First, here are my unsolicited blurbs for this book:
“Please option this for a film asap.”
“Woolf is a modern day Nora Ephron.” (Possibly influenced by the fact that I just finished Heartburn, but still!)
“This book is the true LA Story.”
After following her work online for years (as one of the thousands of people whose fingers hold her up in this cosmic game of light as a feather, stiff as a board), I have been eagerly awaiting my chance to read All of This: A Memoir of Death and Desire by Rebecca Woolf.
The first half+ of this book is a gripping narrative. Later, the book becomes less plot driven and slows, and I think that’s because the “after” is not/could not be a linear trajectory.
Woolf wrestles with what it means to be a feminist, or to become a feminist, and puts a magnifying glass to some of the common dynamics of life, relationships, particularly heterosexual relationships that are, to say the least, problematic. I was with her for these points because I also wrestle with many of the same questions. I differ though. Unlike Woolf, I was less tied down in my early adult life, and more so now, even though still not very “tied down” by comparison, and that is by design. I had my children later, but a decade ago, I was also reading about her life online. To be reading this book now, as I have little ones of my own feels very full circle, which she would enjoy.
Here are some lines I loved or identified with and/or that gave me pause:
First, as a fan of her writing, I loved seeing her include her numbered lists with numbers that get longer and insaner each time.
“I will not shrink myself nor prioritize people’s pleasure over my own.” Simple, true. It can be hard to recognize when it’s happening.
“Then the 2016 election happened.” This changed me forever too, and I am still not over it.
“WHAT IF IT DID NOT TURN OUT TO BE CHILL?” Just, lol, yes, this is what it is like to be a parent, mother, woman in life.
“I soon realize that it’s a lot faster for me to pack four lunches on my own.” This is just simply true and a lot of people don’t know it.
“My daughters. They are only mine now.”
“The bravest women I know are not widows. They are divorced.”
“And there is nothing I can do but let it go and drive him home. This is the moment I became a single mother.”