All I Love and Know
By Judith Frank
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 07/15/2014
My Rating: 4 Stars
Told 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?
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, overcome challenges, 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!