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All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

3.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,744 Ratings  ·  762 Reviews
A smart, comic page-turner about a Silicon Valley family in free fall over the course of one eventful summer.

When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for — until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partn
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Published May 27th 2008 by Random House Audio (first published 2008)
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Nov 17, 2009 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a modern day morality tale in chick lit clothing. It draws upon every cliché of Suburban Wealthy Family Gone Wrong: divorce, teen pregnancy, anomie, pathological consumerism, alcoholism, drug addiction, promiscuity, overweightness, underweightness, bankruptcy---set in, no surprises here, California's Siicon Valley. You name the poison, the Miller family has quaffed it. Of course, the biggest, baddest villain is the husband/father, who announces in the first few pages that he is taking th ...more
Jun 20, 2011 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
The women of the Miller family are all falling apart.

On the day her husband's company offers its IPO, their stock holdings rocket up in price, making them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Janice is hoping that this culmination of years of hard work will be the spark their marriage needs to get back on track by allowing them to not worry about money. What she doesn't seem coming is the letter from her husband, informing her that he's leaving her and wants a divorce. To make matters worse, he's h
Dec 25, 2008 jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is another testament to American wealth, and the relative terms in which it is viewed. In the first chapter, Janice Miller discovers her husband's company's IPO will make them millionaires - $300 million, to be exact. More money than anyone can imagine. Suddenly, with that number in the forefront, their existing life seems poor, their house modest, Janice's Porche Cayenne a middle class car. Then Janice finds out her husband is divorcing her, and the money is suddenly a background to h ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Manday rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not a single character in this book was likable. Most of them had no redeeming qualities at all. One of the comments on the back says it is supposed to be satirical, but if that's what it is going for it seriously failed. We could call this book "portrait of a seriously overly materialistic, messed up, stereotypical Californian/Silicon Valley McMansion family." It was not enlightening because it was so stereotypical, it was not heart warming because the resolution was understated. It was not sat ...more
Holly Burns
Nov 02, 2008 Holly Burns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this -- never wanted it to end. The cover makes it look far less appealing than it actually was -- I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I hadn't read a review of it somewhere else. But it was brilliant: funny and clever and engaging, and the characters were absolutely spot-on.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was disappointed by this book. I realize it is a satire but the story could stand at least a few comic, lighthearted moments. I found the story line depressing and it didn't let up - - I wanted to at least have a triumphant ending but it didn't happen. This book gave me nothing - not even entertainment. The story was well-written but I found myself just wanting to get through it.
The Nike Nabokov
Soon to be a movie starring Diane Keaton, Kate Hudson, and someone from the CW.

This isn't a compliment.
Jul 29, 2009 Kari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's hard for me to identify with this woman's life - a woman whose husband becomes a multibillionaire, ditches his wife whose oldest daughter is going bankrupt and 15-year old daughter is sleeping around trying to find love. So, the mom starts using meth to cope. She has the willpower at the end to stop on her own, however...that doesn't sound accurate to me. It didn't influence my soul or uplift me. It was mildly entertaining.
Mar 18, 2010 Kaarin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown presents the interwoven story of one family's meltdown in the face of the American Dream. From the outside Janice Miller seems to have it all - her husband's company just went public making them millionaires, her eldest, Margaret, is an editor of a successful feminist magazine, and her youngest, Lizzie, is experiencing a bump in popularity due to recent weight loss. Alternating voices between the three female protagonists, Brown quickly shatters ...more
This book looks into the lives of three women (mother and daughters from three generations) who come together again when divorce shakes up their family. Each chapter switches to one of the three women's perspectives of the events. The novel starts off fast, diving right into the main storyline. However, after reading about two hundred pages, I realized that nothing had really happened. Here I was, more than halfway done with the book, and there wasn't any movemnet of the story past the first cou ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Ari rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2009 Maren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm honestly amazed by how much I liked this book. Yes, it's blurbed consistently as a great "summer" read and it's got "chick lit" (in a bad way) written all over it, but it REALLY stands out more than you think it will. Maybe it's because I just finished my first year in San Francisco that I was so drawn into this story of a once-wealthy family and their "descent" (seriously, it deserves a word that strong) into the more complicated side of life after their company goes public. It's not about ...more
Jul 29, 2010 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A colleague recommended this to me as a light summer read, so I was astounded to see that it was so well-written. I should have read the last page first, because when I read the author's biography I found that she had been a journalist; makes sense.

This author used a very simple format of one chapter per character in a rotating manner, and this time it worked. It worked because the characters were so well-developed, interesting and well-developed that you really wanted to see what each was going
Jul 30, 2014 Meri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The only delectable thing about this book was the cover. Unfortunately the ice cream was a mirage; instead I ended up slogging through the most tedious, vapid, boring novel I've read in recent memory. Each character is more superficial than the next - a portrait of writing with the absence of true human emotion and/or complexity. Even the title of the book - and the manner in which it is introduced - is as self-important and obnoxious as the characters. And spoiler alert - everyone is happy in t ...more
Mar 17, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Janelle's book was a really easy read -- meaning this is the kind of fiction that grabs you early on and you can't wait to come back to it when you have to put it down. Each of the women in the book, from the mother to her 28 year old and 14 year old daughters, is complex, working through difficult issues that are nonetheless easily relatable. I know Janelle's a great writer but I was really impressed with her first novel -- and I look forward to the next one.
Feb 02, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
Funny that this was billed as a great beach read - I like my escapist reads to be a bit less populated with unlikable characters and relentlessly dire situations, no matter how comic. The three women in the family were well drawn and interesting in a train wreck kind of way, but the father/husband was too ridiculously evil to be taken seriously. But I guess that made his comeuppance more fun.
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
What a very beautiful but sad book. The story revolves around a group of 2 women and 1 teenager who are family and are all dealing with lively events and crossroads in their lives. They come together to support and love one another, but not without their share of disappointments and dilemmas along the way. I felt the pain of Janice, Margaret and Lizzie. The author does a great job in detailing the emotions and feelings of each one.

