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*Download Kindle » All This Could Be Yours ⚸ If I know why he is the way he is then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am, says Alex Tuchman, strong headed lawyer, loving mother, and daughter of Victor Tuchman a power hungry real estate developer and, by all accounts, a bad man Now that Victor is on his deathbed, Alex feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who he is and what he did over the course of his life and career She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra As Barbra fends of Alex s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor Meanwhile Gary, Alex s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles And Gary s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drug stores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits Dysfunction is at its peak As each family member grapples with Victor s history, they must figure out a way to move forward with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children All This Could Be Yours is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power it shows how those webs can tangle a family for generations and what it takes to maybe, hopefully break free He always wanted to talk to Alex, because she was not just his sister, but also his friend, and also, they had both survived that house in Connecticut together, and it was a natural instinct to accept her hand when she reached it toward him and she was so breathless with the news about their father s heart attack she sounded nearly joyful, which anyone else might have found inappropriate but he didn t, he was on her team, and she was on his pg 11So I went into this book the way I prefer He always wanted to talk to Alex, because she was not just his sister, but also his friend, and also, they had both survived that house in Connecticut together, and it was a natural instinct to accept her hand when she reached it toward him and she was so breathless with the news about their father s heart attack she sounded nearly joyful, which anyone else might have found inappropriate but he didn t, he was on her team, and she was on his pg 11So I went into this book the way I prefer to go into all books, completely blind What would it be about What would the author be like This is my first Attenberg What surprises lay in store for me The book does not have a plot I m just going to come out and say it It doesn t have a real story arc A plot A getting from point A to point B narrative.It takes place over the course of a day or so after, at the beginning of the book, an evil patriarch of the family has a heart attack How are is wife, two adult children, and two grandchildren affected by this That s it If you are expecting some kind of resolution, or, like me, were expecting some sort of twist that would bring the whole book together beautifully, you are not going to get it.You re saying it s open ended No It s not open ended It s not closed ended It s not anything ended, there s no conclusion There s a beginning, which is patriarch of the family has a heart attack but there s no ending and the book isn t going anywhere.It s basically look at this family for a day or two.That might be appealing to some people, unappealing to others But I think it s a good thing to let people know about This isn t a traditional narrative.Attenberg is a good author as in putting words together Which is different than being a good author in re plotting I recoiled from her writing style at the beginning It s choppy and consists of short bursts and short sentences pasted together, but I quickly got used to it and actually quite enjoyed it.She makes a lot of great, true observations about the world That is a plus.She also can be funny at times I never laughed out loud, but I did kind of exhale air quickly at a few parts in amusement This isn t a funny book, but there were a few pieces of humor in there that were very brief but appreciated by this reader.The main thrust of this book is not for Attenberg to tell a story That s not her intent, as we can see from her lack of plot Instead, she is using this book to make statements and observations about misogyny, abuse, the patriarchy, how women have to navigate a life of being second class citizens to men, feminism.Now I m a feminist A lot of GREAT points are being made here by Attenberg A lot of great points She had some very relevant, interesting things to say Alex realized that this was an important moment in the development of her child A question was being asked that needed a responsible answer She could teach her child about honesty, and about the way she deserved to be treated by a man, but also how it was possible to love someone even if they were deeply, deeply, deeply flawed And, if she were to be fair to her ex husband, how it was possible to be attracted to two people at the same time, even have two separate relationships, but that was his line of defense, not hers Or was she supposed to tell Sadie that her father didn t know how to keep his dick in his pants, and that he never had, not for as long as she d known him, not in college when he was someone else s boyfriend cheating with her, not when they lived together in Chicago when they were in law school, not after they got married and moved to the suburbs where they both were equally bored, but still somehow she had managed to remain faithful while he hadn t Not ever was there a time when that man s penis stayed put where it was supposed to be, instead of living its life as a free flying dilettante, a party penis, as if it were some sort of rich kid celebrity DJ hitting new hot spots, London, Paris, Ibiza, except instead of those cities it would be a paralegal s vagina instead pg 32She makes some amazing points about women s emotional labor She loved him He was the daddy Her daddy He flipped through his marked Bible he hadto say It s OK, I m listening, she said And that was the day she invented it, this particular glazed expression of hers She had created it to please her father, but it