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All This Life

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Morning rush hour on the Golden Gate Bridge. Amidst the river of metal and glass a shocking event occurs, leaving those who witnessed it desperately looking for answers, most notably one man and his son Jake, who captured the event and uploaded it to the internet for all the world to experience. As the media swarms over the story, Jake will face the ramifications of his actions as he learns the perils of our modern disconnect between the real world and the world we create on line.

In land-locked Arizona, as the entire country learns of the event, Sara views Jake’s video just before witnessing a horrible event of her own: her boyfriend’s posting of their intimate sex tape. As word of the tape leaks out, making her an instant pariah, Sara needs to escape the small town’s persecution of her careless action. Along with Rodney, an old boyfriend injured long ago in a freak accident that destroyed his parents’ marriage, she must run faster than the internet trolls seeking to punish her for her indiscretions. Sara and Rodney will reunite with his estranged mother, Kat, now in danger from a new man in her life who may not be who he – or his online profiles – claim to be, a dangerous avatar in human form.

With a wide cast of characters and an exciting pace that mimics the speed of our modern, all-too-connected lives, All This Life examines the dangerous intersection of reality and the imaginary, where coding and technology seek to highlight and augment our already flawed human connections. Using his trademark talent for creating memorable characters, with a deep insight into language and how it can be twisted to alter reality, Joshua Mohr returns with his most contemporary and insightful novel yet.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published April 7, 2015

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About the author

Joshua Mohr

13 books312 followers
JOSHUA MOHR is the author of five novels, including “Damascus,” which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written “Fight Song” and “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List. His novel “All This Life” was recently published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 134 reviews
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
August 26, 2015
Tremendously thought-provoking, compelling, and slightly disturbing, Joshua Mohr's All This Life is an intriguing commentary on the chaos wrecked by society's constant obsession with social media, and how it simultaneously connects and disconnects us. (And yet, here I sit, posting this review on my blog and multiple social media sites...)

It seemed like just an ordinary morning on the Golden Gate Bridge. Countless commuters are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, including Paul and his teenage son Jake. Then suddenly the morning doldrums are broken by a seemingly unbelievable group of people who appear from out of nowhere—and then absolutely astound onlookers with their actions. Jake, riveted in disbelief, captures the entire incident on his phone and quickly posts the video, achieving viral success and garnering online fame—and criticism.

At the same time, in a small town, 18-year-old Sara is distracted by the coverage of the cataclysmic event in San Francisco by her own media event: her boyfriend has posted their sex tape online, and she becomes both a pariah and an online obsession. Needing to get out of town, to escape the criticism and pointing fingers, she enlists the help of Rodney, her old boyfriend whose injury in a freak accident three years earlier derailed his life and their relationship, but not his feelings for Sara.

As the lives of Paul, Jake, Sara, Rodney, and others are affected and transformed by tweets, social media posts, text messages, and online videos, they also must confront problems they never expected. They struggle with being judged, cajoled, criticized, and occasionally praised by people they've never, and will never, meet, and they'll also deal with feeling more alone than ever before despite being connected to people all over the world.

"This is how the world works. This is why we're smarter now: We share everything with everyone, have access to each sight and sound. We are informed and connected!"

As someone who is pretty active on many different forms of social media, but sometimes falls prey to obsessing over the number of friends, followers, likes, or retweets I get, I found this book really fascinating and powerful. Mohr weaved a number of seemingly disparate storylines together, and all but one seemed like a story you'd hear about from a friend, or perhaps see through a post on your friend's Facebook wall or Twitter feed, or perhaps see on a YouTube video. He is an excellent storyteller, and this book really made me think.

If I have any criticism of All This Life , it's the appearance of one random character whose presence threatened to derail the entire book, but luckily Mohr didn't let his characters fall prey. So many issues, emotions, and tough questions are pondered here, but the book never really seems heavy; it seems very current and relevant. Well done, Joshua Mohr!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Lori.
1,414 reviews55.9k followers
April 1, 2017
Read 3/30/15 - 4/2/15
4 Stars - Highly Recommended, I mean, c'mon, it's a Mohr!
Pages: 304
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Releasing: July 2015

If you're reading this review, you are most likely either hanging out on my blog right now or viewing it on Goodreads. And you probably discovered that I had written the review because you saw it in your feed burner, followed the link from our Facebook post, clicked on the link when I tweeted about it, or saw it in your Goodreads updates.

