Book of the Week

Each week, we'll let you know about the new releases the editors of O and couldn't stop reading.
Love All

Love All

272 pages; Holt
Try and find an American who doesn't like a small town. Sure, not everybody wants to actually live in one, but they do fantasize about the requisite porch swings, clapboard and July 4th fireworks. In this winsome debut novel, Cooperstown, New York, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, is the village around which the plot turns. Just about every member of the Obermeyer family is in a thinly disguised state of relationship meltdown. The most complex story belongs to Hugh, principal of Seedlings preschool, who has just (almost) slept with the mother of one of his 4-year-old students. Back home, his wife Anne's mother has just died; his father-in-law, suffering from dementia, has moved in; and, his teenage daughter is secretly in love with her best friend. On top of all this, a copy of a racy, long-forgotten novel called The Sex Cure has surfaced, dredging memories and anger from the real live townspeople on which it was based. Wright is a sure-handed writer who's at her strongest when describing the vicissitudes of marriage, which she does with great heart and originality. For example, Anne reflects on Hugh's boxers as "bought by Anne at a mall reached in Hugh's car while Anne's was in an auto-body shop at Fly Creek that Hugh despised because they overcharged but it was Anne's car, although Hugh's name was on the title because Anne had points on her license from when she was caught speeding—80 in a 45—on the way to the airport to pick up her parents." All of which so aptly sums up Anne's conclusion that, "Their lives were knit together in ways she could only begin to imagine." As a reader, you can take and apply this reflection to every character in the book, be that husband, wife, father, mother, child or grandparent. Love All is a study in intimacy—how we create it, how we bungle it; and, most of all, how we yearn for and require it, no matter how small or large our daily geography.
— Leigh Newman