana had said that if anything happened to them, they wanted Daniel to raise their two children, with Matt, in their home in Northampton, Massachusetts. They specifically intended to spare Gal and Noam the type of upbringing they had received at the hands of their respective parents. Matt has always had an easy rapport with Gal, but is meeting Noam for the first time. “You don’t think we’ll ruin them, do you?” he asks after enjoying some tender moments with the baby. “I think somebody has already done that for us,” Daniel wearily responds. What is also weighing on Daniel’s mind is that no one, besides he and Matt, knows of Joel and Ilana’s wishes. The attorney will be the one to break the news when he reads the will after the shiva, the first seven days of Jewish mourning. Unable to appreciate the fact that she will be able to see her grandchildren more if they grow up in the United States, Lydia launches into a critique of Matt, claiming that he is too shallow and vain to handle parenthood. Ilana’s parents, who live in Jerusalem, are faced with more than bruised egos. As Holocaust survivors whose only child was just killed, if their grandchildren are taken out of Israel, they will in essence again be left without living relatives. The will is challenged and a lengthy evaluation process takes place. Matt returns to work in Massachusetts, both for financial reasons and also to keep their gay relationship out of the spotlight. At his brother’s apartment in Jerusalem Daniel receives his first visit from an Israeli caseworker. While he hopes to demonstrate his potential as a parent, everything goes so wrong that the reader is treated to an unexpected interlude of sidesplitting hilarity. Everything that Judith Frank presents in All I Love and Know is so stunningly right it’s as if she is a master gem cutter who brings to light exquisite facets in a stone. Among the topics that she deftly handles are how a one-year-old and a six-year-old exhibit grief, the strain that loss places on a romantic relationship, how language barriers give rise to feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, searing disagreements about Palestinian-Israeli politics, and the price a person pays for not seeking help that is clearly needed. In a 2009 interview published in the Amherst Magazine, Frank states that she encourages her writing students at Amherst College to “. . . come to understand their own processes and to live in them and use them to their advantage.” She has found, for example, that she has a half hour of concentration span as a writer, and no longer pushes herself to extend it. If Frank crafted this novel in half hour segments, then her approach is brilliant. This novel was selected to be on LAPL Reads Best of 2014: Fiction. Reviewed by Janice Batzdorff, Librarian

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen (Kat) Smith

    Once again I find myself in a difficult place reviewing a novel that I am questioning why I would have wanted to review this novel since it goes against my own personal religious beliefs on the side against gay marriage. So for my Christian blogging readers, I caution you against this novel based on the premise that is speaks about not only gay marriage being acceptable, but also for the fact that it does against the very core beliefs God speaks against. With that being said, let me outline what Once again I find myself in a difficult place reviewing a novel that I am questioning why I would have wanted to review this novel since it goes against my own personal religious beliefs on the side against gay marriage. So for my Christian blogging readers, I caution you against this novel based on the premise that is speaks about not only gay marriage being acceptable, but also for the fact that it does against the very core beliefs God speaks against. With that being said, let me outline what the novel All I Love and Know from author Judith Frank conveys. This novel is based on the relationship of two men, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen who are currently living together and find themselves dealing with the outcome of Daniel's twin brother and sister-in-law who have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, leaving the men to deal with what will happen to the couples children. It explores how each of the men approach the complexities now facing each of them in learning they have been asked to adopt the children and how it changes their lifestyles and relationship. While I can understand the issues facing the two men, I can understand how even these issues would impact a traditionally married couple, a man and a woman, who themselves faced the same possibilities and that is how I tried to manage getting through the novel to provide an honest review. The circumstances are similar but not entirely the same and thus the reason for my providing the rating that I did. It's times like this that question whether or not you even want to share a review but honesty is why I chose to become a book reviewer. They all can't be good and everyone is entitled to their opinion. In my own personal case as a Christian, I can't give this novel a great rating because in doing so would compromise the beliefs I have and also convey that I accept the novel as it is written and again something I can't do to be fair with my own beliefs in God. However, other people will provide a far different view on this novel and as such, I wanted to convey that in my review. While I tried to maintain a level of objectivity, I had difficulty when the subject of sex between the two men were discussed and how they would maintain their lifestyle in the presence of the newly adopted children. My review is simply to state what a reader will find when opening the cover and if this does not offend you than you will more than likely appreciate the novel as the author intended, but for me, I have to be honest and say I did not like the novel even though the premise of having a married couple dealing with the suddenly adoption of children into their lives and subsequent consequences stemming from those decisions is a great idea. In my opinion, I'd give this one a 2 out of 5 stars based solely on my own rating system. I received All I Love and Know by Judith Frank compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Penny McGill