God bless social media, huh? It's insanely immediate, connecting complete strangers at the click of the mouse to news, videos, rants, raves, and yeah, even book reviews like this one. It helps us feel like we are a part of something bigger. We can sample and download the latest music. We can stream the biggest blockbusters. We can post videos of cute cuddly kittens and people falling flat on their faces. We can tag friends in our photos. We can contact authors and publishers and request review copies. We can comment on everything, everywhere, at any time. We can cyber bully. We can subtweet. We can stalk. We can lurk. We can embarrass and astonish. With social media, we can be whoever we want to be. We can become an overnight success or the brunt of one of the biggest online bash sessions.

And in Joshua Mohr's All The Life, we experience just how quickly social media can connect us while it simultaneously tears us apart.

It starts out with a morning like any other for Paul and his son Jake, crawling through the morning commute traffic on the San Francisco Bridge - Paul lost in his own thoughts and Jake randomly recording strangers outside his car window. Until he spots the marching band, catching their tragic statement on tape and uploading it to YouTube -an experience that creates a nasty chain of events that will change his life, and the lives of so many others, forever.

Jake sits back and let's the video do its thing, reaching tens of thousands and ultimately millions, as the social media and news outlets latch on to it, sky rocketing him into near celebrity status. Paul grows concerned and then desperate as Jake withdraws further from him, while Jake struggles with his new found fame, still trying to digest what he witnessed that day on the bridge, and misjudges the lengths his followers will go for him.

In Arizona, Sara's watching Jake's video of the marching band when she discovers through a series of texts that her (ex)boyfriend has just posted one of their sex tapes online. Within days, the tape goes viral. Distraught at how her small town will react, Sara confides in her neighbor, and long ago crush, Rodney, who suffers from a debilitating speech impediment caused by a freak accident back when they were just kids. Born partly from her desperation to escape the wrath of her over protective brother, Sara and Rodney make plans to head to California to find Rodney's mother, who abandoned him when the stress of his accident became too much for her to bear.

As all of this is happening, Noah, brother of the one of marching band members, attempts to come to terms with what his sister has done and views Jake's video. Stuck in a cycle of self blame and near denial, Noah embarks on a mission to say goodbye to Tracey in the very place the video was recorded.

In his most character-heavy novel to date, Mohr masterfully moves this group of lonely, lost souls together, as they each struggle to come to terms with the things they've lost. Sara, who grieves the loss of her privacy; Rodney, the loss of his former self; Jake, the loss of his innocence; Paul, the lack of a relationship with his son; Noah, blaming himself for the loss of his sister; and Kathleen, her choice to abandon Rodney when he needed her most.

All This Life shines a spotlight on social media's ugly side. It's a stark reminder of how quickly we can lose control of the things that define us, the things we hold most private, and warns us to be wary of what we share. How the smallest ripple can cause the greatest waves. And how life can quickly spiral out of our grasp and become larger than we ever imagined. In a way, I feel Mohr's novel challenges us to appreciate the life we have, to live it for what's it worth, aware of the scrapes and scars we might endure but not to become crippled by them, not allowing ourselves to get bogged down with the things we can't control.

