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Everything Must Go

2.70  ·  Rating details ·  803 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Compared to some, Henry Powell's life has been lucky, if inauspicious. Yet Henry is impossibly stuck, unable to reconcile the dreams and expectations of his promising youth with the reality of the unassuming, vaguely dissatisfied clothing store clerk he has become.

As weeks turn into months and months into years, the shop becomes Henry's only window to the world, where he m
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 24th 2006 by MIRA (first published 2006)
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2.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  803 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Jan 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
This is a book I read because I enjoyed the author's other books, and I didn't know anything more about it. She writes very well; however, this book went on and on and on and on and on (and repeat that for 500 pages). I found myself wanting to put it down because it was so soul crushingly boring, but I plowed through it, determined, because to put it down after suffering through even 10 pages would have just proven an utter waste of my time. The book description above notes that Henry is "imposs ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
Honestly, this book sucked. The cover reads, "can one terrible moment change your life forever?" The answer is no. Reading this book was a bunch of terrible moments spread over several weeks because the book moved slow, was uninteresting and overall really downplayed the "terrible moment!" This is a classic example of an accomplished author slapping a book together because she can. I wouldn't waste your time reading it.
Caroline Bell
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
I made it 60% of the way through this book, but reading it was so boring and plotless it was more like meditating. There are no likable characters. There's barely any plot. In first 60 pages, the most exciting thing that happens is a men's clothing store has a minor flood and someone who works there asks a girl on a date. This book is terrible.
Eric Klee
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I purchased EVERYTHING MUST GO awhile ago and finally picked it off my bookshelves to read it. I couldn't remember why I originally purchased it, because it started out pretty darn boring. It was filled with insignificant details and descriptions that weren't going anywhere. In fact, for several chapters at the beginning of EVERYTHING MUST GO, I really didn't like it. First, there seemed to be a lot of grammar mistakes (at least for a published novel), or maybe it was just very poor editing. At ...more
Debbie Evancic
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Henry was a football star, a popular guy from a somewhat normal family. A terrible thing happened that changed the family dynamics forever. He ended up coming home from college and working in a men’s clothing store, taking care of his mother for 23 years.

Mr. Beardsley was the owner of the men’s clothing store until he wasn’t. Henry believed Mr. Beardsley when he said it was the two of them forever. Then Mr. Beardsley disappeared from his life.

Henry Powell dreamed a lot about being a star in a ba
Kerri Davis
Sep 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not get into this. I am not sure if this is the book's fault or mine but it just felt incredibly drawn out and snoozy.

I really like for those first two or so chapters to grip me or at the very least peak my interest. This book did neither and has put me in a reading slump I need to get out of :-(
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading the first few (negative) reviews I very nearly didn't read this book but I'm so glad I did. I found that the 'boring' nature of the plot led to a deep understanding of the main character, why his life had turned out the way it had and how it could have been different. For me, the book didn't need to have a racing plot to be really interesting.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can’t believe I finished this book. I just kept thinking that it has to get better for Henry, the main character. But there was nothing; no climax, no resolution, no happy ending or wrap up. Just a dreary story full of excessive detail from beginning to end. Alternating between years did not help the stagnation of Henry’s life.
Chelsie Murphy
Oct 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read 200 pages into the book, half way, and gave up. So boring. Doesn’t ever seem to get to a point.
May 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Couldn't get into it. May try it again another time.
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was subtly delightful in a heartbreaking, Loser-loses-all kind of way. I think it’s also the perfect example of how a presumably mediocre story can take on extraordinary meaning to your personal life given the fact that you read it at precisely the correct time in your life-stage.


I absolutely love Flock’s writing style. The short chapters, the quick bouncing back from future to past to when-we-gonna-get-to-present is a compelling way to put together “Everything Must
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
From Booklist
Flock's introspective third novel delves into the seemingly ordinary life of Henry Powell, one of three sons, who surprisingly becomes a football star in his senior year in high school, and receives a college scholarship. He also takes a part-time job at Baxter's, the local men's clothing store; then, when his father calls him home to help care for his chronically ill mother, the job at Baxter's becomes full-time. As months turn to years, and Henry's dreams of becoming a Sports Illu
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is quite evident from other reviews that readers either LOVED this novel or completely despised it. I am rather shocked to admit I fall in the first group. I never thought that 300 + pages of nothingness could make for such a compelling read. The uber ordinary life of a not so ordinary man spreading over 20 odd years. Events recalled rather haphazardly and in no specific order or sequence. The 'tragic event' that changed the main character's destiny was very played down in the manner that the ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
To everyone on the outside, the Powells are a happy family, but then a devastating accident destroys their fragile facade. When seven-year-old Henry is blamed for the tragedy, he tries desperately to make his parents happy again. As Henry grows up, he is full of potential - a talented sportsman with an academic mind and a thirst for adventure. However, Henry soon begins to question if the guilt his parents have burdened him with since childhood has left him ultimately unable to escape his anguis ...more
Sep 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Henry Powell, the middle child of a family with three sons, is destined to lead a sad and meaningless life when he, at a very young age, is responsible for the death of his younger brother. His father is ultimately a failure as a businessman, a father and husband. Henry's mother is an alcoholic whose aspirations to becoming part of a "higher" social status fail and her life spins out of control following the death of her youngest child. Henry shows early promise as a high school athlete, but his ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it did not like it

This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Flock and I think maybe I should not have started with this title. It was one of the dullest stories I have read for a long time which jumped about all over the place in its timeline and was such a boring story.
The protagonist Henry is one of three sons and for most of his life has carried with him the guilt of his younger brother’s death. Winning a scholarship he did escape his home town of Baxter for awhile
Vrinda Pendred
i really reallly liked this, it was subtle, and i don't mean that in the euphemistic way, i mean it seriously, it kinda crept up on you what was going on, what the title meant, and i particularly loved the last 100 pages or so, as he grew older and all the exchanges with the imaginary biographer, and i can't say too much without giving things away, but the ending especially. i even saw it coming, the ending, but still the way she treated it was beautiful, just as her other two books were breatht ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
No doubt, this could have been a thought provoking story of how one person's life is affected by a family tragedy. Tragedy has prevented Henry to live his life to his full potential; he is stuck working in a cloth shop unable to reconcile the dreams and expectations of his promising youth. The shop seem to be his only connection to the real word. Former friends keep passing by, leading Henry to reflect on his life as it could have been.

