Penny Rose had been alone her entire life, until she became pregnant with her only child. Soon, things changed in ways no one could have ever imagined. When Penny discovers that she will not live to see her son grow up, she must reach out to a world full of strangers to find the right person to raise him. At times heartbreaking, at times startling, and at times magical, Penny's journey is one of self discovery, love and acceptance, and speaks to a world where joy and loss, death and beauty are always with us, together, in all things.
Marta grew up in Los Angeles, California and has been writing from a very young age. She loves to travel, practice yoga and spend time in the outdoors. She currently works as a raptor biologist for a non-profit conservation organization. She is also co-owner of a eco-tourism/birding company called Whitehawk Birding and Conservation https://www.whitehawkbirding.com/
She is the author of one novel, and three bi-lingual children's books published through Piggy Press. She currently splits her time between Panama, Dominican Republic, and California, USA.
“Fear does not take bribes. It does not go away quietly.”-In All Things by Marta Curti Warning: This book is heavy. If you have had a perfect childhood; where you lived in relative calm and all of your dreams came true, then you need to read this book and get in touch with, an although fictionalized, stark version of reality. Perhaps you lived a childhood filled with drama and pain, then you too should read this book, within it contains just enough joy to restore hope to a ravaged spirit. In All Things is somewhat of a psychological thriller because of how it challenges the mind through metaphors and artistic soliloquy. The author has a tendency to entice the reader with abstract ideas in order to reveal hidden secrets and uncomfortable truths about the human existence that one will not find in your everyday read. Personally,I believe that it was no accident that I had an opportunity to read In All Things. As I turned each page I was lead on an emotional journey that included everything from empathy to rage. Although the book itself focused on several individuals and the intertwining of their lives through various circumstances it was really an overview of people within society who make choices that we don’t understand and would never have the gall to ask them about. The story teller’s language is vivid and engaging while the storyline itself is very suspenseful. I have never encountered a book like this, filled with equal amounts of mystery and miracles, and I enjoyed it immensely. I will admit that I had to pace myself because of the content and had to put it down to reflect or not reflect on it for a bit. I have nothing but admiration for Marta Curti’s undertaking of such a tremendous and difficult project. The dedication is certainly reflected in the end product and I highly recommend this book. 5 plus stars!
In All Things is a beautifully written, sublime novel full of exceptional characters, language, imagery, and stories. As I read the book, I found myself in awe of the author's ability to develop such diverse characters, story lines, and images, they all kept me enthralled. It is a book you want to read a second time, just to make sure you caught all the tragic beauty that lies between the lines.
Martha Curti is an author with great talent, her novel shows her deep understanding and love of the natural environment and human nature.
I cannot wait for her second novel, but in the meantime, will be reading In All Things over again...
Before going into a full review, I’d like to add that this is a very heavy book metaphorically. Trigger Warning: It’s not for fragile hearted people as it showcases the sad, cruel side of the world (in a beautiful way, though); rapes, murders, abuses.
I did have an idea what to expect from this book and how philosophical it would be, so I did postpone reading it. I wasn’t ready for such book. But once I began reading it, I found myself so engrossed in it. Although it was way different than what I usually read, I was very much interested in finishing it. First, let’s talk about the plot.
This is a story of Penny Rose who saw many hardships growing up. She thought she wasn’t worthy of love. She was an orphan and grew up with an abusive parent who made her believe that no one would love her.
“In all things there is beauty, but please help me Lord, because I do not see it in this child.”
But she wished to have a child who’d love her unconditionally and she’d return that love. She was granted her wish and the story mostly follows her pregnancy days. Penny learns that her child has an unnatural power. His heart beats at an erratic rate. And once someone else joins hands with Penny, all 3 hearts beat together and a special memory (not necessarily a happy one but one that is very close to the heart) of that person’s life plays before their eyes.
“The erratic, syncopated beats of my son’s heart had the power to draw stories from the ordinary-hearted with the ease of a magician pulling a rainbow-colored scarf from the innocent hollows of a young girl’s mouth.”
Now this is a magical realism. The special powers mentioned in this book are metaphorical/spiritual, as far as I know, not some fancy power. Through August (Penny’s unborn child), she discovers many stories similar to hers. She makes friends and learns their dark secrets; making her realize that she is not alone.
My brain limps too, he used to say, and they don’t make crutches for that.
After August’s birth, their life continues. Together they face more happiness and hardships. But her son is very special as he tries to find beauty IN ALL THINGS. Then, one day, she learns that she was dying. And August would be all alone. So she tries to find a person capable of being a parent to a child as special as August.
These people were pulled, not by the desire to mate or find food, but by something as key to their survival: they were pulled by the need to finally tell their secrets, to free them, to let them grow wings and fly.
