All I Have in This World

Thoughts Parker_All I Have_Jkt_Final.indd by Michael Parker, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2014, 320 pages

First, let me tell you that I rated this Five Slices of Pie.

I don’t usually write my reviews in Goodreads, but this time I did. I now copy and share here. As always, the book cover above links to the book blurb in Feel free to go there and read the official “what’s the book about” bit first since I rarely do a good job with that.

Based on the reaction at today’s bookclub, I am in the minority for loving this. Just my kind of book, I guess. But why do I feel the need to apologize or temper my five stars by saying, “Well I loved it but I doubt anyone else will.” Raspberries! I liked it a lot. Amazing? Yes, to me. Not “Should be amazingly adored by everyone!” Skillfully constructed, well-balanced and authentic seeming characters, (and by ‘well-balanced’, I mean in how they were presented, not the character’s personalities!) Sure, suspend some beliefs but yet, as a reader, I didn’t doubt ANY of it. I totally get that some people might not find it authentic and rather thought it silly, even; but I loved it. (Some one thought the relationships were as dry and arid as Western Texas.) I don’t know why it made sense to me and was believable or why I didn’t feel I needed to believe that two strangers sharing a car is possible or ‘would ever never happen’. Who cares – it works in this story. The Buick Electra was a character and I didn’t care that the last chapter ‘didn’t make any sense’ or that the story of the mother and dot who followed the car in Indiana was odd and didn’t connect. I loved it.
So, if you want to experience this book and you know I hate to give spoilers, just know this: The first ten pages are WHAM!-punch. And then the author inserts little short stories about a Buick Electra. Pay attention to the years on the chapter titles and just roll with it.
It might have helped that I read the last 2/3 of this book in two days. I was not expecting to 5-star this when in the first 1/3; I thought it had chances of being a solid 3-star. But something about the prose and the thoughts shared and the emotions provoked pushed it into the amazing realm.
I loved it.
I suspect that most of my book club would have given it 2-3 stars…
(AND I bet they are very worried that I am extremely excited about our next book! The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. Totally different book, I’m sure, but they are nervous.)

and I also managed to copy my Reading Progress!  LOVED some of these quotes. Forgive my laziness to fix the words – I use voice comments in goodreads on the iPhone app and sometimes my phone doesn’t understand me. Sigh…

Reading Progress

03/03 marked as: to-read
03/11 marked as: currently-reading
03/11 page 6 1.0% “Tucked a strand of it behind an ear”  (for Rhapsody Jill)
03/11 page 10 3.0% “Well, THAT was one packed-full impactful first chapter.”
03/13 page 11 3.0% “… Perhaps it was the landscape that noticed him and announced itself, Eric and Tony, as the opposite of the farm he fled in the lush sea level swamplands of southeastern North Carolina”   – Ack! I had to return the book! I don’t think it really said Eric & Tony but ARID and … something else. Blame it on voice notes confusion.
03/13 page 19 5.0% “She spoke of narrative a term he distrusted for its odor of linearity. She spoke of flow a term he disliked for its elasticity”
03/16 page 139 43.0% “”mistakes were made” is a phrase that made you feel slightly better for a while after you uttered it, for its passive construction put the onus on the mistake, as if the absent subject of the sentence – the implied “I” – were walking contentedly down the street, and out of the heavens dropped the net that was the mistake, scooping up the innocent “I” and dangling above the sidewalk, trapped, foiled, ruined.”
03/16 page 157 49.0% “… The compromise and sacrifice that results when you rise out of yourself into the wider world.”
03/17 page 220 68.0% One of the longest run-on sentences I have ever read in a book starts on page 220.
03/17 page 226 70.0% “He was passing through, slower than a train, faster than a drought.”
03/17 page 239 74.0% “”Go straight” and her brother taunted her saying, ” you mean forward, dummy, not straight.” Her life had been straight but not forward.”
03/17 page 242 75.0% My fave of the lil Buick stories is Evelyn!!!!!!!
03/17 page 275 85.0% “To make Marcus realize how utterly unoriginal were his sins”
03/17 page 280 87.0% “Marcus sat in the parking lot of the Fina station accusing himself of the crime of attempted living.
03/17 page 293 91.0% Waterworks starting
03/17 marked as: read


Her life had been straight but not forward. (from the Evelyn short story…)


pieratingsml pieratingsmlpieratingsmlpieratingsmlpieratingsml


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

15 thoughts on “All I Have in This World

  1. Since I live amid non-readers and (what I refer to as) mini-readers, I am often in a position where I loved a book others did not. Own your love. Always own your love.

  2. Isn’t it funny how books affect us all differently. I would say you are the lucky one in this case! Now I am very curious about it. I want to say that you should all like The Good Lord Bird, because I did, but that would be presumptuous, wouldn’t it? Who knows? Maybe you’ll all hate it. But, I don’t think so. 🙂

    1. Yes, and the same book might affect differently depending on mood, when read, etc. LIke what Shaina says in the next comment.
      I am looking foward to TGLB. I had read the author’s The Color of Water at the time of last year’s Tourney of Books (which Good Lord Bird was a contender) and wanted to read and *THEN* realized I knew the author! So it makes it a memorable book on the tbr.

  3. Who cares what anyone else thought? Sometimes the right book shows up at the right time! I often wonder how differently I’d feel about specific books if I’d just read them at a different point in time.

    Glad this one worked!

    1. You are absolutely right but it’s not quite as fun to be the ONLY person at book club who adored a book when every one else is ‘meh’ about it. I would rather that they all hated it! (no, not really, then I would REALLY wonder about me!)

  4. I loved reading your Reading Progress notes. So do you think Eric & Tony exist in some other book, perhaps …? And yes, what a great quote: “Her life had been straight but not forward.”

    1. Nah, it ‘s the crazy iphone voice recognition! I sometimes think it very funny what it ‘hears’ me say.
      I think you would like this book. I would love to see what you thought of the structure.

  5. I received this one unsolicited and have heard NOTHING about it since then. I haven’t abandoned it yet because I like Algonquin books. So, will I love this one or not?? I’m definitely intrigued!

  6. Pingback: The Post In Which I Rank My Top Rated Books of 2015 | Care's Online Book Club

Welcome! I invite you to comment. If for some reason commenting is troublesome, pls send email to BkClubCare [at] Gmail

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s