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All This Life

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  724 ratings  ·  131 reviews
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 ac ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Soft Skull Press (first published April 7th 2015)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  724 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Larry H
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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, h
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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….
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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 ...more
Craig Allen
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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-tim ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jabiz Raisdana
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 trad
Theresa Leone Davidson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 h ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
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 impulsiv ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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 ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
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.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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,
David Bridges
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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, aba ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary-lit
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 ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 join
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, ...more
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it

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 remov
Chris Roberts
Aug 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
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 (nov
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bobbi Joles
Jul 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
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 m ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 hand ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“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 hu ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: very-favorites, 2015
"We are the walking wounded and there is love in our hearts."
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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 recentl ...more

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