Frances Ferguson is a lonely, sharp-tongued widow who lives in the wine country. Oliver Gaffney is a painfully shy gay man who guards a secret and lives out equally lonely days in San Francisco. Friends by default, Fran and Ollie nurse the deep anomie of loss and the creeping, animal betrayal of aging. Each loves routine but is anxious that life might be passing by. To crack open this stalemate, Fran insists the two travel together to Paris. The aftermath of their funny, bittersweet journey suggests those small changes, within our reach, that may help us save ourselves—somewhere toward the end.
In All the News I Need, author Joan Frank takes us on a deep-sea dive into the characters and characteristics of Ollie and Fran. They may have their quirks and can be aggravating, but they are also endearingly human. More than that, we also have in common the fact that there are most likely fewer days ahead for us than behind, and we've switched from plan-making to stock-taking.
Also, I love books where the MC's have been knocked around by life a little, but they keep showing up to face each day. This quality is greatly evident in both Fran and Ollie. (Do I date myself when I admit that the first thing that popped into my head after seeing the character names was..."Kukla?")
One thing that can move a book from a 4-star to a 5-star rating for me is the author's use of language. This is the 4th year in which I have actively read and reviewed books and Ms. Frank is definitely in my top 3 favorite authors in that respect. To put it one way, if an 'average' book is like a small bag of chips from a vending machine, All the News is like a sumptuous, mouth-watering 7-course meal. You enjoy it while it is going on, remember it fondly after the fact , and plan on repeating it as much as possible.
I can hardly wait to read All the News I Need again, because I know I will discover something new each time.
MEET THE AUTHOR
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)