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All the Numbers

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  439 ratings  ·  105 reviews
“How much do you love me?” Daniel asked his mother.
“I love you all the numbers.”

What begins as a sunny August afternoon on a bucolic lake turns into a tragedy when a Jet Ski swerves fatally close to shore. It’s a day Ellen Banks could never have prepared for, a day no mother should ever have to live through.

The moment her son James is killed, Ellen must face the unimagina
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,318)
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Jules
I freakin love this book. It is by far the best book I read in 2007. I have never actually cried as much as I did reading this book. The way Judy is able to relay the emotions of the characters is amazing, it makes you feel like you personally know these people.
Michele
This Book Should Come With a Warning

Reader, beware. All the Numbers, a well-written novel by author Judy Merrill Larsen, should be read with a note of caution. The author evokes such a sense of pure grief that one cannot help but experience the death of an 11-year old boy named James. I truly felt his mother's pain.

I bought this book after reading a review in the Lakeland Times newspaper, a twice weekly paper serving northern Wisconsin, where local lakes are enjoyed by vacationers, including swi
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Jacki
I really liked this book, don't let the 3 stars make you think that I didn't. I think that my low(er) rating comes more from the fact that I've read 3 depressing books in a row and this one was more of the same. I need to read something cheery before I slip into a depression.

After I read the book, I read the little 'about the author' in the back and it said that she is an english teacher and that this is her first novel. For me, both of these things made absolute sense. The english teacher bit b
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Vivian
I picked this one up after reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and gave up after about 50 pages. I honestly cannot understand the great reviews. Neither the story or the characters grabbed me. I found Ellen to be one dimensional, the writing sophomoric and lacking in originality. Many of the scenes did not feel real - the younger son's shoe shopping expedition, the talk with Melanie at Union Terrace. She calls her sons "babe", her friend calls her "babe". And on and on ..... I thought that ...more
Maureen
I actually had read this book twice, once before my son was born and again sometimes in January 2008 just because this book speaks volumes of a mother's love to her children. Although I should warn you to stock up on some Kleenex! It's a hard book to read, not because of the writing...the writing was beautiful, it's the topic. Every parents nightmare...to lose your child yet the topic was handled so realistically and tenderly. It also speaks about forgiveness & healing. Great great book!
Linda Bryant
I was hesitant to read this book because the tragic story line is so very close to my own. She lost an 11-year-old son, mine was 9. He was hit by a jet ski, mine by a car. She was right there when it happened, so was I. Her child's older brother was also right there when it happened, in my situation, the brother was younger. Both the mother and the brother blame themselves.

The author comes close to describing the day to day gut wrenching emotions that ensue after the death of a son. Ellen decid
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Stacy
Hmm. I liked the beginning---it grabs your emotions right from the start. I mean, as a mother, how would that feel? But then as the chapters progress, the story line doesn't. I found myself frustrated with the mom in the story and with the author herself. I wished she had gone a different route and wished it could have been more creative, more unique. I really wanted to like it.
Colleen Turner
If you are a parent you must read this book. It is hard, and you will cry, but it is a wonderful read. Even if you aren't a parent you will enjoy this book, but I have to say that reading it as a young mother really allowed me to relate to the plot of the story. Ms. Larson tore my heart open and then pieced it back together again with this story.
Jodimartin
I really, really wanted to like this book...probably because Larsen is a local author. It was a bit depressing, but that's not the reason for my two star rating. I just couldn't get 'into' the characters. I didn't care enough about them, I guess. I made myself finish it, though, hoping it would get better.
Claudia
I think the story had its ups and downs. What had started as a catchy story that was pretty well written turned to a bit of a cliche story once the accident was described. Shortly after that moment it became somewhat boring, with an occasional highlight...
Jennie Mars
Update: I'm a little over halfway in this book but I've completely lost interest. Like I stated below, I felt for the death of the child because he reminded me of my brother when he was that age. Now that we are far enough removed from the accident that characters are moving on and they're starting to pursue legal action against the 17-year-old jet-skier, the author has completely dropped anything that I can relate to or care about.

At some point I'll go back and finish this book. Eventually.


Pre
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Mary
Sep 02, 2013 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
As a child, Ellen Banks' son Daniel would ask his mother, "How much do you love me?" Ellen would always answer, "I love you all the numbers."

What begins as a beautifully sunny August afternoon on a bucolic lake, suddenly turns tragic when a Jet Ski swerves fatally close to the shore. It's a day Ellen Banks could never have prepared for, a day no mother should ever have to face.

From the moment her son James is killed, Ellen is thrown into a maelstrom of sadness and grief. She now must face the un
...more
Kyle
I picked this up on the "3 for 2" table at Borders because I was drawn to the cover and the back definitely pulled me in (I am a sucker for a good tragic family drama). The book is so good I could not put it down. I cried many times... the way Judy Larsen is able to actually put into words the grief Ellen is experiencing is truly incredible. Her bitterness towards the parents receiving James' organs and her inner struggle with that decision seems painfully realistic. I found Ellen's support syst ...more
Susan
Judy Merrill Larsen is a friend, and I knew from the subject matter of her book (a mother's grief at losing her child) that it wouldn't be an easy read. I finished it last night, and so much of the emotion of ALL THE NUMBERS has stuck with me. I can't think of much worse than losing a loved one, especially a child, and the novel tackles it head-on. We're first introduced to single mom Ellen and her sons, James and Daniel, as they're heading to a friend's lake house as they've done for the past 1 ...more
Jane Peskara / Audrey Valentine
++++SPOILER+++++

