All That Matters: A Novel

All That Matters: A Novel

4.6 15
by Gretchen Young
     
 

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What's the greatest gift that one person can give another?

Jan Goldstein's stunning debut novel, All That Matters, is a deeply moving, endearing tale of a young woman who, with the help of her feisty grandmother, makes a journey from the very brink of death and despair into a full embrace of life.

Jennifer Stempler has nothing left to lose: theSee more details below

Overview

What's the greatest gift that one person can give another?

Jan Goldstein's stunning debut novel, All That Matters, is a deeply moving, endearing tale of a young woman who, with the help of her feisty grandmother, makes a journey from the very brink of death and despair into a full embrace of life.

Jennifer Stempler has nothing left to lose: the love of her life dumped her, her mother died in a senseless car accident five years ago, and her famous Hollywood producer father started a brand-new family--with no room in it for her. So, 23-year-old Jennifer decides to pursue peaceful (permanent) oblivion on the beach near her home in Venice, California, drifting on a lethal combination of Xanax and tequila. But she can't even get that right.

Jennifer's depression is no match for her Nana's determination. Gabby Zuckerman refuses to let her granddaughter self-destruct. With promises made to Jennifer's father and doctors, Gabby whisks Jennifer back to her home in New York City, intending to prove to Jennifer that her life cannot possibly be over yet. In fact, it has just begun. Through jaunts in Central Park to road trips to Maine, Gabby teaches Jennifer how to trust and hope again. And by relating her own tragic and heroic experience during the Nazi occupation of Poland, Gabby bestows upon Jennifer an understanding of her own life's value. But when Gabby reveals a secret--one that proves to be Jennifer's toughest challenge yet--Jennifer struggles to find out whether the gift will sustain her.

Combining the unabashedly heart-warming sentiment of Robert James Waller's The Bridges of Madison County or Nicholas Sparks's Message in a Bottle with the irreverent humor of Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes, Goldstein's All That Matters is an inspirational first novel that leads readers to the core of what matters in life--family, hope, and savoring each moment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this sentimental, uplifting first novel by rabbi and self-help author Goldstein (Sacred Wounds; Life Can Be This Good), a suicidal young woman finds her bliss with the help of her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. At 23, Jennifer thinks there's little to live for: her mother is dead, her Hollywood-producer father is busy with his picturesque new family, and her boyfriend has given her the boot. ("Phillip had been the white knight of her childhood fairy tales, the prince she long dreamed would rescue her from a life she had no wish to live.") Enter Gittel "Gabby" Zuckerman, to take Jennifer back with her to New York and make everything all right. Jennifer may not be particularly sympathetic or convincing as a depressive, but Gabby, for all her familiarity (twinkly eyes, "floating halo of white hair," indomitable spirit) is hard not to love. When she reveals to Jennifer how she met her husband and escaped the Nazis in Poland, the story (though often told in fiction) transcends clich and takes on some urgency. Elsewhere, there are clich s aplenty, but Goldstein unabashedly, effectively yanks readers' heartstrings and some of them will love it. Agent, Linda Chester. Literary Guild, BOMC, Doubleday and QPB selections. (Sept.) Forecast: Can you say Lifetime movie? But with the book's low price, good blurbs and uplifting message, you might also be able to say hit. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A feisty grandmother and Holocaust survivor takes charge of her suicidal grandchild. Twentysomething Jennifer, found unconscious on the beach in Venice, California, is rushed to the hospital; when she wakes up, she finds that her nana, Gabby, has flown from New York to be by her side. Jennifer's boyfriend, we learn, had asked her to move out, and as a result she'd taken what she hoped was a lethal dose of Xanax and alcohol. No one seemed to care about her: her father, with a new wife and baby, wasn't interested in her; and her mother had been killed in an accident on the way to Jennifer's high school graduation. As for Gabby, her lungs are shot from smoking-she's got bad emphysema-but she loves life and is determined to find good where she can. Haunted by her own past-she saw her parents and sister killed by the Nazis, went into hiding in a brave Polish woman's attic and, when betrayed, was saved by partisans-she is the more determined to ensure that Jennifer has a future. After persuading Jennifer's doctors-and her father, a Hollywood producer-that she can take care of the girl in New York and bring her back to health, the two fly east and Jennifer, reluctantly, moves in with Gabby. Initially, Jennifer resists help, but Gabby, despite her frail health, plans activities she hopes will cheer Jennifer: they clean stables, attend plays, walk in Central Park. Jennifer is still depressed and hasn't abandoned the idea of suicide, but Gabby has her own survival stratagems, including a car trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, a place that has long held special meaning for her. There, though her own health deteriorates, she makes a final pitch for Jennifer's life. Should have an emotional weight and impact,but Goldstein's first fails to move. Book-of-the-Month/Doubleday Book Club/Quality Paperback Book Club selection. Agent: Linda Chester/Linda Chester Literary Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401382919
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
09/01/2004
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
100
Sales rank:
273,145
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

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