Title: All I Love And Known
Author: Judith Frank
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Review Summary: This book rocked my world with it’s unbelievably moving portrayal of flawed, believable characters fighting through a tough situation.
Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen have overcome many challenges to be with one another, including their differences from one another and Daniel’s parents’ belief that Matt isn’t good enough for their son. However, nothing they’ve faced previously prepares them for the events set in motion when Daniel’s twin brother and his wife are killed in a bombing in Jerusalem. Even though Daniel’s brother and his wife wanted Matt and Daniel to raise their children, they face strong opposition from their family. As they fight for custody, Daniel also struggles to grieve while Matt tries to be their for Daniel, even as Daniel shuts him out.
When I read a book this wonderful, I always wish I had more of a way with words, so I could do the book justice. I desperately want to convey the essence of this book to you so that you can share the love and awe I feel for it. I’m not someone who always loves flawed characters. I sometimes even find them annoying. But in this book, when I say the characters are flawed, what I mean is that they are created with flaws and strengths and likes and dislikes and feelings that are so believable and so self-consistent that it seems they could step off the page. I thought the author also did an incredible job showing that gay couples are just like any other couple without diminishing the extra pressures put on their relationship by the prejudices some people have towards gay couples.
At first, I wasn’t sure I liked Daniel very much, but as we get into the story and share his perspective, my heart ached for both halves of this struggling couple. The author flowed seamlessly between their perspectives, as well as the perspective of their adopted daughter. Throughout the book, the author connects what’s happening to Matt and Daniel back to greater issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gay rights. She made me do a lot of thinking about these issues but I never felt that she was moralizing at me. Instead she just gave these issues a human face. I think there are parts of this book which could make many people uncomfortable, including some (necessary) description of the characters’ sex lives and perhaps the characters’ views on Israel. I think that’s a good thing though, making this a book which will push peoples’ boundaries. It’s also moving and beautiful and so, so wonderful. Even if you’re nervous about the topic, perhaps especially if you’re nervous about the topic, I highly encourage you to give All I Love And Know a chance.