Worth a read if you're a social media addict like me!
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 21 books277 followers
February 20, 2015
It didn't occur to me until just now that All This Life is like a mash up of Dave Eggers and Richard Brautigan. A cast of misfits and outcasts unplug form their technology enhancements (sarcasm ON, irony turned up to 11…) to converge on the Golden Gate Bridge. A triumph of broken people trying to do the best they can in a broken world. Fans of Mohr's Mission trilogy will note the return of a certain black bar with shattered stars….
Profile Image for reading is my hustle.
1,457 reviews279 followers
November 12, 2015
This is an angry book about connections between people. In this case people who are all sort of numb to the world. The setting is San Francisco and the parts about its changing neighborhoods and landscape are on point. It also dissects the relationship we have with social media and Joshua Mohr is surprisingly even-handed. I remember reading a review that described his ideas in this novel as an indictment of social media. I disagree. He is at his best when exploring the idea that social media can alienate us from others (and yet) bring us together, too.
Profile Image for Craig Allen.
291 reviews18 followers
September 14, 2015
Very well written story about how obsessed with social media our world is, especially in regards to bad news. When a very horrific event happens on the Golden Gate bridge, 14 year old Jack catches the whole thing on video. After it goes viral, Jake's social media presence intensifies, pulling his concerned father in as well. There are other stories intertwined here as well: Kathleen, a recovering alcoholic whose son Rodney hasn't been the same since an accident of his own. Also Sara, the one-time love interest of Rodney, is having a rough go of it after a sex tape starring herself becomes a hit. Finally, Noah, who lost his sister on the opening event that sets everything off. This was a good read and especially relevant these days with all the terrible things happening in the world that are posted online in some form. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Freesiab.
923 reviews43 followers
April 3, 2016
I'm not sure. Sometimes the rating process isn't accurate but I was glued to this book. I listened on audio on a road trip. It's more than the description. The stories of the character narratives is so in depth you forget what the whole story is about at times. There was a stretch that it seemed a bit long but I'm glad I stayed with it to see how all these characters truly interconnect and the long awaited commentary on social media. This book was all too human and I loved that.
Profile Image for Jabiz Raisdana.
328 reviews75 followers
July 18, 2015
Joshua Mohr's fifth novel, All This Life, begins in traffic. On the Golden Gate Bridge. In a car. A father and a son. Both broken and searching for something to break the tedium of their lives. The father, recently divorced, ponders,"How can he tell his only son that being an adult is learning to live with your failures?"

A miraculous event during the traffic jam of this opening scene becomes the catalyst for the rest of this beautifully crafted and perfectly paced novel. The characters are trademark Mohr. Each one flawed in his/her own way, but this time around, each character is more vulnerable and likable because they each reflect our own insecurities about living in the modern age. Although the characters vary in age, gender and class, they are united in their yearning for the things that make life more than an endurance test. They each remind us of what it means to live.

By parading a cast of broken characters, Mohr shows us the many ways that, "Everyone swims in the earth's dirty broth." This time, however, he also tenderly reveals moments of grace and hope.

While tackling a wide range of theme and topics like parenting, Twitter, relapsing and addiction, growing old, or the gentrification of his beloved Mission District, Mohr operates with a deliberate and thoughtful prose which dare I say sounds like poetry.This is the kind of novel you will want to read in one sitting, knowing that you might start it from the beginning as soon as you finish.

