All Together Now by Matthew Norman is a twist on the usual four-best-friends-from-high-school novel: Robbie, a gazillionaire, has summoned Wade, Blair and Cat to his fancy beach house in Delaware because he is dying (not a spoiler) and he needs to tell them. In their late thirties, none of them are living the life they expected. Cat has just been broken up with; Blair is frustrated with her inattentive husband and her stalled art career; and Wade can’t find a publisher for his second novel. Robbie wants to fix everything for his friends before he dies, and this beach weekend is going to be the time to do it.
Why I picked it up: I enjoyed Norman’s debut, Domestic Violets (reviewed here), and heard good things about Äll Together Now.
I had read that All Together Now was heartwarming, funny and a little sad, and I think I was expecting something a little heartier than what I got. Given that the characters learned of Robbie’s illness at the start of the weekend, they spent remarkably little time comforting him or even just absorbing the news. His being terminal felt like a plot construct to explore the other three lives rather than a storyline equally weighted with the others. Robbie ended up being the most interesting character and I wanted more of him.
Overall All Together Now was an easy, quick read. It’s not terribly deep and it is somewhat predictable, but it’s a relatively uplifting story with some gentle humor.
All Together Now was the 37th book of 2021.