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All about Lulu

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3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,097 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
Weakness has always been a concern for William Miller: growing up vegetarian in a family of bodybuilders will do that to a person. But William is further weakened by the death of his mother, the arrival of a new step-mother, and his irrepressible crush on his new step-sister, Lulu. As Lulu faces down her own challenges, William watches his life shift into tumult and despai ...more
ebook, 345 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Soft Skull Press (first published May 28th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bob Redmond
Sep 26, 2008 Bob Redmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the inverse of Ms. Hempel Chronicles (see my review). It lacks the literary polish of Shun-lien Bynum's writing (though it's plenty accomplished), but it DOES recognize that THE story is not the obvious story. Evison gets it, since the title of the book is ALL ABOUT LULU but it's also bigger than that.

Lulu is the narrator's siste (STEP-sister, that is) on whom he has a crush beyond crushes: he's totally in love with her. This love is returned but in complicated ways. That's the cent
...more
Pete
Nov 03, 2008 Pete rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"All About Lulu" is Jonathan Evison's debut-- a light, easy readin' coming of age novel. A boy falls in love with his new stepsister, and then inexplicably becomes obsessed with her for the rest of his youth and into early adulthood. The family is quirky: they’re bodybuilders. And there are plenty of nicely written sentences throughout.

It's a beach read that aspires to literature. Evison opens with a reference to The Catcher in the Rye, which got my suck-dar up in a big way. He structures the ve
...more
Jason Pettus
Sep 01, 2008 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, hipster, emo
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

I've talked about this subject here before, but it seems to be one that comes up again and again at CCLaP, regarding how much of the incidental details of our lives influence what we think of any given book -- how old we are when we read it, what in life we've been exposed to already, what kind of moo
...more
Josh
Jun 22, 2008 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Jonathan Evison's newest book "All About Lulu" is the one of those brilliant coming of age novels that make you agonize and adore everything about maturity. The story's narrator Will is a characters who is not beautiful or extraordinary. However he is incredibly real and every page in the book has Will slapping the reader in the face or making him fall out of their chair laughing (and occasionally weeping).

I was given the book as a gift as I had not heard of it before. I cannot explain how much
...more
Marfita
Nov 20, 2008 Marfita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: omg-what-is-this
What's the big effing secret?! Just TELL people!
Paul
Sep 29, 2008 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Lulu has all the makings of a good book. It's a complexly woven and somewhat original love-and-loss tale with emotion-inducing characters told by a seemingly warm and friendly narrator named Will. Unfortunately, as things progress, the author amasses more and more of the makings of a bad book. Awkward turns of phrase, cliched plot-turns, and even bouts of just plain boring filler. Things are more or less OK until Part Two (of two), when Lulu sort of disappears and leaves Will to fend for himself ...more
Christi
Jul 13, 2008 Christi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
OK, so I read this book for my book group and really enjoyed it. I would have given it 3.5 stars, but I couldn't because I can't figure out how to do that .5 on this thing.

I was really into the book until things started getting a little convoluted. I'm usually one of those people who can totally suspend my disbelief, but when the secret at towards the end was revealed (I won't ruin it for anyone)I was really disappointed. I just didn't buy that no one would have told the kids etc.

Other than that
...more
Chris Swann
May 31, 2008 Chris Swann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's had to deal with unrequited love, which is pretty much everyone on the planet
This is what Wally Lamb wanted to do with "She's Come Undone." Honestly, I think Jonathan Evison has done one better with "All About Lulu." Outrageous, funny, heartbreaking, this is a must read.
Amy
Jul 13, 2012 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book: All About Lulu

Author: Jonathan Evison

Published: July 2008 by Soft Skull Press, 340 pages

First Line: ”First, I’m going to give you all the Copperfield crap, and I’m not going to apologize for any of it, not one paragraph, so if you’re not interested in how I came to see the future, or how I came to understand that the biggest truth in my life was a lie, or, for that matter, how I parlayed my distaste for hot dogs into an ’84 RX-7 and a new self-concept, do us both a favor, and just stop now
...more
Oriana
Aug 11, 2008 Oriana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Oriana by: the L magazine (among many others, which I forget)
post-read: All About Lulu is a really really good book. Really! It's one of those books that moves so fast and smoothly, it really pushes you along, hurrying you toward brink after brink; though really it's always the same brink, it's just delayed for over three hundred pages. Plus it's really funny. That's super hard to do well! Humor is so subjective, especially in book form, but I was smiling about every other page, and actually chuckling – aloud, on a crowded subway – at least once per chapt ...more
Rachel
Oct 10, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an overall pretty enjoyable read. I laughed out loud a few times at Will's strange body-building, meat-obsessed family. Not to mention his strange cast of friends: Acne Scar Joe, Immigrant Eugene, freaky school counselor, and ex-boyfriend Troy of Will's obsession: stepsister Lulu.