All This Life is Mohr at his best and most hopeful. I wish I had more to say about this remarkable novel, but I would rather you unpack it yourself. This book deserves your time and attention, if for no other reason that to remind you that, "We will always be lost. We are the walking wounded and there's love in our hearts."
Profile Image for Theresa Leone Davidson.
638 reviews30 followers
February 11, 2018
There needs to be an option for novels that in reality score higher than five stars. I also must say that I do not know the words to adequately describe how good I think this novel is; in fact, it is one of the best I have ever read. Ever. Joshua Mohr, who in his photo at the back of the book looks to be about twenty (I know he must be older), is nevertheless able to capture what aging is like, how sometimes people have to live with compromise and crushing disappointment as they get older, and how people often must live with deep and haunting regrets as well, and a whole lot more that seems impossible for him to know. Anyway, what the story involves: the novel surrounds a diverse group of people, in Nevada and in San Francisco, who are tied to a tragedy that happens one morning on the Golden Gate Bridge. How the tragedy affects them, what it causes them to do, that is the story, and the writing is just flawless, with so much to say, about so many things. Mohr writes about grief and despair and what it does to people, and how because of their own, they can unwittingly ignore the grief and pain those they love are feeling. He writes about how men can shame a woman - for no reason - simply for enjoying sex with the man with whom she is in a long term relationship, and the devastating consequences of it. He writes about our new technological age, and how so many people believe they are engaged with others, when they are actually less engaged in human interaction because they are always staring at and playing with their devices. He writes about addiction, about limitless human cruelty, and about the incredible compassion and kindness humans can also show to one another. I LOVED the book, I cannot HIGHLY RECOMMEND it enough, and I will be reading more of Mohr in the future.
Profile Image for Cindy.
123 reviews1 follower
July 29, 2015
In All This Life, Mohr attacks our reliance on social media, and illustrates the price we pay for replacing human connection with an ever-longer list of electronic friends and followers. To illustrate his point, the author populates his novel with a diverse bunch of brokenhearted and/or guilt-ridden characters, all of whom are on a quest for redemption. I was captivated by Jake’s misguided mission to rack up followers and go viral, and I couldn’t help but be moved by Balloon Boy and the impulsive decision that wrecked his life. And yet, several of the other characters fell flat for me. I couldn’t get a read on Noah911, a guy who leaves breakfast and cute-as-a-button notes for his lazy freeloading sister as he heads off to work each morning. And then there’s Sarah’s rabid brother who beats the crap out of three guys for breaking the mirror off his sister’s car, but totally ignores the guy who posts the sex tape that threatens to ruin his sister's life. Worst of all was creepy-Craigslist-guy whose only purpose, as far as I can tell, was as a device to get Balloon Boy’s mother to the bridge. Speaking of which, the convergence of all the characters at Golden Gate Bridge at the end of the book promised so much drama to come, and yet it delivered absolutely nada. The good guys got saved and the bad guys got caught, and I couldn’t help but feel cheated. That said, there was something curiously fascinating about the story line and the roles that YouTube and Twitter played in it. The book does, in fact, make the point it sets out to make, and that’s enough I think, to make it worth the read.
Profile Image for Leijette.
147 reviews9 followers
August 20, 2015
There is some spectacular writing here, but often it drifted into what felt like a prolonged rant about how terrible and fake and evil modern day technology is in our society. The kid, Jake, particularly, seemed like nothing so much as a device to illustrate how bad the internet is, and how self centered teenagers are. I hated how his character was portrayed, and I thought it was too simplistic a perspective on technology. A lot of the story is just being barraged in what is obviously the author's message - "Technology is bad. It isolates people from each other by giving them a false sense of connection and meaning, and it is ultimately unfulfilling". I am not saying that message is necessarily wrong (though I think it can be argued that our modern day technology does at least as much good in our society as bad), but it's something that's definitely been said before, and I think it would have been a much more interesting book had that idea been made more complicated and less obvious within the narrative.
Profile Image for Paula.
97 reviews20 followers
August 16, 2015
What a wonderful read about what it means to live with technology, the Internet, social media and this kind of 21st century despair. A milder, less sensational version of Eggers' "The Circle" (better written as a whole too if you ask me), this book tackles redemption, relapse, shame and relationships in an honest but tender way. You don't fall for any of the main characters but you root for all of them. You get a taste of everyone's self absorption as you mull over your own demons and addictions. Sara and Rodney are my favorites. And all books should have tattoo parlors run by strong women artists who wear their own scars from their own wars as they help cancer patients and recovering alcoholics.

"We are all scared. We are all haunted by yesterday and terrified of tomorrow. It's this life, all this life, and we're frightened of it...people cling to so little, everything eroding a little more everyday."

Thing is, Mohr says, love saves this life. Always. I would have to agree.
Profile Image for Elly.
8 reviews12 followers
July 2, 2015
I tried my best.
I got about 100 pages in, and gave up. And I'm not one to give up on a book.

I can't tell if it's because I'm part of the younger generation, but this book's writing tested my patience. It was like when your mom tries (and fails) to figure out how to write on your aunt's Facebook wall, gets thrown into a rage, and goes on a tangent about how technology and its devoted generation are a plague on humanity. I don't understand the aversion. I wish I did, because the storyline seemed neat initially!
Profile Image for Donna.
3,829 reviews10 followers
January 12, 2019
This is contemporary fiction. I think what I enjoyed the most was the writing. I liked the author's use of words in his descriptions. They were creatively written and that kept me in this. I also liked the drama within the relationships. However, with that said, the story was just okay for me. While I liked the drama of specific relationships, some of the plot drama was way out there. So 3 stars.
Profile Image for Lori L (She Treads Softly) .
2,173 reviews80 followers
July 16, 2015
All This Life by Joshua Mohr is exceptionally thoughtful, and a very highly recommended novel about our current information super highway. In All This Life Mohr takes our over exposed, interconnected lives, a tragic event, and ties together seven very different people.

The novel opens with an unnamed man pondering: "There’s one gigantic cause that no one talks about and it’s the foundation of my equation, my E = mc despaired: Human sadness is what’s heating up the earth. We are so somber, Albert, our lives are squared by despair and thus we all emit such a sad heat that our planet will torch unless we get it under control."

