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All My Mother's Lovers

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  2,269 ratings  ·  367 reviews
Intimacy has always eluded twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause—despite being brought up by married parents, models of domestic bliss—until, that is, Lucia came into her life. But when Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and, along with Iris's will, five sealed envelopes, each addressed to a myster ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 26th 2020 by Dutton
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  2,269 ratings  ·  367 reviews

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Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Uneven. Excellent premise. Interesting protagonist. The novel soars when the story is told from Iris’s point of view. Pacing is way too slow. It takes too long for the real action to start. I liked the small twists throughout. Overall, this is a great book. But the last line is terrible. Throw my phone terrible. Why would you do that to your awesome book? WHY? Worth reading regardless.
Larry H
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pride-reads
Emotionally powerful and thought-provoking, Ilana Masad's debut novel, All My Mother's Lovers , is a look at family dynamics, secrets, motherhood, sexuality, marriage, and grief.

How can you not be pulled into a book that starts, “Maggie is in the midst of a second lazy orgasm when her brother, Ariel, calls to tell her that their mother has died”?

Maggie is thrown by news of her mother’s sudden death. They hadn’t been particularly close in years, as Maggie felt Iris never accepted her sexuality
Adam Dalva
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really astonishing debut w/ a very clever, fun hook. I'll be talking about it with Masad TONIGHT for Litquake - would love to "see" some Goodreads friends in the virtual audience!

I can't quite decide where I fall so I'm rounding up because this is a debut and I absolutely will read this author's next book. Plus, I loved her writing. I really enjoyed this story, however it kind of dragged at times? I feel badly because it took me FOREVER to read this book - and it wasn't for a lack of wanting to. I had other books I had to get to, so I had to put it down for a few months. I then put myself on the wait list for the audio because I really wanted to get back to it!

Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m giving this book two stars instead of one because it’s competently written, but I pretty much hated it. The author has managed to write a character that is completely selfish, annoying, rude, clueless, and irresponsible. There’s little that’s redeeming here.

She buries her feelings in pot and booze, is incredibly rude to her younger brother (they’re both adults), dismissive of her mother, and pandering to her father. She’s wasted a lot but you never really feel empathy for her, you must feel
Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Whew, I really wanted to love this book. A book about grieving a difficult parent, where the main character is a millennial lesbian? Yes. Please. Relatable content, hello.

Unfortunately, I gave this book every chance to earn my love, and I just could not. Spoilers below.


I think the way this book started out was pretty telling of how the rest of it was going to go. The reader meets the protagonist, Maggie, in the midst of having sex with her girlfriend. I am no prude, and I have no problem star
Anna Avian
What an absolutely terrible last line! Just as the story was actually going somewhere and characters started to feel more developed and mature the ending ruined it all.
The book feels uneven, pacing is too slow at times. Relationships are diminished to “fucking” and girlfriends/boyfriends to “fuck buddies”. Maggie is selfish, judgemental, childish and absolutely annoying. I didn't like how the trans character was misrepresented and diminished to basically a woman with a dildo, and that coming fr
I have a lot of love for *All My Mother's Lovers*! It tells the story of Maggie, who uncovers a series of stories about her mother, who has recently died, that will shake both her understanding of her mother but also herself. Maggie's quest is packed with surprises and wise insights about human relationships, accepting each other, and being queer.

I was reminded of *The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo* when I finished, and I think fans of that book will love this one, too. But what sets *Mother's L
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When Maggie's mother Iris dies in a car accident, she leaves a small pile of letters addressed to men Maggie has never heard of. She decides to deliver them in person. This is a nice structure to a sometimes flawed novel. It allows the author to tell the mother's story too, while the daughter examines her own relationships - her girlfriend, her brother, her old friends - all while she gets to know more about her mother than she ever knew while she was alive.

(Everyone in Goodreads agrees - the no
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, lgbtq
A solid debut focussing on the ramifications of grief and how well you truly know those you call family.

This novel follows Maggie who embarks upon a physical and spiritual road trip upon the passing of her mum after discovering some letters that her mum requested be sent. What unfolds thereafter is a pleasant journey into grief and it’s aftermath, alongside the journey of accepting one’s identity within the lgbtqia+ spectrum.

This was a decent enough book, though it did feel a bit preachy at ti
Aug 21, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sounds like a great concept, no? A daughter returns home for her mother’s funeral only to discover she’s tasked with the job of delivering letters to all her mother’s secret lovers.

Right? Should have been fun, interesting, provocative – if we’re really lucky, a little bit philosophical and even moving.

Should’ve been, but wasn’t.

How did it go wrong? Where do we start? Let’s begin with the abysmal writing, because that’s the thing that annoys one right off the bat. The author fills every page, e
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Too tidy of an ending for such a messy situation.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Emotionally indistinct and superficial. I wouldn't rush to read it! ...more
Toya (the reading chemist)
4.5 stars rounded up!

Do you ever finish a book and you love so many things about it, but when it comes to putting your thoughts into coherent sentences you come up short? That’s how I feel about writing the review for All My Mother’s Lovers. This book blew me away, but yet I don’t feel like I can accurately portray why.

27 year old Maggie Kraus has had a strained relationship with her mother Iris ever since she told her parents that she was lesbian. When her Iris dies in a tragic car accident, Ma
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Maggie learns of her mother’s death when she is in bed with her lover, Lucia. She is stunned but restrains herself from breaking down. Her mind takes over immediately—she is already planning ahead about the funeral, the people she’ll have to call and the arrangements she’ll have to make. Her performative calm is unusual. But Maggie’s relationship with Lucia is still at a tender stage; the last thing she wants is for her lover to feel intimidated by her grief.

