Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “All About Lulu” as Want to Read:
All About Lulu
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

All About Lulu

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,237 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Weakness has always been a concern for William Miller: growing up vegetarian in a family of bodybuilders will do that to a person. But William is further weakened by the death of his mother, the arrival of a new step-mother, and his irrepressible crush on his new step-sister, Lulu. As Lulu faces down her own challenges, William watches his life shift into tumult and despai ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published May 28th 2008 by Soft Skull Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about All About Lulu, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about All About Lulu

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBreaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerThe Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Best Books of 2008
1,650 books — 6,923 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Best Coming of Age Stories
1,035 books — 1,224 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,237 ratings  ·  212 reviews

Sort order
Bob Redmond
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is the inverse of Ms. Hempel Chronicles (see my review). It lacks the literary polish of Shun-lien Bynum's writing (though it's plenty accomplished), but it DOES recognize that THE story is not the obvious story. Evison gets it, since the title of the book is ALL ABOUT LULU but it's also bigger than that.

Lulu is the narrator's siste (STEP-sister, that is) on whom he has a crush beyond crushes: he's totally in love with her. This love is returned but in complicated ways. That's the cent
Nov 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: omg-what-is-this
What's the big effing secret?! Just TELL people!
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing

Jonathan Evison's newest book "All About Lulu" is the one of those brilliant coming of age novels that make you agonize and adore everything about maturity. The story's narrator Will is a characters who is not beautiful or extraordinary. However he is incredibly real and every page in the book has Will slapping the reader in the face or making him fall out of their chair laughing (and occasionally weeping).

I was given the book as a gift as I had not heard of it before. I cannot explain how much
Christopher Swann
May 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's had to deal with unrequited love, which is pretty much everyone on the planet
This is what Wally Lamb wanted to do with "She's Come Undone." Honestly, I think Jonathan Evison has done one better with "All About Lulu." Outrageous, funny, heartbreaking, this is a must read.
Jason Pettus
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, hipster, emo
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

I've talked about this subject here before, but it seems to be one that comes up again and again at CCLaP, regarding how much of the incidental details of our lives influence what we think of any given book -- how old we are when we read it, what in life we've been exposed to already, what kind of moo
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
Lulu has all the makings of a good book. It's a complexly woven and somewhat original love-and-loss tale with emotion-inducing characters told by a seemingly warm and friendly narrator named Will. Unfortunately, as things progress, the author amasses more and more of the makings of a bad book. Awkward turns of phrase, cliched plot-turns, and even bouts of just plain boring filler. Things are more or less OK until Part Two (of two), when Lulu sort of disappears and leaves Will to fend for himself ...more
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group
OK, so I read this book for my book group and really enjoyed it. I would have given it 3.5 stars, but I couldn't because I can't figure out how to do that .5 on this thing.

I was really into the book until things started getting a little convoluted. I'm usually one of those people who can totally suspend my disbelief, but when the secret at towards the end was revealed (I won't ruin it for anyone)I was really disappointed. I just didn't buy that no one would have told the kids etc.

Other than that
Jul 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Book: All About Lulu

Author: Jonathan Evison

Published: July 2008 by Soft Skull Press, 340 pages

First Line: ”First, I’m going to give you all the Copperfield crap, and I’m not going to apologize for any of it, not one paragraph, so if you’re not interested in how I came to see the future, or how I came to understand that the biggest truth in my life was a lie, or, for that matter, how I parlayed my distaste for hot dogs into an ’84 RX-7 and a new self-concept, do us both a favor, and just stop now
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Oriana by: the L magazine (among many others, which I forget)
post-read: All About Lulu is a really really good book. Really! It's one of those books that moves so fast and smoothly, it really pushes you along, hurrying you toward brink after brink; though really it's always the same brink, it's just delayed for over three hundred pages. Plus it's really funny. That's super hard to do well! Humor is so subjective, especially in book form, but I was smiling about every other page, and actually chuckling – aloud, on a crowded subway – at least once per chapt ...more
Oct 10, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was an overall pretty enjoyable read. I laughed out loud a few times at Will's strange body-building, meat-obsessed family. Not to mention his strange cast of friends: Acne Scar Joe, Immigrant Eugene, freaky school counselor, and ex-boyfriend Troy of Will's obsession: stepsister Lulu.

That being said, when I finally find out the BIG secret (which was pretty easy to spot much earlier on in the book), I had a hard time seeing 1)Why was it such a big deal that it had to be kept secret, and
Jun 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Again-- lamenting the lack of the 1/2 star rating-- to put it firmly between "I liked it" and "I really liked it."