Then we are introduced to Paul and Jake, his son. They are driving over the Golden Gate Bridge when Jake sees a marching band. Jake likes "capturing real human life, snatching seconds away from those who don’t suspect an audience." As he films them with his phone, he captures a horrific event that leaves most of the band dead. After Jake posts his video of the event on youtube, the only video that captured the whole event from start to finish, it goes viral.

Noah, a man who lost his sister that day on the bridge has seen Jake's film online and can't believe someone would post that. He is in a world of pain and grief over his loss.

In Traurig, a small town in Nevada about an hour from Reno, Sara has just learned that her boyfriend has posted a sex tape of them online. Her cell phone is vibrating and text messages are flying. She's lost her job and it seems everyone knows about her indiscreet as the video goes viral. She turns to Rodney, an old friend who struggles to speak after an accident, and they leave together to find Rodney's mom, Kathleen (Kat), a caricaturist who lives in San Francisco. Kat left after his accident and hasn't contacted him since. She's sober now, though, and wants to reach out.

Sara ponders, "If there was a customer service center that regulated the whole information super highway she would have dialed it immediately. But it’s the wild west. Utter anarchy. No one’s really in charge, so long as you’re not trying to coerce a kid into bed or buying weapons." This is, of course, why these two videos exist online. Social media amplifies the interconnectedness of these lives. Sara watches Jake's video and he watches the one with her in it.

All these flawed and wounded characters will end up converging in a startling and dramatic conclusion. If all this makes it seem that Mohr's novel is very somber and gloomy, it isn't. There are moments of humor and there is a sense of hope at the end.

The focus on social media and how it is used and defines people today is clearly demonstrated by Paul and Jake.

Paul, who has to "basically police his co workers, or they’ll fiddle around on Facebook all day" is concerned for his son and for the whole generation because of the way they publicize everything - "these technologies that make it seem like a good idea to share shrapnel from your life, meaningless slivers of each day." He "examines the dangerous intersection of reality and the imaginary, where coding and technology seek to highlight and augment our already flawed human connections."

Jake, though, espouses the view of his generation. He didn’t do anything wrong when posting the video of the band. "This is what people do. This is how the world works. This is why we’re smarter now: We share everything with everyone, have access to each sight and sound. We are informed and connected! If they stop living in the past, they’d plug into this broadcasting consciousness, synapses firing all over the globe." "Content is Jake’s purpose. It is everybody’s purpose. And each single frame uploaded is a public service."

After finishing All This Life, I put everything Joshua Mohr has written on my wish list. The writing was exceptional. The development of the characters, even when working with so many, is incredible. The underlying message is timely. With all our connections, have we lost sight of the value of the personal, face to face, connections? Do we propose that our social media connections are truly personal connections? Is social media truly reflecting our reality, our lives? Do we need to share everything? Is content really our purpose?

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Soft Skull Press for review purposes.

Profile Image for Kali.
524 reviews36 followers
October 23, 2015
from kalireads.com:

But perhaps this is what love looks like in the twenty-first century. There’s the heart pumping in our chests, and the one that thrums online, beating a binary rhythm, zeroes and ones. Paul has to find that version of his son. –Joshua Mohr, All This Life

The morning commute is a lot of things–life-changing is normally not one of them. But on one morning of traffic crawling across the Golden Gate Bridge seemingly like any other, fog rolling across the Bay and not yet fully removed from drivers heads, father Paul and son Jake see something. Something that causes them to stop their car and stand out on the road and cry out. And from that day forward, their lives are changed.

Joshua Mohr’s All This Life is the story of Paul and Jake, the gap between them, and the story of the tragedy they witnessed. Paul, divorced and alone in every way, can’t connect with a world always on Facebook and texting with emoticons. Paul’s character reminded me a bit of something a more authentic, less snarky, Joshua Ferris would write. Paul’s son Jake is the epitome of this tech world: he’s always plugged in, headphones on. Siri’s voice, calling his name, soothes him in a way his father’s never could. He films content on his phone and loads it online as he believes creating content to be his generation’s calling.

Paul and Jake’s lives intertwine with those of others down on their luck but ever-hopeful: there’s Sara, living in a small town in the Arizona-Nevada border desert where men road-fish (literally pretend to fish in the road) for fun. Unfortunately, and without explanation, her boyfriend has just released a sex tape, allowing Sara to become a slut of the week on amateur sites.