A story that bowls along at a slow pace and does not go anyw
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I loved this book! Yes, it's repetitive and Henry has a boring life, but (sadly) I could kind of relate to him. I found him so convincing and I found myself cringing while he was chasing Cathy around and writing her letters.
I think anyone who has ever felt stuck in a rut could relate to this, but I don't think all will enjoy it. I can see why some would find it slow or not have any empathy with Henry through not being able to understand him.
This book is really beautifully written. Hopefully i
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I definitely agree with some of the other reviews that this book was a bit boring. I was interested enough to read the whole book, but there were several times I thought about stopping to just read something else. I don't like that you know something traumatic happens to Henry's family and that he's blamed for it from the back cover, but you don't find out what that event was until page 126. A little late in my opinion (though you can mostly figure it out before then). Also, I don't like how Hen ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
Yeah this book was just weird and confusing!
You read the back and your thinking ohh this sounds so good and then you start reading it and it goes on and on and on.

This is what the back says read at your own risk LOL.

ompared to some, Henry Powell's life has been lucky, if inauspicious. Yet Henry is impossibly stuck, unable to reconcile the dreams and expectations of his promising youth with the reality of the unassuming, vaguely dissatisfied clothing store clerk he has become.

As weeks turn into m
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be as interesting as it appeared on the cover but alas, it was not to be.

The reviews are mixed on Goodreads - some readers think it's brilliant in its nuances and whatnot. I am not a person who enjoyed English Lit because of exactly that. I like a plain and simple story that makes you think a bit.

This novel is very, very boring. I kept waiting for the story to get interesting and it didn't. I think I pushed through because I started reading about 18 months ago and I ne
Jul 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Me & Emma" is my favorite book of all time, so I had high expectations for this book. Sadly, Elizabeth Flock did not deliver this time. This book is so sad and depressing...if not for the introduction of Celeste, I would rate this zero stars. She is the only redeeming quality in this tragedy. I feel so bad for the main character, Henry, that I wanted to cry through the whole book. Then I got to the last page, and I was like, "what? this is it?"... I am currently 3/4 of the way through "Slee ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
I found this book to be long and drawn out, too much so. Henry was ready to die of boredom and so was I.

The story is about Henry Powell and his ordinary life working in a clothing store. It was supposed to be a decidedly different life for Henry after becoming the high school football star. However, his fractured family life completely destroyed Henry's hopes and dreams and he lives out his days working, trying to build a relationship with various girls and looking after his alcoholic mother.

Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book definitely had some potential but I had a tough time making it through—it was just not very interesting and didn’t have much action. The story is about a high school hero whose life doesn’t turn out as planned due to events that took place when he was a young boy after which everything changed for his family. He became the main caretaker for his ruined mother and had to leave a college football scholarship behind to return home. He spends his life working at a clothing store and trying ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
I just couldn't finish this one. I got more than 160 pages in and would it frustratingly slow and boring. The excruciating details about the protagonist's life were painful to read. I think it was written this way on purpose to draw attention to the mundane world in which Henry - the main character - has trapped himself. But, between the grammar mistakes, the confusing and disjointed toggling back and forth in time (which normally I like, but it was done poorly here), and the mind-numbingly slow ...more
Nov 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
I still don't know why I insisted on finishing this book. It took me 7 months to read, it was so mind numbingly boring that I kept putting it down. Nothing happens in this book. Nothing.

Henry's character is completely unlikeable and I kept waiting for him to have some kind of breakthrough which just didn't happen. I suppose the whole point of the book is that he's stuck in the past which to be quite honest makes it all the more dull. He is self centred and at times, somewhat misogynistic.

I have
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was fantastic. Henry is quirky and leads a very mundane life so there is a lot of small details in this book....but that is very much done intentionally as it's a part of his personality. I liked reading the small quirks. It reminded me a bit of "Perks of Being A Wallflower" which got great reviews and made into a movie, so I was a bit surprised that this book was rated so low.
I enjoyed it. It hooked me fast. I have liked everything I read by Flock and she didn't disappoint w
I will admit it - this is a book that I stopped reading in the middle. It made me feel bad about the protaganist's life, my life, my family's life, my neighbor's life ... like there is only self-delusion and repetitive behavior in this world and nothing else, so why bother do something as silly as read a book all the way through?

It was a lyrical, well-authored book, though. And if you like a meandering unfolding of a something or other, then you'll most likely make it all the way through this no
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Former print journalist Elizabeth Flock reported for TIME and PEOPLE magazines before becoming an on-air correspondent for CBS News. Her acclaimed debut novel, BUT INSIDE I'M SCREAMING, chronically the psychological struggles of a young television reporter in New York, was released in 2003. Her second novel, ME & EMMA, became a New York Times bestseller and was an Indiebound (formerly Booksen ...more