    I am terrible at going to movies that I know I will find scary but I still go. I just watch them with my hands in front of my face and try to see some of the film through the spaces (as if this will make it easier to watch) and this book was a bit like that. You know just a page or two in that the start of the story is of parents of young children killed in a bombing in Jerusalem and that is when I started to want to put my hands up to only see part of the story - right there, the story is unbea I am terrible at going to movies that I know I will find scary but I still go. I just watch them with my hands in front of my face and try to see some of the film through the spaces (as if this will make it easier to watch) and this book was a bit like that. You know just a page or two in that the start of the story is of parents of young children killed in a bombing in Jerusalem and that is when I started to want to put my hands up to only see part of the story - right there, the story is unbearable but you still want to read it. You will still want to keep reading it because Judith Frank does an incredible job of bringing many layers into this novel and into the relationship of the two men who become parents of the children left behind. She could have taken the easy way out and made one of them the saint and one of them the evil man who we all want to hate but she gave us a 360 degree view of both and a fully fleshed out relationship that also made me want to read it with partial vision only. This story is raw in a way that I've not seen before but I didn't feel like there was too much there. It didn't feel like I was watching their lives from the outside; it did feel like I was welcome to be a part of it. I'm not sure who I'll suggest this book to. I'll certainly talk about it with patrons and I'll be thrilled to chat about it with anyone who asks but there is so much pain - truly achy pain - in every character's life throughout this book, that it's hard to say who might be the right candidate for this one. It's certainly a great choice for a book club. There is no doubt in my mind that any group of people, any age or blend of ages, would find this one ripe with something to latch on to and it is beautifully written. I have some of the images (most unfortunately in more than one case - there are some heart wrenching moments with those kids) in my mind forever and it's that kind of book. I actually think I'll read it again. Now that I've been through the wringer of emotion it brought on I think I might be able to just be happy to see these people again some time. Maybe.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lois R. Gross

    This is a socially conscious book that interweaves so many themes with skill and dexterity that it is hard to talk about a single topic. Daniel Rosen and his partner, Matthew Greene, are summoned to Israel when Daniel's twin, Joel, is killed in a terrorist bombing. At the behest of Joel and is wife, Ilana, the couple's two children, Gal and Noam, are given into Joel and Matt's custody and brought to the United States. while Joel toys with the idea of making aliya so that the children can be rais This is a socially conscious book that interweaves so many themes with skill and dexterity that it is hard to talk about a single topic. Daniel Rosen and his partner, Matthew Greene, are summoned to Israel when Daniel's twin, Joel, is killed in a terrorist bombing. At the behest of Joel and is wife, Ilana, the couple's two children, Gal and Noam, are given into Joel and Matt's custody and brought to the United States. while Joel toys with the idea of making aliya so that the children can be raised in their own environment, both he and Matt have strong feelings about the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict and do not want to commit themselves to living in what they regard as an oppressor nation. Committing to each other and to the task of parenting to traumatized children turns out to be more than the men anticipated and, in the course of a mournful year, Daniel and Matt split up over Daniel's inability to cope with the emotions surrounding the loss of his twin and Matt's residual feelings about becoming "Mr. Dad" and the primary caregiver to the two children. Whether you agree or disagree with the Israeli position on Palestine, you will be forced to weigh your feelings in light of Daniel's emotional roller coaster ride. The issues of gay marriage and gay parenting are also handled in careful and caring detail. The most amazing thing about this book is that it deals with Matt and Daniel not as a gay couple, but as a parenting couple dealing with the needs of children they never planned to raise. This is a sensitive and thought-provoking book that plugs into the assortment of social issues it confronts with truthfulness and realism.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Faust