Sara’s first love, Rodney, another main character of the story, is now known as balloon boy throughout his neighborhood, as he plummeted in a fall off a weather balloon, and (among other injuries) has aphasia, unable to speak as clearly as he thinks.

Rodney’s mom, Kathleen, abandoned her family after her son’s accident. She is now a caricaturist drawing portraits for tourists on the boardwalk in San Francisco, allowing the story to come full circle. Kathleen’s portion especially lends the story a now-ness, as she lives in San Francisco’s Mission District and identifies with the area’s artists, looking down upon the new luxury housing being built to accommodate the ever-burgeoning influx of tech bros. I understand Mohr’s desire to work a gentrification, tech boom slice of the city into the narrative, but it doesn’t ring true, as Kathleen is a recent transplant herself.

Mohr’s prose is rich and heady, as he taps into the heartstrings of both a middle-aged man going through a life crisis and an adolescent millenial. He describes everything from suicide to emotional breakdowns in crisp, staggering beauty. Most notably, he describes the thought process of a kid who thinks in Google searches (“A Google search of his favorite things would not reveal the boy as a page one result.”) and clicks, a kid so in tune with the world online that he’s not sure what the one offline means anymore. All of Jake’s internet metaphors for feelings and life itself are startling and hilarious.

Although this book starts out incredibly depressing, and does have some dark threads of loss running throughout the entire novel, it is really a book about people triumphing. People struggle, yes, but ultimately they can persevere and look up from their phones now and then. We can come together, despite all these technological barriers. And yes, I said barriers–this book is fairly anti-technology, ultimately leaving it as the monster hiding in the closet, hurting us all. Whether you agree with that or not, Mohr’s All This Life is worth a read.
Profile Image for David Bridges.
249 reviews14 followers
September 21, 2015
I have a tendency to read genre fiction with stories that bend or defy reality but occasionally I will give something more quote unquote literary a shot. In the case of All This Life I am so glad I did. This story is as real as it gets. The book has a character driven narrative set mostly in gentrified San Francisco with characters who you can identify on a personal level. There are parallel stories connected by a tragedy that happens on the Golden Gate Bridge and those parallel stories converge to a climax that happens on the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a very modern story with the use of technology and social media as tools that connect the characters.

All This Life has an overall dark noirish vibe to it but it is also hilarious is some parts. It conjures a range of emotions. It is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. This is the first book of Mohr's I have read although I do own a couple of his older releases which I plan to put into my "to be read" rotation very soon. If you appreciate good old fashioned excellent story telling then check out All This Life for sure.
Profile Image for Joe.
Author 43 books264 followers
July 24, 2015
All This Life goes "big-game hunting," while employing a conversational, two-old-friends-catching-up vibe. Weaving the narratives of seven leads, whose lives intersect following a tragedy in San Francisco, Mohr asks the tough questions for our modern, technological, virtual age, but manages to never make it feel weighted down or didactic. In short, the book, like Mohr himself, comes across as likable as it deals with some very disturbing subjects and trends. Despite topics of death and loss, abandonment and isolation, we, as readers, walk away feeling hopeful, and far from separated from our fellows we feel all the more tied to them, this planet, this place, this life. This is a novel about forging connections and forgiving come up short. Funny, irreverent, deep and lighthearted. This is the sort of book that restores faith in the Great American Novel.
Profile Image for Heather.
437 reviews29 followers
August 3, 2015
In the acknowledgments, Mohr thanks an editor for reading a previous draft and telling him to rewrite it, but in an earnest, sincere way. All I could think was that I would hate to see the draft that was MORE pretentious and removed from actual human emotion. I actually feel unkind saying that, because I think there is real writing talent there and a few moments of the story did work, and it was actually very readable, in that even though I found it phony and reminiscient of Aaron Sorkin at his blowhard worst at times, I still ended up finishing the whole thing and caring at least a bit about some of the characters.
199 reviews
June 26, 2015
In this wonderfully structured story, sets of struggling characters grapple with their cyber-lives--too little expertise, too much exposure, too-late smart. Mohr's newest read is suspenseful, alarming and funny, and his truths are well-observed, making this tale easy to feel deeply and hard to put down.
Profile Image for David.
Author 5 books23 followers
May 21, 2019
At the Golden Gate bridge, a father drives his son across when they witness a horrific scene, which the son films and posts to YouTube…a girl realizes in horror that her sex tape has gone viral…A boy who was the victim of a bizarre and tragic accident attempts to reconnect with the one who abandoned him…a caricaturist dealing with her personal demons takes in a strange new roommate in her San Francisco apartment.

