All There Is

David Isay
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Oct 18, 2015

Reading All There Is is like being engulfed in a giant bouquet of love in all its vast intricacies.  While there are plenty of heartwarming, kissy-face snippets in this StoryCorps gem, many stories are edged with bittersweet moments of heartache, regret and loss. 

StoryCorps is “a very simple idea.  You make an appointment to bring in anyone you want to honor by listening.  When you arrive at the booth you’re met by a StoryCorps facilitator who takes you inside and sits you across a small table from, say, your grandmother.  You face one another, a microphone in front of each of you, and for the next forty minutes you ask questions and listen.”  David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, has done a marvelous thing by taking a handful of stories centered around a theme – in this case love stories – and pairing them down to just a few pages.

This book swept me up in just a few pages.  I whooped with enthusiasm at the budding romance between a toll collector and a commuter and how a traffic cone was used to show the commuter which booth belonged to her crush.  “It’ll be like keeping a candle in the window for you,” he said.  If that doesn’t warm your heart I guarantee you there is at least one story in this book that will!  This book will take you to Iraq where you will read about a woman who falls in love with a man who proposes with a weapon slung on his back.  You will wonder what it's like to be held ‘fantastically’ while dancing with a dashing musician and feel the thrill of a man so in love he sends mixed tapes packed with the joy of his feelings.  You will feel both the devastation of love that is lost and the elation of love that is found.

Whether you are looking for a book affirming love's magical powers or need a nudge towards happiness without being dunked in it you will be smitten by these stories.  And if you’re like me and want even more StoryCorps stories, David Isay has compiled other thematic collections for moms, American life and stories of gratitude celebrating the first ten years of StoryCorps. 

Reviewed by Hannah Jane W.
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