That being said, when I finally find out the BIG secret (which was pretty easy to spot much earlier on in the book), I had a hard time seeing 1)Why was it such a big deal that it had to be kept secret, and
...more
Gloria
Jun 17, 2010 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again-- lamenting the lack of the 1/2 star rating-- to put it firmly between "I liked it" and "I really liked it."

I'm certainly not averse to reading books where there aren't any neat or tidy endings. In fact, some of my favorites end precisely that way-- no Disney-esque "And they lived happily ever after."
But, dang ... okay, this book really depressed me.

I have to admit, I read it in basically a day-- stealing moments whenever I could from my daily duties-- drawn back to my favorite reading cha
...more
Brian
Nov 10, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2008
As I greedily read All About Lulu, with the wit dripping from my chin and philosophical musings staining my favorite t-shirt, I finished this meal feeling full and satisfied.

All About Lulu is a book exploring the American psyche from the 1960's up to the 1990's through the mind of Will Miller, a runt in a family of bodybuilders. And though the main protagonist is Will, it really is all about Lulu, a force that not only changes Will's life, but kind of changed mine too.

Mr Evison weaved this tale
...more
Jay
Mar 03, 2016 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Evison tells the story of a young boy with a crush, on his step-sister, and how that crush evolves throughout their young lives, for better and worse. It’s the story of them and their family, helmed quite vividly by a father competing for various body building trophies over the years. (The Arnold makes an appearance.) Evison handles both the boy’s perspective on young love and the story of the odd extended family very well. I felt I knew people a lot like the characters in the book. And Evison c ...more
Rebecca
Jun 23, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the early pages of "All About Lulu" we follow Will through the death of his mother and his father's subsequent remarriage to his grief counselor, Willow. His new stepmother also brings with him the attractive-in-her-own-way Louise (nickname: Lulu). Will, with his abnormally low voice for a 9-year-old, had stopped speaking after his mother's death, and it is only through Lulu that he rediscovers his voice.

Lulu and Will forge a seemingly unbreakable friendship and eventually become pseudo-girlf
...more
Jim Thomsen
Aug 01, 2010 Jim Thomsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This debut novel deserves the avalanche of praise it's received. It's crazy but controlled, exhilarating but never exhausting, outrageous but not outlandish, introspective while exhibiting plenty of external life and reach. And Evison, through fictional doppelganger William Miller, displays a blazingly original voice that's hilarious, touching and thoroughly arresting. I don't want to be Will Miller, but I sure as hell want to go bowling with him and listen to him ramble about music and fast foo ...more
Lauren
Feb 09, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can I say I "read" a book when I skimmed the last third?

Book summary: Narrator is in love with his stepsister Lulu. This book charts their relationship from Age 10 to adulthood.

This book started out promising -- kind of cute, quaint, quite funny at times. And I liked the narrator's sweet obsession with his stepsister. I can definitely identify with adoring someone so deeply that you log their every movement. So, in that way it was a sweet love story. Oh, and I liked the trajectory of Lulu into a
...more
Emily Hill
May 20, 2012 Emily Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Hornet Sting to the Heart. Put down whatEVER the f**k you are reading now and pick up 'All About Lulu' . . .

Last month I attended 'Field's End' a writer's conference on Bainbridge Island at which Evison, the local writer-hero, waxed on hysterically as the conference Launch Speaker. He leaves an impression on you. I was compelled to check out his debut novel, All About Lulu.

Originally All About Lulu seemed to be about coming of age, then dysfunctional families, then tangled attractions, then
...more
Kerry
Oct 01, 2008 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I'm going to cheat here a little and post the same review I posted for Jonathan's novel on Amazon.com:

Everyone can relate to this wonderfully quirky debut novel from Jonathan Evison. The story speaks with honesty, wistfulness, humor, and sadness to anyone who ever felt like an outcast even within their own family, anyone who remembers the thrill of finding that one person who "gets" them, anyone who felt the flush of first love and the crushing blow of that love disappearing, and to anyone who s
...more
Louise Brown
Oct 07, 2008 Louise Brown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wes Anderson fans
Recommended to Louise by: the author
There's something almost epic about this book - I'm not sure whether it's the complexity of the relationships central to the book, or just the array of characters you're introduced to, but I kept thinking it was like the literary equivalent of the director's cut of a Wes Anderson film.