I'm certainly not averse to reading books where there aren't any neat or tidy endings. In fact, some of my favorites end precisely that way-- no Disney-esque "And they lived happily ever after."
But, dang ... okay, this book really depressed me.

I have to admit, I read it in basically a day-- stealing moments whenever I could from my daily duties-- drawn back to my favorite reading cha
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2008
As I greedily read All About Lulu, with the wit dripping from my chin and philosophical musings staining my favorite t-shirt, I finished this meal feeling full and satisfied.

All About Lulu is a book exploring the American psyche from the 1960's up to the 1990's through the mind of Will Miller, a runt in a family of bodybuilders. And though the main protagonist is Will, it really is all about Lulu, a force that not only changes Will's life, but kind of changed mine too.

Mr Evison weaved this tale
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Evison tells the story of a young boy with a crush, on his step-sister, and how that crush evolves throughout their young lives, for better and worse. It’s the story of them and their family, helmed quite vividly by a father competing for various body building trophies over the years. (The Arnold makes an appearance.) Evison handles both the boy’s perspective on young love and the story of the odd extended family very well. I felt I knew people a lot like the characters in the book. And Evison c ...more
There were some incredibly beautiful and thoughtful lines in this bildungsroman, which was set mostly in the 1980s. Some nostalgic moments were had by moi. Mostly, it was annoyingly repetitive and unnecessarily morose, peopled by characters I truly believed were likeable and colourful, but, the author felt compelled to present them all as unkindly, as darkly, and as bitterly as he could. I could see something sparkling in everyone beneath the deep waters of the depressing narrator, and I just wi ...more
Dawn CM
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like the rating on this book is irrelevant - the story itself was a firm 2-3 stars (it was crazy and what did I just read??), but the writing was five stars for sure. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this book - Evison has this crazy way with words and uttering the thing you shouldn't think but do (or didn't know you thought but is bang on... like the part where someone says I have a proposition for you and: "My ass tightened.") and oh my goodness I laughed a lot. The charac ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
In the early pages of "All About Lulu" we follow Will through the death of his mother and his father's subsequent remarriage to his grief counselor, Willow. His new stepmother also brings with him the attractive-in-her-own-way Louise (nickname: Lulu). Will, with his abnormally low voice for a 9-year-old, had stopped speaking after his mother's death, and it is only through Lulu that he rediscovers his voice.

Lulu and Will forge a seemingly unbreakable friendship and eventually become pseudo-girlf
Jim Thomsen
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel deserves the avalanche of praise it's received. It's crazy but controlled, exhilarating but never exhausting, outrageous but not outlandish, introspective while exhibiting plenty of external life and reach. And Evison, through fictional doppelganger William Miller, displays a blazingly original voice that's hilarious, touching and thoroughly arresting. I don't want to be Will Miller, but I sure as hell want to go bowling with him and listen to him ramble about music and fast foo ...more
Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Can I say I "read" a book when I skimmed the last third?

Book summary: Narrator is in love with his stepsister Lulu. This book charts their relationship from Age 10 to adulthood.

This book started out promising -- kind of cute, quaint, quite funny at times. And I liked the narrator's sweet obsession with his stepsister. I can definitely identify with adoring someone so deeply that you log their every movement. So, in that way it was a sweet love story. Oh, and I liked the trajectory of Lulu into a
Emily Hill
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Hornet Sting to the Heart. Put down whatEVER the f**k you are reading now and pick up 'All About Lulu' . . .

Last month I attended 'Field's End' a writer's conference on Bainbridge Island at which Evison, the local writer-hero, waxed on hysterically as the conference Launch Speaker. He leaves an impression on you. I was compelled to check out his debut novel, All About Lulu.

Originally All About Lulu seemed to be about coming of age, then dysfunctional families, then tangled attractions, then
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I'm going to cheat here a little and post the same review I posted for Jonathan's novel on

Everyone can relate to this wonderfully quirky debut novel from Jonathan Evison. The story speaks with honesty, wistfulness, humor, and sadness to anyone who ever felt like an outcast even within their own family, anyone who remembers the thrill of finding that one person who "gets" them, anyone who felt the flush of first love and the crushing blow of that love disappearing, and to anyone who s
Louise Brown
Oct 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Wes Anderson fans
Recommended to Louise by: the author
There's something almost epic about this book - I'm not sure whether it's the complexity of the relationships central to the book, or just the array of characters you're introduced to, but I kept thinking it was like the literary equivalent of the director's cut of a Wes Anderson film.