    This is quite possibly one of the best novels I have read in a LONG time. Frank has an incredible talent using the most beautiful and descriptive language to tell a story, weaving unimaginable tragedy, deeply committed love, complicated international politics, and relatable family dysfunction. Matt and Daniel are a successful, well respected couple living in Northampton, Massachusetts when they discover that Daniel's twin brother and wife were killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, where they This is quite possibly one of the best novels I have read in a LONG time. Frank has an incredible talent using the most beautiful and descriptive language to tell a story, weaving unimaginable tragedy, deeply committed love, complicated international politics, and relatable family dysfunction. Matt and Daniel are a successful, well respected couple living in Northampton, Massachusetts when they discover that Daniel's twin brother and wife were killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, where they were raising their two young children. The distraught men travel with Daniel's parents to identify the bodies, attend the funeral, and sit shiva when they discover that the will of Joel and Ilana, the deceased couple, grants custody of their children to Matt and Daniel. The novel follows the custody battle between the men and Ilana's parents, the intense scrutiny of the American gay couple taking custody of the young Israeli children, the delicate facets of their relationships with their friends, family, one another, and even the media. The novel examines how becoming parents changes an individual and a couple in fundamental ways, the cracks that deepen as the pressures mount. It also manages to look at an intensely complicated and volatile issue such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and humanize it in a way to educate without preaching while encouraging empathy without becoming trite. I can't recommend this book enough. You won't be disappointed.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This book opens up right in the midst of a family tragedy. Matt breaks the news to his partner that Daniel's twin brother, Joel, has been killed along with his wife in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. What further complicates the drama is that Joel and Ilana leave behind two young children. The book is broken into three sections which deal with this aftermath. In the first, custody is complicated by the maternal grandparents, both Holocaust survivors, wanting custody over Daniel and his partner This book opens up right in the midst of a family tragedy. Matt breaks the news to his partner that Daniel's twin brother, Joel, has been killed along with his wife in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. What further complicates the drama is that Joel and Ilana leave behind two young children. The book is broken into three sections which deal with this aftermath. In the first, custody is complicated by the maternal grandparents, both Holocaust survivors, wanting custody over Daniel and his partner (who were willed the children). The second and third sections deal with more issues between grieving and their impact on relationships. It's an emotional read - not only with the heavy aspects of grieving, but also in weaving the mess of politics. Frank expertly brings in varying viewpoints alongside love and genuine emotion, making it so easy to connect with the characters and the story. The writing is good, though there are some discrepancies with point of view at times (some rough transitions and Gal's perspective as a six year old veers into inauthenticity), these relatively minor flaws in no way detract from the overall strength of the book. It's an emotional read and one that any reader can connect with - though having an open mind may be key for some. I definitely plan on reading more from this talented writer!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This novel is fantastic. The best thing I've read in ages. It covers so many relevant topics, and does it smoothly. The gay couple, Matt and Daniel, felt so real to me, I wanted to talk to them! As with any couple they have their ups and downs. Then the sudden shock of adding children to the relationship puts further strain on them. Daniel's twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. The couple's wish is for Daniel to take them back to the U.S. with him. This novel is fantastic. The best thing I've read in ages. It covers so many relevant topics, and does it smoothly. The gay couple, Matt and Daniel, felt so real to me, I wanted to talk to them! As with any couple they have their ups and downs. Then the sudden shock of adding children to the relationship puts further strain on them. Daniel's twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. The couple's wish is for Daniel to take them back to the U.S. with him. This is where one learns so much about Israel and the law there. Also, Israel's treatment of Palestinians comes into question throughout the book. Not the politically correct perspectives we see currently in the news. Again, I cannot emphasize how relevant and real the book felt to me. It certainly mirrored my own relationship, minus the kids. The only false note for me was the young girl, Gal. The author made her too mature in thought and action. No six year old thinks on the level indicated in the book. I wish she could have been more realistic. Other than that, the book was wonderful and so thought provoking. And please Hollywood, take note. This would make a terrific movie if done correctly.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Matt and Daniel live together in New England. Daniel's twin brother and the brother's wife are killed in a bombing in Jerusalem where they live. Daniel is the guardian of his young niece and infant nephew, and will take them from Jerusalem to live with him and Matt. Dealing with such a horrid loss and sudden, unplanned parenthood it's impact on their relationship, and the moving of the children from their home and thousands of miles away from their holocaust survivor maternal grandparents will b Matt and Daniel live together in New England. Daniel's twin brother and the brother's wife are killed in a bombing in Jerusalem where they live. Daniel is the guardian of his young niece and infant nephew, and will take them from Jerusalem to live with him and Matt. Dealing with such a horrid loss and sudden, unplanned parenthood it's impact on their relationship, and the moving of the children from their home and thousands of miles away from their holocaust survivor maternal grandparents will be a mighty challenge. I am just beginning to read, and already my eyes are burning from not being able to stop until exhaustion claims me. Judith Frank is a gifted writer. She puts words to those random, bizarre, horrid thoughts we all have at times stemming from pure ego. When I have thoughts like that I quickly shove them deep down, and just try to move on. The characters do the same. But, we get to glimpse them. For example, Daniel looks at Matt and thinks of what he would do if given the choice of losing his partner or his brother. He chastises himself for such a thought and moves on quickly. There are many of these moments. I love it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I very much enjoyed the first half of this book. The main character, Daniel, is a gay man whose brother and sister-in-law are killed in a terroist bombing in Israel and Daniel is named in the will as custodian of their two children. The book tackles the subjects of religion, gay marriage and adoption, the many emotions of the extended family, the relationship of Daniel and his partner, to name of few, and as I said, in the first half of the book did it very well. The second half of the book was I very much enjoyed the first half of this book. The main character, Daniel, is a gay man whose brother and sister-in-law are killed in a terroist bombing in Israel and Daniel is named in the will as custodian of their two children. The book tackles the subjects of religion, gay marriage and adoption, the many emotions of the extended family, the relationship of Daniel and his partner, to name of few, and as I said, in the first half of the book did it very well. The second half of the book was rather reptitious. I don't consider myself a prude, but I didn't think the graphic sexual descriptions were necessary nor added anything to the story. The end of the book turned into a rather corny love story and didn't seem to fit with the first half of the book. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Igra