It is a tableau, a mosaic of interconnected characters that in some way are all joined by that single event on the bridge. And it all speaks to the nature of what it means to live most of our lives in an online world.

This book is terrific. That Mohr is able to clock in at just under 300 pages and get all these characters to their destination is an amazing achievement. I truly enjoyed every part of this book. And though my personal feelings toward relationships on the internet tend more toward the sunny side, Mohr’s assessment through the eyes of his characters is not wrong.

Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Jackie.
90 reviews2 followers
September 26, 2019
I can't believe the amount of good reviews this book got. It's one of those books that has several character stories intertwined. And they all annoyed me. Sara's boyfriend leaks their sex tape, and apparently everyone in her town of 2,000 does nothing but watch internet porn all day. Why, you ask? Because *everyone* sees it the next day and makes her the town pariah. She takes off on a roadtrip with her former school sweetheart, where she'll probably meet up with the other main characters: Jake, a surly 15 year old who records a mass suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge, making him a gruesome YouTube star; Nate, who was really just the most annoying character, and Kathleen. Who draws caricatures for a living. I don't know if they stories actually cross, because this book sucked so much I gave up almost 200 pages in.
Profile Image for Chris Roberts.
637 reviews41 followers
October 14, 2015
Blank screen...

Push the button...

Power up...


To: Joshua Mohr...

Subject: Bleeding the San Francisco Bridge...

Your ISP address is generated from an antiquated future...

You wear time, it weights you down in the three-eighths hour...

Backward days, carbon copy paper shoots from your mouth...

San Francisco State University doesn't have a record of you...

Yours is the history trained mind denied...

The University of San Francisco said no...

*Aside* Pynchon: "If they (novels) come out on paper anything like they are inside my head then it will be the literary event of the millennium."

Really, really. "Gravity's Rainbow" shared the National Book Award...*Aside over*

Joshua, remember "Fight Song?" It was like the slaughter at the Alamo...

Do you recall "Termite Parade?" Neither do I...

Now, Breathing, Breathing, Edge, Edge...

Google is love spelled backwards...

The world is falling, only on you...

The dot.com explosion too...

It can go on forever (days)...(nights)...

No coincidence ill morphs into (K)ill America...

Black swirl clouds dance in the streets, a celebration...

The internet (in)tangible, so too crashing steel...

Protected in your hermit Pynchon bunker...

Towers Down Day away far, nearest away...

Your fiction is fiction lacking friction...

It is all in your head, BOY-MAN crying wolf...

Or how you wrote YOURSELF in, (scene) a cemetery stroll...

You are irrelevant, you dead run...

You must only remember this:

All the good angels are dead...

Now comes Anarchy, I ride her well...

Fear not the destroyer, it is yours, it is YOU...

Revel in it...

An old/new millennium written very badly will find like minds...

Your manuscript was hacked, might want to check pages 7, 100 and 206...

Mass suicide is a nine-year-old's very first conspiracy theory...

When I grow up, I want to be: fill in the blank ( )...

Mostly because...

You will reach ...



...A freshly turned grave...