At times, I found myself skimming through some pages as it was getting a wee bit of repetitive or too much of tragic feels. But other than that, this story speaks to me on so many levels. Like August, coming in contact with this book, it drew some dark memories from my core.
I could hear both our hearts now, distinct in the secrets they kept, but now beating, thump-shuffle-whisper-thump, in perfect unison with each other and in perfect unison with my son’s.
The thump-shuffle-whisper-thump of my heart took me to a time when I was 17. I, along with my extended family members, had crowded a hospital bed. The same bed my mom took her last breath in pure silence. The beating and pumping of a Life Support System that rang at several intervals just stopped and that silence echoed in my head the whole time I was reading this book.
The characters, the theme, the whole bunch of pages altogether makes this book such a masterpiece. But, the best thing about this book is the voice. The voice of this book, the narration takes away all the credit. This story shuffles from present scenes to past scenes and from first-person to third-person flawlessly.
Also, the voice suits the protagonist so much. The way the author narrated the story was like how Penny would describe things. The poetic narration suited Penny’s poetic soul if that makes sense.
Curti's In All Things is a beautiful testament to the interconnectedness of life, and how the vagaries of life are not as random as we think. The narrative jumps between three different perspectives, in a nesting fashion. At first, the jump in perspective is disconcerting, as it is left to the reader to suss out the speakers. It is but a momentary confusion though, and later jumps are expected and flow smooth.
This is, above all, the story of a woman named Penny Rose, an orphan who gets shuffled to various foster homes. Her last foster, a woman named Anelle, fed into Penny’s already insecure psyche, crushing her sense of self-worth. All Penny wants is to be loved, and she decides the only way to achieve this is through bearing a child. She has no interest in a husband, and expects nothing from the father if her child.
Her fetus is diagnosed early on with an irregular heartbeat, - thump, shuffle, swish, thump- a bird-like frantic thudding. He also appears to harbour the hidden gift, even in utero, of drawing forth secrets in visions from people his mother touches. This gift allowed many people to become unburdened from heavy weights, for neither mother nor child held any judgement. Thus do we, through Penny and August, become privy to the secrets of Peter, a man suffering brain damage, and Joe and Alice, a couple with an extraordinary past. These people become Penny, and later August’s family. They were there for his birth, and shared many wonderful days together.
Sadly, all things pass into something other, and soon enough this tiny family is shattered. This is followed by a terminal diagnosis for Penny. In trying to secure a safe family for August, we learn the secrets of Penny's co-workers, who prove to be not a match, and witness a beautiful reunion between Penny and a man she believed lost to her, yet who is so intimately connected to her that they meet time and again.
Themes of time, interconnectedness, birds, and beauty run throughout this hauntingly poignant narrative. Birds are a physical representation of the rest. Such beauty do they bring to the world in their often short lifetimes. Yet others, like albatross and parrots, can oft outlive humans. This novel illustrates the fact that beauty can be found anywhere, even in the most terrible and trying of circumstances and environments. It illustrates as well my favourite phrase, 'Auguries of destruction be a lullaby for rebirth.’ All death, physical or psychological, spiritual or mental, is the opportunity for new growth. It is up to us to embrace that growth and not choke it off.
I found it beautiful how Penny learned she was worthy of love. And how she, and her unborn son helped so many people come to terms with things they needed to face in order to move in in life, and hopefully grow from it. The 'Beautiful Things’ game was wonderful. My cubs and I have started keeping a Diary of All Things Beautiful, like August’s. They love adding to it. It is a great 'game’ for learning to be grateful.
Before I get into reviewing the book, I would like to thank Marta Curti for sending me the pdf of your book. In all Things, spoke not just to the heart of me but my soul. Well written and very well thought off. I don't want to add any spoilers, therefore, all I would like to say is I wish I got my hands on a copy of the book.
I have mixed feelings about In All Things. Because I admit that I might be the wrong reader for this type of book, I don’t want to judge it too harshly. Reviews on Goodreads are all positive, which makes me think that the problem is me. I prefer books with action, clear objectives for the characters, and easily distinguishable themes and elements.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading In All Things. Therefore, I am going to give this book a B (4 stars), despite being really a 1 or 2 star book in my mind. I didn’t like it, but that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. **A more detailed review can be read on my blog Books That Hook
Penny is an adopted child who suffers from loneliness and physical abuse through her life. Without family or friends, she grows insecure and craving love. All grown up she decides to have a child, and not only will she have someone to love, but this baby will connect her with the world, her past and will give her purpose.
I love sad books, I find so much love and soul into these kinds of stories. I also love plot were dead is more meaningful the same with living. If you love sand books and extra sensorial experiences, you will love this one.
What I think was missing for me was I was unable to connect with Penny, with her story and her numbness.