Nice book, great written. But it made me so angry. I mean Ben is guilty he was jetskiing without any Care for others, he was too fast and because of him a little boy had to die...........and well at the end of the book the court finds him guilty but because of Ellens(the mother of the boy that died) says she doesnt want him to go to jail because not another woman should lose her son..he only has to social work.
i mean yes true anger or him in jail wouldnt give her her son back but
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Dawn
Jan 06, 2011 Dawn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves family drama stories.
Recommended to Dawn by: It caught my eye in the bookstore.
I really loved this book and I have added it to my list of books that made me cry my eyes out. The story just pulled me in and really made me feel for the characters. The author really made you feel this mother's heartbreak and played on every mother's worst fear, losing a child. For the most part, it is just a story of this mother's every day life without her child. It brought out all the feelings any mother would have; experiencing the first holiday without them, missing the sound of their lau ...more
Carla
As a mother, the beginning of this book broke my heart. It has a nice tight plot and pretty obvious ending, but I give it four stars for just how it reached in and squeezed my heart.
Rhonda Dunder
This book was painful to read and not because of the plot. I found myself irritated with the under-developed characters. Do yourself a favor and pick up something else!
Cindy
This book is an emotion rollercoaster that tells the story about the death of child and how his mother copes with the loss. When I read the book jacket I thought this would be one that I would cry over (I love books like that!), I didn't shed one tear. While this book was good and kept my attention, it screamed Lifetime movie. The one thing I didn't like about the book was the constant flashbacks... instead of the dozens and dozens of memories of James, I wish the author would have stuck with th ...more
Jodi
Before you start reading this book, be sure to grab a box of tissues. This book isn't just about grief though, it is a book that helps teach us the power of forgiveness and the strength of letting go.

I thought that the ending was a little predictible and some of the characters were a little weak; however I think that this author is one to watch, and for a first book she did really well. I will be keeping her on my radar and looking for her new books.
Evelyn Mairlot
'Het ongeluk' is een verhaal over de pijnlijke strijd van afscheid nemen, het afscheid tussen moeder en zoon. Ongewild, abrupt en vooral heel erg pijnlijk. De auteur weet met de juiste woorden de lezer van begin tot einde mee te nemen in dit rollercoaster van emoties. Een prachtig boek, over zo'n moeilijk thema. Een vlotte schrijfstijl, spanning, emoties, een topper als je het mij vraagt! Zeker één van de beste boeken die ik de laatste jaren gelezen heb.
Erin
I'm giving this book 4 stars because it was very well told but I found it emotionally difficult to read -- the story takes place in Madison WI where I used to live so that added more familiarity ---- a divorced mother is on a lake vacation with friends when her younger son is killed when he is killed by a jet ski in the lake, and the book is about how she, her friends, and her other son deal with it. I found it heartwrenching and believable.
Tammy
I read this book over 2 days. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished it. This book is everything a novel should be. You not only connect with the characters,you FEEL what they are going through. The loss,grief,anger and healing are described in a way that is so utterly real and emotional you can't help but empathise. I think anyone that has ever lost someone special to them should read this book. Totally Amazing.
Aprile
This was a beautiful, yet heartwrenching, story of a mother's loss and coming to terms with her new life. I was moved to tears on many occassions throughout the story. The novel had a nice ending which summed up the book well. I was thrown off by the love story tangled into the plot, and felt it was a little too much for me. I did like the story though, and I would reccommend it if you are looking for a good cryfest.
Jo
Aug 27, 2011 Jo rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
The basic premise is a tear jerker-- if you read this book have tissues handy or you will be wiping your eyes with your shirt. I found the writing to be sophomoric, the dialogue is poor, the characters underdeveloped, the plot fairly predictable, and no one but my husband calls me babe, certainly not my kids. You can definitely tell this is a first novel.
Lexi
Sep 27, 2007 Lexi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Friends
A friend who I trade books with lent me this one, and I loved it! But if you do not like emotional books, this story is not for you. It's about a single mother's journey dealing with the grief of the loss of her son while on vacation. But with help from friends and family, the book eventually comes full circle. Keep the kleenex handy, you'll need them.
Pam
Aug 31, 2011 Pam rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women Friends my age
Basically about the loss of a son and how a mother deals with the grief. Her character is written very real; her thoughts and what she wants to say but holds back; her anger at many things; her questioning of herself. There is some humor and some very descriptions of two brothers and the way they interact with each other.
Jackie
Wow! I cried many times throughout this book, and I truly think I felt the death of Ellen's little boy on some level. I also think this truly struck a cord in my me, as a mother. I did smell my kids, memorize their appearance and remember to just take the time because time is precious. Amazing read from an unknown author!
Ginger
Jan 22, 2012 Ginger rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All Mothers
Wow...what an emotional read! I've had this book for years, just sitting on my shelf. I'm so glad I picked it up the other day & started reading it. I just can't imagine a mother losing her child! It's hard to write this review as I don't want to give anything away. My only advice, have the box of tissues handy!
Kelly
I think I would have given this book a higher rating if it wasn't so completely sad. The author pulled me deep into the sorrow experienced by the main character and for that I think she is a genius. I read when I walk my dogs down our country road and every single day I had tears streaming down my face.
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Judy Merrill Larsen taught high school English in Wisconsin and Missouri for fifteen years. Her debut novel All the Numbers was published in 2006; she is currently at work on her second novel. She currently lives in Kirkwood, MO with her husband and their five children."
More about Judy Merrill Larsen...
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