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All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  5,918 ratings  ·  870 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
Hardcover, 401 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Spiegel & Grau
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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,918 ratings  ·  870 reviews

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Nov 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Dec 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jun 15, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
The Nike Nabokov
Soon to be a movie starring Diane Keaton, Kate Hudson, and someone from the CW.

This isn't a compliment.
Nov 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Jul 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This book reminds us that we never know what is happening in someone else's head. The number of assumptions, miscommunications, and the resulting disasters (large and small) teach us the importance of being open, acknowledging our successes and our failures outright. The book was a bit long, but the ending, when it finally arrived, had a satisfying lack of finality. I listened to this book on Audible during several long drives and found myself going on walks to create space to finish it up upon ...more
Tara Czerwinski
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 01, 2009 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Annabelle Gurwitch
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this a few years ago and I LOVED IT. Janelle is a talented writer. I devoured this book in one night, it was a great fun read that is also very cleverly constructed and seriously addictive. Fun, fun, fun and rather delcious. Janelle has told me she hates the cover, we now share an office, but I hate to say this, I love it. So, there, Janelle, I respectfully disagree. Read it, tell me what you think.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Elizabeth Kennedy
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Precisely what I needed to kick my reading slump to the curb and head into summer. I was in Austin for work, and made it to Book People, which is even more amazing than the rumors. I had a plan: find a sales person and ask them for a recommendation to get me out of my slump. But first, I filled my arms with kids books and presents to make walking around reading the backs of books with a stranger that much easier. I found my guy, crossed my fingers that he had the magical skill that most great ...more
Sarah Greenaway
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s not often that I find a read that’s not crime fiction that I just can’t put down, but I devoured this book. The three womens’ stories are so well rounded and they circle so frustratingly around each other that it’s edge of your seat stuff. I found the set up at the beginning slightly tedious, it labours a little too long on the reasons and causes for their many flaws, but once the pace gets going it’s marvellous; clever, interesting and suspenseful.
Cara Achterberg
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: beach-read
Popcorn read - entertaining. Interesting premise but wish I'd gotten more of the mom perspective and wish she'd spent a little less time out of her mind.
Allison Riding
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Predictable and kind of depressing, but not in a semi-nice, cathartic way.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Once I started I had to see how this s**t show resolved itself but it was improbable and trite.
I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway. It took until page 30 for the book to start to get interesting. I almost gave up on it. The main women are prone to bad decisions which makes this book hard to read but at the same time hard to put down.
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 23, 2012 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.
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Welcome to my home on Goodreads.

A little about me: I'm the author of the novels PRETTY THINGS, WATCH ME DISAPPEAR, ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE. My books have been New York Times bestsellers and published in a dozen countries around the world. My books tend to be page-turners with dysfunctional family relationships at their hearts; while my first two books were more