Saturday, January 3, 2015

All I Love and Know

All I Love and Know
Judith Frank

All I Love and Know: A Novel

Genre: Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): 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?

Review: This book dealt with a relationship between two gay men, religious differences, parenting two traumatized children, the death of loved ones, the Israeli/Palestinian struggle, world politics, HIV, open relationships, and gay marriage.  It was an awful lot of issues to fit into one novel, even though the novel was long, and I think I would have enjoyed it more had the focus been narrower.  While I was quite interested to read how the struggles between a gay couple raising children are very similar to those a straight couple would face, especially how the two people in the couple react towards challenges and towards each other (there were several scenes where they acted just like my husband and I), I was less than thrilled to read graphic gay sex scenes in the latter half of the book.  I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Matt and Daniel grow throughout the novel, and the kids learn to adjust to their new lives.  This book was eye opening in many ways, but too graphic and political for me.

Rating: 3 stars

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