In reading about books as I search for book club choices, I discovered All Together Now by Matthew Norman, an author I had not previously read. Intrigued by Nancy Thayer’s endorsement of the book, “All Together Now is fast, fun, and wise—the perfect summer read,” I checked the book out from my library. It is, indeed, “a fast, fun, and wise” read.
Readers quickly learn that Robbie Malcolm is a self-made billionaire from Baltimore. He’s only thirty-five and has just received terrible news: he has stage-four pancreatic cancer and all treatment options have been exhausted. Robbie Malcolm is dying regardless of how much money he has. This information is no spoiler because it forms the premise for the rest of the story.
The rest of the story hinges on Robbie’s plans to bring his best friends from high school back together and for him to fix their lives before he dies. Blair, Cat, and Wade are the friends who formed a pact in high school, calling themselves the Baltimore Prep Rejects. That name they gave themselves after an incident in high school.
Robbie fully intends to fix his friends’ lives. After all, he has the money to do so and the desire to make them happy before he dies. Readers will quickly see the flaw in Robbie’s plan, but it will take a little time for Robbie to understand it.
Meanwhile, the four friends can enjoy some time together, celebrating their friendship while Robbie is still alive. Readers will have to read the story to discover what is wrong with each friend’s life and what it is that Robbie hopes to fix. Naturally, all of them have secrets which will ultimately be revealed as the story progresses; that’s the fun of reading, discovering what’s going on.
Matthew Norman lives in Baltimore. He received an MFA from George Mason U. He’s published several other novels including Domestic Violets which was nominated for Best Humor Category in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. That might just be my next read since a little humor would not go amiss in this time!