Your Pal, Chris Roberts
Profile Image for Laura.
294 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2016
This book was fantastic. I felt it was written with someone like me (my age and from my generation) in mind. Although fantastic, it was not exactly an enjoyable ride but don't let that stop you from the experience. Let me explain... One of the things that affect me most as I get older is how fast life gets beyond a certain age. Also, I'm very torn over the human disconnect and sensationalized reality brought about a world so reliant on social media. My experience as of the last 10 years or so is that people have become so desensitized by the anonymity of the big and faceless world wide Web that we don't know who to trust and what is real and what is fantasy. The two blend into each other. J. Mohr captures and communicates this sentiment quite well in all of the characters and the event that brings all of their lives to one point of commonality. The story begins with the mass suicide of a group of musicians who one by one jump off the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge while the world is watching. The events of that day not only impact the immediate relatives of the people involved but thanks to social media and the access most have to the record button on our Smartphones the whole connected world can impersonally put in their two cents. It's social media influencing public opinion on the absence of an ethical and moral conscience. The consequences are scary. I think of when mass shootings occur in our country and it becomes carion for the media to feast on and exploit. This story is thought provoking and relevant but not a read for those looking for an uplifting and optimistic view of society.
Profile Image for Bobbi Joles.
13 reviews
July 24, 2015
This is my very first book review and it saddens me that, I found a book that is so terrible, I feel I have to warn people not to read it. If you are like me, you have to read the entire book no matter how terrible it may be. I can usually finish a book in a day or maybe two. This book took me two weeks because I dreaded reading it! The first three chapters are interesting and capture your attention. I immediately started reading faster wondering what happened. By the 6th chapter I was forcing my eyes to the page trying to make sense of this incredibly boring and poorly thought out storyline. The main characters are boring. The supporting characters aren't boring but are definitely strange. Who fishes outside in the road every single day? Hank is violent but at least he leaves an impression. Too bad he's only around for a couple chapters. I would have liked to see him kick Noah911's ass for trying to skip out on his sisters funeral! I can't say enough bad things. One star from me. Please don't waste your time. And also..... Some may call this a spoiler but it's really just a warning.... Nothing is concluded in the end..... You never actually find out what happened or why.
Profile Image for Amanda.
Author 8 books8 followers
July 24, 2015
I love a convergence story. I love the way Joshua Mohr channels the not-typical characters of this world. I was happy to consider--through so many different stories--how we are all coping with a desire to be loved, and how this gets confused with (per Aaron Sorkin) a "desire to be loved by strangers." "The" topic here took shape as a meta-story of our culture woven through these particular characters and their arcs and it just speaks to what scares me and moves me these days. I felt in good hands, guided by the palpable empathy of the author. And then there's his great, great way of nailing things in a phrase: "...it's like living behind a window that's been painted shut...;" "...Our mistakes barking into the air...;" "...Hashtags are like emotions that people can see..." A really good read that stays with me as I toggle between chatter and isolation in this weird world of ours.
Profile Image for Annie.
2,018 reviews95 followers
August 12, 2017
I can remember when my dad first got us online. We had AOL and it made an obnoxious sound while the modem connected. Since then, I’ve been online—almost every day since I became a librarian. But I don’t think the Internet is as much as part of my life as it is for the characters in Joshua Mohr’s All This Life. For Jake, the Internet gives him a way to be noticed. It ruined Sara’s life. The Internet constantly reminds Noah of how he failed his sister. All This Life is an exploration more than it is a traditional novel. It puzzles me...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss for review consideration.
Profile Image for Taube.
155 reviews29 followers
December 23, 2015
“Caricatures, avatars, usernames, however humans present themselves, whatever we are, there is one thing Kathleen knows: We are all scared. We are haunted by yesterday and terrified of tomorrow. It’s this life, all this life, and we’re frightened of it. There are addiction and relapses. There’s climate change, mental illness, mood disorders. There are families assembling and dissembling. There are dubious genes dripping down. There are more strains of violence than the flu. The particulars of human misery are limitless, a rising ocean of humiliations and blues too-low paychecks and pipe dreams. People cling so hard to so little, everything eroding a little more every day. It’s enough to make you pour whiskey on an open wound or jump off a bridge. But that’s something we have to endure.”
Profile Image for Kim.
4 reviews10 followers
September 2, 2015
Oh this book. I wish I could read it again for the very first time. The darkness in humans coupled with the darkness of the Internet. How one moment in life, or one bad decision can change history and ruin lives and connect people in ways they never wanted. There was not one lull. The frantic pace the author wrote with was new to me and I loved it. This made up for the last book I read which was a huge disappointment.
Profile Image for Arajane.
51 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2016
There were some moments of pure beauty in here: a loveliness and perfectness of human interactions and relationships. But for me the overarching concept of social media and our (problematic?) immersion in the online world felt like it loomed over the very real characters and pulled them down into the realm of cliché at moments, a place I didn't want to see these beautifully written characters go. That said, yeah I didn't want to stop reading and I absolutely got misty-eyed at the end.
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