However, as is my view on most director's cuts, although at times it felt like a glorious technicolour wallow (quite in keeping with the intensity of the obsessional relationship) it went on long enough for the plo
...more
Dennis
Nov 14, 2008 Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the review I posted on Amazon ... my first. It's worthy.

This is true love ...

Jonathan Evison's pain is our gain. ALL ABOUT LULU reads like a poem, all rhythm and grace. Effortless from the reader's end, which makes the mastery all the more impressive.

But beyond being so damn readable, it's one of those rare moments in literature where an author wrestles Eros onto the page and leaves us all nodding with bittersweet understanding. Anyone who's ever fallen hard will know what Will's going t
...more
Barb
I listened to the audio version of this book and loved hanging out with Will Miller on my way to work this past week.

I enjoy Jonathan Evison's sense of humor, I also listened to 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving' and found the quirky characters he created for that story charming.

Will and Lulu charmed me as well. I was laughing out loud at the 1980s era put down and insults Will and his brothers sling at each other. I love the reader, Michael Mish, his voice is perfect for this story.

I e
...more
Modern Times Bookstore
So, the title pretty much gives it away: Will, our runty, brooding, vegetarian protagonist, is hopelessly obsessed with Lulu. Too bad she's his stepsister. C'est la vie. The character development throughout the novel is stellar, from Will's lovable, meat crazed, bodybuilding dad, to his knucklehead twin brothers, to Will's assortment of friends, or – if I'm permitted a trashy magazine moment, frienemies. And don't be surprised if in the course of reading, you find yourself obsessing over Lulu. A ...more
Sheena
Dec 04, 2013 Sheena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Evison takes on the uncomfortable topics of obsession and other mental health issues with consistent respect. I appreciate his exploration of the small details which make up a life and the nuances of family. The open ended finale felt a propo since we never knew Will without his blinding fixation of Lulu.

I felt sad throughout this book, and when specks of humor came up it was like tiny beams of sunlight streaming through an overcast sky. Coming of age stories often have a twinge of anxiety for
...more
Eliza
Sep 29, 2008 Eliza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
Jun 05, 2008 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was good....maybe not as fantastic as Chris made it out in his review. What I really liked was really good character development. I figured out the conclusion well before the end, which was a bit disappointing, but overall, I thought it was an interesting and good read. A bit quirky, but that was part of the charm.
Kalen
Jun 10, 2013 Kalen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**** 1/2

I really, really loved this book despite rolling my eyes at the big reveal. Over time, I'm sure I'll shift this one to five stars and I know I'll be talking about it a lot. That Jonathan Evison can write.
Joy
Sep 21, 2009 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just read an article about Evison in the Seattle Times. He's from Bainbridge Island and spent about 20 years in dead-end jobs before he wrote this book which is going to be a movie. "Let that be a lesson for the kids," he said. In other words never give up!
Brennie
Jun 09, 2013 Brennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evison is clever. He adds wit and humor to the most difficult relationships. The reader walks away believing in the power of "family" and connection. (Read May 2013)
Sonja
Oct 02, 2008 Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was thinking this was going to be funny, and it was ... yet also intense and a bit distressing. I enjoyed it immensely and found Evison's quirky characters to be very appealing.
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Jonathan Evison is an American writer best known for his debut novel All About Lulu published in 2008, which won critical acclaim, including the Washington State Book Award. In 2009, Evison was awarded a Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. A second novel, West of Here, will be released in February 2011 from Algonquin. Editor Chuck Adams (Water for Elephants, A Rel ...more
More about Jonathan Evison...

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“People really do change. Don't let anyone tell you differently. That the future does not conform to the past is not the exception, but the rule.” 9 likes
“First, I'm going to give you all the Copperfield crap, and I'm not going to apologize for any of it, not one paragraph, so if you're not interested in how I came to see the future, or how I came to understand that the biggest truth in my life was a lie, or, for that matter, how I parlayed my distaste for hot dogs into an '84 RX-7 and a new self-concept, do us both a favor, and just stop now.” 4 likes
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