had served her well in her life When she wore it, most men thought she was listening to them, and most women knew that the conversation was over pg 42Every woman in this novel has to cover her real self up in some way, stifle herself, manipulate herself for a man Put up with men s demands and egos in order to achieve what they want out of life or whatever the patriarchy tells them to want out of life The only woman who semi escapes this is Sharon, a black woman on the periphery of this novel who values her independence and decides not to have children or give away any part of herself to please a man But she still suffers under the patriarchy, as we see here She had lived through a long running commentary on the development of her physique from strangers and acquaintances and certain family members since she was thirteen years old, which meant it had been nearly thirty seven years that she d been forced to contemplate her shape by men when she was just trying to live her life, along with all the near misses, gropes, a med school colleague whom she witnessed putting some sort of pill in her beer when he thought she wasn t looking, the tight gripped greeting of a few men in professional circles, the constant pressure to be something other than herself, phew No , she thought When she went home at night, she wanted quiet The amount of work that had to be put in to protect the self esteem of men when women should be worrying instead about building their own This was why men exhausted her so It was a wonder the world didn t collapse daily from the weight of men s egos, she thought pg 271It s not as if I don t agree with Attenberg s main points I do The patriarchy exists It s terrible It makes both women and men terrible Abuse is horrible, abuse breeds abuse Misogyny breeds misogyny Women learn to hate themselves from the patriarchy and from men Women are still not equal to men in society and that is bad.HOWEVER What bothers me about this book is Attenberg s insistence that no man is good Or, perhapsaccurately, all men are misogynists It s like this idea that every white person is a racist I mean, sure, the patriarchy is very strong and even men who think they aren t influenced by the system that keeps men on top are Everyone is trained in the patriarchy and raised up in the patriarchy But I resist this all men are bad garbage.Look, I have some amazing relationships with men in my life The only good relationship between a man and a woman in this book is the one between Alex and her brother Gary Gary can t stand women, except for his daughter And except for his sister All women are this, all women are that, women are such pains in the ass but I love my daughter and sister That s misogyny He s a misogynist.But Attenberg is saying the only good, true, honest relationship with a man you can have as a woman is with sibling if you are VERY LUCKY And I disagree with that Attenberg is telling us over and over and over again that a man and a woman cannot have an honest, comfortable romantic relationship with each other It s impossible I DISAGREE I have had honest, comfortable relationships with romantic partners It doesn t have to be the horrorfest she is describing, where even if you didn t marry a Piece of Shit like the patriarch here , you still have to play games with your man and manipulate your man and perform emotional labor for your man because your man has power over you and you are, always in one way or another, performing to earn your keep You could be starving yourself to please him, shutting up to please him, not stating your opinion to please him, giving up your job to please him, engaging in sex acts you hate to please him etc etc etc but you are destroying part of your soul in some way to be with a man It s the price you have to pay for heterosexuality, Attenberg informs us.NO, IT S NOT You do NOT have to do this Sure, that s going to make thingsdifficult for you in the dating relationship world, but it IS possible You CAN have a bullshit free relationship Attenberg does not believe this to be possible.AS A RESULT of her not thinking a man and a woman can be in a comfortable, relatively honest and loving relationship, she turns a lot of her characters into lesbians.What do you mean, TURNS her characters into lesbians You don t turn into a lesbian.Ha ha ha ha In Attenberg s world, you do I mean, men are horrible, right And since men are so horrible, why not be with women instead This is some fucked up thinking Some Zane shit It s insulting to men, it s insulting to straight women, and it s insulting to lesbians Oh, lesbians are women who have given up on men Freed themselves from the patriarchy Found happiness by cutting men out of their lives That s not how this works If there was simply a lesbian character in here, I wouldn t be saying this shit, but this book hasthan one lesbian, andthan one secret lesbian married to a man she has to please and placate for money or status, but then secretly has love affairs with women on the side This is just bizarre Lesbians are women who have turned away from men due to bad experiences shit.She also uses the narrative that s a tired cliche at this point, it s a joke at this point, that women who get interested in feminism start experimenting with f f sexuality It s offensive It s perfectly possible to become a feminist and realize the truth about the patriarchy without deciding to get sexual with another woman Feminists are lesbians on some level shit.And saying straight women eventually wise up and get with women romantically because men are horrible people is offensive.I found her main concepts in this vein to be baffling and exasperating.Also, the ending ending could be a subtle wrap up So subtle that you miss the one sentence that explains things I took it as so subtle it was unintended, but perhaps Attenberg is creating an ending where she s saying view spoiler Barbra murdered her husband with cocaine, and Twyla becomes yet ANOTHER lesbian convert hide spoiler But it s not explicit, clear, or discussed in any way, and you can I guess