Maggie returns home to an irate brot
Lily Herman
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
There were some fun lil twisty twists with this one!

Ilana Masad's All My Mother's Lovers was a really solid debut and a quick read. Maggie was a fascinating, conflicted, and utterly Millennial character, and Masad's observations and reflections on late 2010s queer culture, as well as the complexities of grief and untimely death, were incredibly astute. The book's present-day storyline takes place in 2017, and it was super fascinating to look at a year that seems so recent with an almost historic
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rainbow-reads
CW: polyphobic comments, transphobic comments, graphic sex scenes, mentions of abuse, cheating, drug use/dependency, alcohol use, gambling

I' glad to be done with this book. A friend sent it to me and asked that I read it because she enjoyed it and it reminded her of Evelyn Hugo, a book we both adored last year, so when my hold at the library finally came up, I thought I'd give it a shot, fully expecting to adore this book as much as Evelyn.

Clearly, I didn't.

There wasn't a single cha
All My Mother's Lovers falls into the "after school special" genre. It stops at all the stations of the cross of progressive politics and recites the appointed prayers to saintly characters who run counter to stereotypes. While all the characters are believable in the story, it ends up feeling a little heavy on sending a message to the reader. If you've read other reviews of mine, you know I bristle when I don't feel an author trusts me. Masad doesn't trust readers to hold properly enlightened v ...more
Marjorie Elwood
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: glbt, fiction
Well-written, this seemed superficial at the start but once a third of the way in the details became lush and the emotions real. My complaint about it is that it tried a little too hard to be all-encompassingly diverse, to the point where it was distracting.
Not to be snobby, but this book would not be my normal cuppa tea, yall***(see below). The fact that the main character seemed to have few boundaries, and perhaps fewer manners and bordered on being a petulant child, even though she was 27, and that she had a strained relationship with her mother all conspired to draw me in just to see what would happen... so I climbed aboard and took this short trip with Maggie.

Maggie starts out as an immature and confused young woman who despite believing that
Smitha Murthy
Messy, complicated life. If someone were to ask me what this book is about, that is the only answer I can give. It’s about our messy, complicated lives.

This is one of those literary books that are also pulp fiction page-turners. At the heart of it is an exploration of grief (not good on the soul to read two books on grieving one after the after!), and questions of how well we know the closest people in our life. As Maggie sets off on an impromptu road trip after the death of her mother, the tri
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
I loved this book,would recommend !
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do we all have secrets? This novel is about Maggie, a young gay woman, taking a journey into her mother’s secret life. When Iris died suddenly in an accident, she left letters to be delivered to the men in her life. Maggie makes the decision to deliver them in person and find out what these men meant to her mother.

As a reader, I felt fortunate to go on this journey with Maggie. I suspect that many book club members will feel the same way. This is like finding a diary and being able to secretly
Liz Hein
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All My Mother’s Lovers is the story of 9 days in Maggie’s life after losing her mother suddenly in a car accident.

Maggie has moved away from home and is in her first longer term queer relationship, causing a strain on her relationship with her mom. After her death, Maggie returns home and finds letters her mom wrote to five men Maggie has never heard of. Maggie sets out on a mission to deliver these letters and find out why they were sent. Maggie meets the men and in turn begins to understand h
Laura • lauralovestoread
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, dutton-books, 2020
What a beautiful debut! I truly enjoyed going on this journey with Maggie, as she discovers secrets from her Mother’s past, and also finds healing and growth in herself.

Themes of grief, acceptance, and heartache, but also in light of the heavy subject matter at times, the relationships were so well written, and really loved the family dynamics, and how vulnerable they were at times. You could really see yourself in strained relationships you may have had with others, and it gave hope that they c
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book far more than I expected. I hope this is not a spoiler but I was only very disappointed in the last line of the entire story! Until then I felt like the subjects were well done, and the story was interesting and would actually lead to great book club discussion.
A mother is killed in a car crash and her grown lesbian daughter returns home to help her father and brother. As she sets out to learn about her mother, she has her own moments of self-discovery. An edgy, modern day family drama, this book also has interesting characters, dialogue, and a plot that is compulsively readable.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, january-2021
This book sucked ass. It's almost impressive how boring it was considering how much sex there was. Anyway Maggie is an awful main character and the last line of the book is such a demented choice I almost have to respect it. ...more
Ken Saunders
Jul 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
"Her underwear is fairly soaked."
Well I knew I wasn't reading THE GREAT GATSBY but I still expected more of a send-off than wet panties.
But maybe that is the close this book club selection deserves. It's not satisfying as schmaltz, or as much of anything. Here are some other quotes, enjoy:

(MOTO Maggie thinking about the sun): "It’s hot and orange and impossible to look directly into."

(we meet the dead mother): "Iris rarely considered her death a real possibility, perhaps because she spent much o
Nick Bishop
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I chose this book as a pride month book selection. I didn't know much but I am so glad that I picked this novel - it is so gay in all the right ways!

This is the story of Maggie, who's mother dies and leaves 5 letters to five mystery men. Maggie goes on a "journey" to deliver these letters and learns a lot about her mother throughout the process.

This book is the type of book that strikes a perfect balance of having a really dynamic plot, while still retaining its "literary" labels by tackling bi
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The Well-Read Wom...: All My Mother's Lovers 6 32 Oct 02, 2020 08:21AM  

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Ilana Masad is a queer Israeli American fiction writer, essayist, and book critic. Her debut novel, All My Mother's Lovers , comes out with Dutton in May 2020.
Masad's work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Paris Review, NPR, BuzzFeed, Catapult, StoryQuarterly, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, as well as many others. She is the founder and host of The Other

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