However, as is my view on most director's cuts, although at times it felt like a glorious technicolour wallow (quite in keeping with the intensity of the obsessional relationship) it went on long enough for the plo
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: author, hoopla
I'm a huge fan of Jonathan Evison's quirky, moving "The Fundamentals of Caregiving" and have read several of his books looking for the same qualities to no avail. I really thought Lulu would be the one. From the beginning, we know that Lulu has a BIG secret -- a LIFE-CHANGING secret -- a secret that is so CAPTIVATING we will turn page upon page, panting in anticipation of learning what it is. At some point, the buildup began to annoy me. I could think of no secret that would be worth all of this ...more
Nov 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the review I posted on Amazon ... my first. It's worthy.

This is true love ...

Jonathan Evison's pain is our gain. ALL ABOUT LULU reads like a poem, all rhythm and grace. Effortless from the reader's end, which makes the mastery all the more impressive.

But beyond being so damn readable, it's one of those rare moments in literature where an author wrestles Eros onto the page and leaves us all nodding with bittersweet understanding. Anyone who's ever fallen hard will know what Will's going t
Sep 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I listened to the audio version of this book and loved hanging out with Will Miller on my way to work this past week.

I enjoy Jonathan Evison's sense of humor, I also listened to 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving' and found the quirky characters he created for that story charming.

Will and Lulu charmed me as well. I was laughing out loud at the 1980s era put down and insults Will and his brothers sling at each other. I love the reader, Michael Mish, his voice is perfect for this story.

I e
Polly Dugan
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and I am historically a fan of Evison's work but I was disappointed and bummed out by the ending. I'm all for open-ended, ambiguous final pages planting seeds in the reader's mind to consider 'What happened?' long after they've finished reading. In fact I don't care for tied-up-neatly-with-a-bow endings but there was so much at stake throughout the book, a massive secret kept, ultimately revealed, that the last pages felt coy and withholding to me, particularly since Will was s ...more
Annette C
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
A friend lent me her copy. I don't know what to say. At times I laughed out loud, other times I sighed. By the end I was blue. I'm not certain I liked this book, but I'm very sure Jonathan Evison is a good writer. Back thirty five years ago in school we had to read "Flowers in the Attic." I hated it. I kinda hate this book. I want to kill Big Bill and Willow. Leaving poor children to navigate life without the knowledge and tools necessary. Want to kill 'em. But Mr. Evison did get me riled up, so ...more
Modern Times Bookstore
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
So, the title pretty much gives it away: Will, our runty, brooding, vegetarian protagonist, is hopelessly obsessed with Lulu. Too bad she's his stepsister. C'est la vie. The character development throughout the novel is stellar, from Will's lovable, meat crazed, bodybuilding dad, to his knucklehead twin brothers, to Will's assortment of friends, or – if I'm permitted a trashy magazine moment, frienemies. And don't be surprised if in the course of reading, you find yourself obsessing over Lulu. A ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Evison takes on the uncomfortable topics of obsession and other mental health issues with consistent respect. I appreciate his exploration of the small details which make up a life and the nuances of family. The open ended finale felt a propo since we never knew Will without his blinding fixation of Lulu.

I felt sad throughout this book, and when specks of humor came up it was like tiny beams of sunlight streaming through an overcast sky. Coming of age stories often have a twinge of anxiety for
Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was good....maybe not as fantastic as Chris made it out in his review. What I really liked was really good character development. I figured out the conclusion well before the end, which was a bit disappointing, but overall, I thought it was an interesting and good read. A bit quirky, but that was part of the charm.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Damascus
  • Alice Fantastic
  • Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
  • História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands
  • Female Trouble
  • Trouble: Stories
  • Das Labyrinth der Wörter
  • Burning Marguerite
  • The Nightingales of Troy: Stories of One Family's Century
  • The Hunters
  • Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain
  • People I Wanted to Be
  • Politics
  • The Dead Fish Museum
  • The Normals
  • Radio Iris
  • Bay of Souls
  • Devil's Island
Jonathan Evison is the New York Times Bestselling author of All About Lulu, West of Here, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, and Lawn Boy.

In his teens, Evison was the founding member and frontman of the Seattle punk band March of Crimes, which included future members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Born in San Jose, California, he now lives on an island in Wes
“People really do change. Don't let anyone tell you differently. That the future does not conform to the past is not the exception, but the rule.” 8 likes
“First, I'm going to give you all the Copperfield crap, and I'm not going to apologize for any of it, not one paragraph, so if you're not interested in how I came to see the future, or how I came to understand that the biggest truth in my life was a lie, or, for that matter, how I parlayed my distaste for hot dogs into an '84 RX-7 and a new self-concept, do us both a favor, and just stop now.” 4 likes
More quotes…