    The premise of Frank's book was interesting and at the beginning the reader is drawn right in. But I found that midway it really lost its appeal. The writing is solid but nothing special, the comments about life in Israel ring true but shallow and the clear political stance of the writer, instead of adding depth to the story as it reveals that of one of the main characters, interferes with the development of both the story and the characters. I think the author should have decided whether this w The premise of Frank's book was interesting and at the beginning the reader is drawn right in. But I found that midway it really lost its appeal. The writing is solid but nothing special, the comments about life in Israel ring true but shallow and the clear political stance of the writer, instead of adding depth to the story as it reveals that of one of the main characters, interferes with the development of both the story and the characters. I think the author should have decided whether this was going to be a book about her own political opinions or a dramatic story about family, relationships and cultural differences. As it is, it didn't hold my interest past the middle.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I loved this. I wonder how much of the author's own life she put into it, as she was so detailed and textured about all the characters' emotions. In particular it was interesting for me to read about Daniels experience being a twin, because I'm a twin and I so rarely encounter twins in stories who are not just used as a plot device. This was more like - all people are complicated, and this is part of Daniel's experience in life. I related to so much of this book! I loved this. I wonder how much of the author's own life she put into it, as she was so detailed and textured about all the characters' emotions. In particular it was interesting for me to read about Daniels experience being a twin, because I'm a twin and I so rarely encounter twins in stories who are not just used as a plot device. This was more like - all people are complicated, and this is part of Daniel's experience in life. I related to so much of this book!

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