choose to see this ending or choose to see no ending IMO if the author is going to be this cagey than forget it.There are other minor missteps here like when a very minor character LITERALLY throws herself into a volcano to kill herself which is ludicrous and instantly yanks you out of the novel And there s this sentence, which I hate Alex and Sadie waved at each other, Sadie s smile a metallic gleam of the most expensive, longest running batch of braces in history, like some well loved, sentimental Broadway musical pg 29It s almost unfair to mention this sentence Attenberg is a stellar writer and most of her writing in this book is on point.I also was having trouble separating Twyla s voice and Alex s voice in the middle end of the novel To be fair, writing perspectives is very difficult You are one person, so voicing multiple characters distinctly is difficult I have to point it out, though It s a weakness in the book.TL DR I would not recommend this book to anyone It s not a book I d recommend That s not a criticism of Attenberg s skill with words She s quite skilled But the book has quite a few weaknesses its blanket ideas about men men are horrible people whether they mean to be or not, aware of it or not men are dumb or clueless about women because they are unable to see women as fully human , its ideas about lesbians, its lack of plot It had a lot of strengths good writing, some interesting and well written ideas about the world, the book is smart and observant You might love it hopefully my review helps you figure out if this book is for you one way or another.NAMES IN THIS BOOK view spoiler Corey mBarbra f 68 nn Kitty nn Barbie Victor m 73Alex f Gary mAvery 12 fAbby fNatasha fTori fLatoya fSadie f Korean, Swedish, Russian Gabrielle fPablo mCamila fSharon fTwyla fSierra fBobby m half Korean Catherine fAnya fMordechai mJosef mBernie mCora fTracy fShana fTonya fCarver mCandice fTiffany fMaya fDarcy fGarth mCaroline fVivian fKat fRaquel fElena fPortia fJeannie fSally fRingo turkey Rich mKimberly fTerrence mGloria fMikel mMatthew mTamara fJazmine fLayla fNadine fRoxie fJoseph mGabe mMiguel m hide spoiler This is a story about a sublimely dysfunctional family and how that dysfunction is revealed, slowly, artfully, deliberately, makes for a very entertaining read I particularly appreciate how even the worst of this family, Victor, is treated with some generosity, some understanding that people are complicated, even when they are terrible I questioned the frame at times but was absolutely enraptured by the portrait within that frame. This is my 2nd time reading Jamie Attenberg I absolutely hated the popular book, The Middlesteins It left a bad taste in my mouth So I ve been extremely hesitant to read her again Intentionally passing on her other books I liked All This Could Be Yours better than The Middlesteins but I didn t exactly feel narrative energy on my skin, either Hmmmm I like contemporary fiction I like messy family drama..So I m left wondering, what s not working Why do Jami s books h This is my 2nd time reading Jamie Attenberg I absolutely hated the popular book, The Middlesteins It left a bad taste in my mouth So I ve been extremely hesitant to read her again Intentionally passing on her other books I liked All This Could Be Yours better than The Middlesteins but I didn t exactly feel narrative energy on my skin, either Hmmmm I like contemporary fiction I like messy family drama..So I m left wondering, what s not working Why do Jami s books have me feeling cold Jarring off putting Yes a little I did appreciate the themes and topics, the pains explored.yet not fiercely in my gut I think it s a styling thingNot sure puzzling to me too.Between 2.5 and 3 stars for me Jami Attenberg is one of those novelists I am always curious about, because I read her books and I know they are good, but they never really connect with me on the level I want them to This doesn t mean she is a bad writer she is an objectively good one but the way in which her books should work for me and then don t quite work for me fascinates me and I cannot figure it out The cycle played out again here, this is a messy family drama that shifts perspectives, holds on to a few key revea Jami Attenberg is one of those novelists I am always curious about, because I read her books and I know they are good, but they never really connect with me on the level I want them to This doesn t mean she is a bad writer she is an objectively good one but the way in which her books should work for me and then don t quite work for me fascinates me and I cannot figure it out The cycle played out again here, this is a messy family drama that shifts perspectives, holds on to a few key reveals, and really asks about anger and forgiveness within families These are all topics I m deeply interested in And I found many of the characters incredibly compelling It just never quite hit for me in that very specific subjective way that I hoped it would It s really interesting, really readable, with people who are messy and barely keeping it together and I think it is probably a great fit for 99% of other people who love that kind of book.At the center of the book is Victor, on his deathbed, after he was a criminal, a bad husband, and a bad father Not just a little bad, a lot bad His family reckons with this in different ways His daughter Alex rages, his son Gary disappears, his wife Barbara gets quiet, his daughter in law Twyla prays And everybody eventually has a breakdown The characters were so deep and interesting I loved the way Attenberg really rooted the story in New Orleans I wish the cover made thisclear, while there is a storage unit scene, I would have loved a New Orleans themed cover The shuffling perspectives made it a little harder on me as a reader Along with our main characters, there s plenty of side characters who come in and out Sometimes they get a whole chapter, sometimes just a paragraph I liked the idea but didn t love the execution But overall it s very smartly plotted, strong use of flashbacks, great reveals