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All That Matters

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  772 ratings  ·  134 reviews
What's the greatest gift that one person can give another?

Jan Goldstein's stunning debut novel, All That Matters, is a deeply moving, endearing tale of a young woman who, with the help of her feisty grandmother, makes a journey from the very brink of death and despair into a full embrace of life.

Jennifer Stempler has nothing left to lose: the love of her life dumped her, h
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 8th 2004 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  772 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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Sep 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Completely formulaic schmaltz. You know how it ends after about 2 pages. Unlikeable, undeveloped characters, except for the grandmother. Surely, this must've been an assignment for a creative writing class? Acceptable for YA readers. Otherwise, are you kidding? The story may be "moving", but I think I just got a lesson in how to write abook about anything, by rote, really quickly. Come on now. Pretty cover.... ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
It tried really hard but didn’t quite make it.
Isn't it great that problems are so easy to solve!?

Sappy. Painfully sappy. Not one of my better grabs off the library "popular fiction" shelf.

Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
This book was amazing and I would highly recommend it!! It has a little bit of a love story mixed in with the grandmother and granddaughter bonding just after the granddaughter trying to take her life. I was in tears more than once during this book and the more that I think about this book, I do still have a little sadness left in my heart.
Andrew Mattson
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very short but touching story about a grandmother who had very little time left to live and get granddaughter who felt she had no point in living.

When Jennifer tries to commit suicide on a beach in California, after her depression at the death of her mother 5 years ago, a bad relationship with her father, and a boyfriend she loved so much also leaving her, she feels like she has nothing left to live for. This brings her grandmother Gabby, who has emphysema in her lungs, flys to be by
Cheryl Madsen
May 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 16, 2022 rated it liked it
My rating is more like 2.5 stars. The best part of this story is the spunky, determined grandmother Gabby! Her wisdom “each day is a gift….even with the pain” is felt throughout the book, but it takes nearly 200 pages for her suicidal granddaughter to believe it. Sad but predictable ending.
Karla Samman
Es una novela muy sencilla en su forma y contenido. Resalta que lo que de verdad nutre la existencia son las pequeñas cosas hermosas que nunca faltan en la vida, basta saber verlas. El personaje de la abuela me pareció encantador. Quizás me faltó un poco más de trama.
Rhalyn David
May 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
This book brings inspiration full of emotion to me especially in the relationship about grandparents. I find this book light but loving, full of love and left me a spark of hope. I know have a deeper gratitude in living a life and being old is not a burden but a blessing to behold.
Pat Jorgenson Waterchilde
An ok read .
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great story!
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story...about serious sad life issues with heartwarming reality of the power of important relationships especially family/grandparent roles intervening in lives when it matters the most.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely little book that reminds us what is important in life. It is a good idea to ask ourselves, 'What was the gift today?' ...more
Donna Hervieux
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the layers of this book and the character of Jennifer's grandmother, Gabby. A window into the life of a Holocost survivor. Loved it, yes, made me cry at the end. ...more
Melissa Gamm
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was drivel, easily forgettable, and the writing was bad as well. The only thing good about it was short length, so I didn't waste much time with it. ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this book, it really touched me, and that surprised me. Very relatable and well developed story and characters.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book touched my heart on so many levels and I had the best cry of the year, reading this book.
Nancy Richards-Eisener
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Compelling, captivating read about life and death, and about our illusions of choices over either one.
dianne Ball
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In All That Matters, Grandma gives life lessons to her granddaughter. "Each day is a gift. It is all about making life an opportunity. Sometimes gifts come in the form of great sadness." It is the type of reading that you do not want to put down, start to finish. ...more
Carolann Krause
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer had nothing left to loose. Her mother died in a car accident and her father remarried and started another family. He had no time for Jennifer and he was a Hollywood producer. Jennifer decides to take her life on the beach in Venice California. Her father wants her to be sent away for help. Her grandmother Gabby came in from New York to take her back with her to try and Rehabilitate her. The father fought her but she won. Gabby was her mothers mother. She bought her to a doctor for help ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I absolutely enjoyed this small (198 pages) book. I guess I am always going to like books that make me feel something, and this one did.