I am very surprised that this book doesn't have a higher rating.
Carla JFCL
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tara Czerwinski
My supermarket sells used books for a buck (proceeds benefit breast cancer research), and so this is where I picked this book up. If I had been in a bookstore, All We Ever Wanted... would have been overlooked. I normally don't do "beach reads" or anything that has a pastel cover. Don't ask me why. But I felt an immediate kinship with the title -- sometimes I have that insatiable desire to have it all -- and let's face it: the ice cream, albeit a melted mess, looks pretty damn good.

In short, glad
May 18, 2010 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Husband and wife, married for 29 years. Marriage falls apart. Two daughters - one 28, one 14. There was certainly a part of me that wanted to love this book, and perhaps gain some perspective.

It really started off wonderfully, or as wonderful as reading about a crumbling relationship can. The story is told from three different perspectives: Janice, the mother; Margaret, her 28 year old daughter; and Lizzie, her youngest daughter. I actually really enjoyed Brown's writing. Fluid, descriptive, vir
Jul 19, 2010 Isabelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this novel was inspired by a Bauhaus song and refers to a commencement address given by one of the main characters. I had picked up a copy at the Book Expo in New York two years ago and given the fact that I was caught up with finishing my novel in the last two years, had not yet read it. Having no clue what the story line was about, I brought it to the cottage, thinking the cover inspired summer reading in the hammock.

Boy, was I right. I have not been able to put it down!

The story
I read this book in a week, which is pretty quick for me, but it also is a good indicator of the type of book this is--a really fast, easy, highly entertaining summer beach read.

The book centers around 3 women--a mom and her 2 daughters--who live in a wealthy community in the Bay Area. Beneath the surface of their perfect suburban facade, all 3 of them are hiding huge problems and struggling with inner demons. Their relationships with each other are dysfunctional at best, as they cope with the
Jun 23, 2012 Alexandria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women looking for something a little more mature than chick lit or light summer reading
Recommended to Alexandria by: Lisa Martin
I read this book in one sitting through an overcast Saturday afternoon and evening. The praise on its cover describes "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" as the perfect summer read, and I would agree.

But the 400-page novel is more than light chick lit —there's a real story line that isn't driven by romantic notions and character development that most women would probably find relatable. In a nutshell: Janice, a Silicon Valley housewife, is left by her husband the day his company goes public. He
Aug 08, 2009 Gail rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I had a hard time completely rooting for the main characters. The self absorption of Janice and Margaret in their own respective worlds made it hard for me to be totally sympathetic to their plights.
However; the book touches very authentically on the materialistic demands (and acceptance) our society has engrained in our culture. So perhaps it isn't so far fetched that Janice would be completely blindsighted by her husband's infidelity and betraya
Jul 27, 2009 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a family whose entire way of life is being pulled apart at the seams during one summer. The dad, Paul Miller, is a CEO of a pharamaceutical company that has just gone public and now he/they are IPO millionaires. The day this happens, his wife Janice awakens alone in bed and is thrilled that now there is no worries about money forever and ever. She makes a mental list of how to procede through the day, ending with a huge celebration. Her day is quickly jolted when her tennis pa ...more
Sep 20, 2013 Lightblue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
Una Fragile Perfezione è la storia di Janice, una donna che ha sacrificato tutta se stessa per il marito e le due figlie. Ha rinunciato ai suoi studi, alle sue aspirazioni, ma ora è in procinto di godersi la sua ricompensa. Ha appena saputo, infatti, che suo marito, dirigente di una compagnia farmaceutica, è diventato miliardario grazie ad un farmaco contro la calvizie. Nel momento in cui dovrebbe festeggiare scopre che il suo matrimonio è una farsa, in quanto il
Karen Germain
Jan 31, 2011 Karen Germain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For years, I have seen Janelle Brown’s “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” prominently displayed at bookstores, but I just never bought it. I finally saw an autographed copy on sale at my local Borders and decided to give it a shot. What’s not to love a book that has an ice cream sundae on the cover?

This book was impossible to put down. I raced through it in less than a day and felt a bit sad when I reached the end. I don’t think that it is one of the best books that I have ever read, but it wa
May 03, 2016 Lora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any book that keeps my attention, I'm going to rate at least a 3. I gave this one 4 stars because the characters were very believable. This story is about an upper middle class turned very wealthy small family of four who, for all appearances sake, many would envy. But appearances are all they are. The whole family has major issues (don't want to spoil anything with details). Just proves money doesn't buy happiness.
Dec 10, 2009 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is depressing, I'll admit that... But for some reason, I couldn't stop reading. The way the author characterizes the Silicon Valley, where I live, is pretty apt. Although I don't know anyone who lives in this wealthy, high-pressure social climate, I'm sure they exist. A woman is dumped by her husband right after his IPO earns him millions, and her daughter, who is deeply in debt but tells no one, comes home to help her get through it—but really to be supported because she's totally bro ...more
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Janelle Brown is the author of the novels THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE and ALL WE EVER WANTED IS EVERYTHING, which was a New York Times bestseller and published in a dozen countries around the world. An essayist and journalist, her writing appears regularly in Vogue, The New York Times, Elle, Wired, Self, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. Previously, she spent five years as a senior ...more
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