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All About Lulu: A Novel Paperback – July 21, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Evison's debut—of love and loss, growing up, throwing up and moving on—is a stunner. William Miller Jr. is a scrawny loner whose mother dies of cancer when he is seven years old, leaving him an awkward vegetarian with an ominously macho father and idiot twin brothers in mid-1970s Santa Monica. William's father, Big Bill, remarries a grief counselor named Willow, and Will spends the following decades in love with Louisa (Lulu, as she prefers to be called), his new stepsister. They are close throughout adolescence, but after a summer at cheerleading camp, Lulu returns home distant and hostile, leaving Will to pine for her in solitary desperation. Will finally appears to be on the path to normalcy in the early 1990s when he lucks into a radio talk-show hosting gig, but the stroke of good fortune is short-lived, as he discovers things about Lulu he'd rather not know. Evison provides readers a viciously funny and deeply felt portrayal of a blended family and one man's thwarted longing. (July)
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"All About Lulu is an exhilarating, wholly original and brave novel about obsession, love and becoming. With Will Miller Evison has created a thoroughly modern protagonist steeped in Dickensian complexity, pure yet conflicted, lost yet driven to find truth in the dysfunctional American abyss." -- James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist
"Anyone who has ever experienced obsessive love -- or wanted to experience obsessive love -- will find themselves at home in Jonathan Evison's All About Lulu. The voice is fresh as this morning's rain, the emotions are universal. Read this book and realize you aren't the only one knocked stupid for love." -- Tim Sandlin, author of Western Swing
"Evison's debut novel glows with evocative details and unforgettable scenes...story of sweet complexity, about the people you want to hold on to, and the ones you have to let go." -- Time Out New York
"Evison's debut-of love and loss, growing up, throwing up and moving on-is a stunner....Evison provides readers a viciously funny and deeply felt portrayal of a blended family and one man's thwarted longing." -- Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Most novels in which a boy must oil up his bodybuilder father for competition would merit our attention, but that detail is just one of many amazements on offer in All About Lulu. Will the Thrill is a great literary charmer, and through his rich voice Jonathan Evison has concocted a funny and painfully honest piece of fiction." -- Sam Lipsyte
Top customer reviews
A sad nostalgic tale that had it's fair share of surprises. I felt especially into this book because of the times and places, I grew up in LA during the 80's. So locations like Norm's and Thifty (home of the 10 cent ice cream cone) made me smile. Even one of my old high school's, Western in Anaheim, got a mention. And of course I grew up on Rick Dees, Casey Kasem's top 40, and Shadoe Stevens.
Great story, complexed characters, and well written. Loved this book and can't imagine anyone who wouldn't.
I guess it was a bit after midway in Lulu the story seemed to drag for me. As Will, this reader was beginning to tire of being suspended so long! Wait now. Four-and-a-half stars. What gives? So I returned to rereading some reviews here to find out--was it just me? From reader reviews I read that the story has a big ending so pressed on.
My 3-star rating then is a reflection of my disappointment with Lulu's ending: For me it just wasn't a satisfying payoff! The ending was predicated entirely upon me believing that Big Bill, Willow, and Lulu each and all had good rationale for not being honest with poor ole Will up front and, regrettably, I have difficulty with those character's reasons. Of course the storyline would not have at all survived that honesty.
Upon finishing this book I felt as though I had watched all nine innings of a ballgame where our Dodgers busted out early and Spectacular through 3, the other team incredibly manages to tie the lead by the 7th inning stretch, and then then in the last of the ninth amid thundering yawns ... my Dodgers loose on an error. Drat! And I had stayed up late on a work night to watch this dang game. I wanted a bigger payoff and a little afterglow, please. One reviewer referenced Lulu as a story with a bruised heart. True, but I was expecting bruised + battered not bruised + loose. In Evison's Lulu Will flat looses. Three stars. For the reader who can embrace a beautiful if lengthy story of unrequited love don't miss this one, this one's likely a five.
admittedly, there were moments where the narrator's voice began to grate. i felt for him, but i wasn't sure i liked him or wanted to listen to him anymore. i had mixed feelings about the story's resolution. revelations that are meant to answer looming questions left me, a bit underwhelmed, with still more questions. while it made sense narratively, i just wanted the enigma back. at times, i feared that the writer's voice and ambition, were encroaching, threatening to overwhelm the narrative and the voice of the characters. all of this, however, is minor quibbling with a book this generous, with this much heart, capable of provoking this much emotion. for any personal reservations i might have had at first read, i know it's a book i want to share with others.