It starts out being about a young lady that is in the act of committing suicide, but not successfully. Her mother has already died, and her father has moved on marrying again and has a new little daughter, and so Jennifer feels deserted, among other things. She ends up in the hospital for psychological evaluation, and who shows up but her grandmother from the o
Jan 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading this book off and on for a week now. It has beautiful prose that I fall in love with, but the story is just not one I'm currently jonesin for at the moment. I'm sure I will continue to enjoy it though.

The first 3/4 of the book I was really into. The poetry of the authors voice was awesome. The fact that this was written by a male author left me feeling like a miracle had happened, a guy traipsing through a woman's psyche, like he knew what he was talking about? priceless.
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story of life! A young girl tries to commit suicide but is saved. Her life is in turmoil and she feels hopeless. Her parents were divorced and her father pays her little heed. Her mother is her confidant and sole support. Tragically her mother is killed by someone running a stop light. Her world falls apart and she feels alone and hopeless. Her ancient grandmother visits her in the hospital and persuades the doctors and her father to allow the girl to spend time under the grandmother ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was not at all impressed with this. It was a Reading Group recommendation and I can certainly see where the subjects in the book could stir up book club discussion but as far as being a believable, attention-grabbing book--it was not. Jennifer, who is in her early twenties, has recently lost her mother and now her boyfriend has walked out on her. She decides to take her own life. When her plan doesn't work, the doctors feel one option is to place her in a facility where she can work on her iss ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Loved this book - brought tears to me eyes several times and here are a few quotes I liked:

Sunset is that magical time of day when heaven and earth kiss.

p. 135 "There are times when it seems everything good in life has been taken from us. But, if you open your eyes, your heart, you will find there are still gifts waiting for you each day. Sometimes it will not be an easy thing to see them. Sometimes you will have to work to find them.

p. 138 "There is a gift waiting for you each day. If you're w
Shonna Froebel
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel focuses on 23-year-old Jennifer Stempler, a young woman who is severely depressed to the point of attempting suicide. After her father's departure at a young age, she and her mother struggled. When her mother died in a traffic accident her senior year, she struggled with the loss. Now that her serious boyfriend has dumped her, she can't see anything worth living for.
But her grandmother won't give up on her, and fights to take her home to New York and help her find her health again. Al
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm a sucker for cheesy things. I love all things sappy, sweet, and sentimental. That said, I found this book to be - very frequently - too cheesy.

One thing I must say right away: I greatly admire many of the sentiments that Goldstein presents here, especially a concept of finding some gift in every day and the general values of understanding and respecting the history of your grandparents.

However, I felt as a general whole that the characters seemed very much like stock characters. I found them
Tatiana Maia
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Hmmm... Nope
The best I can say about this book is that it is a short one. The oversimplification of depression is to much for me to handle, and still not the worst thing about it. The disrespect of psychologists (that specific scene I'm thinking about enraged me so much) and the author's "in your face" moralistic remarks made me feel like throwing way this book.
Also, the pacing is not good (things like "after this we spent a week doing that, and now we are here") and the third person omniscient
Mary Preston
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book pulled me right in at the beginning . Theres a ton of tradegy but u can tell right away that theres is alot of potential for beauty to happen in the main charactets life even if they only show it in little ways through the book and i love how the woman in the book does not recover from her sucide attempt overnight or fast in anyway or that her sadness is not treated as a phase that will go away cause as someone who has had sucide attempts it takes time to recover from all of that stuff ...more
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Jan Goldstein is the author of two national fiction bestsellers, All That Matters and The Prince of Nantucket, recently optioned for film. His work has been translated into more than a dozen foreign languages and has been selected for the New York Times Hot List as well as by the Book of the Month Club, the Doubleday Book Club, and the Q

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