Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: All Together Now

All Together Now
By: Gill Hornby
Published by: Little, Brown and Company
Release date: July 21, 2015
Genre: adult contemporary fiction
336 pages
Source: review copy kindly provided by publisher

The Bridgeford town choir is dying.  So, for that matter, is the town.  Town spirit is at an all-time low, a big box store is going up soon just off the road leading to town, and local businesses on the main thoroughfare are starting to consider closing up.  As the choir prepares for a big singing contest, its venerable leader, Connie, is in a car accident and ends up in the hospital.  The motley crew that makes up the choir struggles in her absence to recruit new members and get ready for competition.

I have sung in a choir off and on since I was in middle school, and if you’ll pardon the pun, All Together Now hits all the right notes.  From snarky sopranos to booming basses, the Bridgeford choir is packed with hilariously flawed characters and all the “politics” that come into play in an established organization.  What was especially fun about this book was the way the characters were never what they seemed to be at first.  The ones that seemed to have it together were secretly falling apart inside; the ones who were annoying at first, turned out to be some of the best in the book.  Their interactions had me laughing out loud in several places.

If you have ever sung in a choir, or if you enjoy stories about the characters in small towns, All Together Now is sure to be one of the funnier and more moving books you read this spring.

The small town of Bridgeford is in crisis. Downtown is deserted, businesses are closing, and the idea of civic pride seems old-fashioned to residents rushing through the streets to get somewhere else. Bridgeford seems to have lost its heart.

But there is one thing that just might unite the community--music. The local choir, a group generally either ignored or mocked by most of Bridgeford's inhabitants, is preparing for an important contest, and to win it they need new members, and a whole new sound. Enlisting (some may say drafting) singers, who include a mother suffering from empty-nest syndrome, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job and his family, and a nineteen-year-old waitress who dreams of reality-TV stardom, the choir regulars must find--and make--harmony with neighbors they've been happy not to know for years. Can they all learn to work together, save the choir, and maybe even save their town in the process?

All Together Now is a poignant and charming novel about community, family, falling in love--and the big rewards of making a small change.

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