Friday, October 12, 2007


By Judy Merrill Larsen

“Judy Merrill Larsen’s All the Numbers is sure to join Judy Guest’s novel Ordinary People, and Jacqueline Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean as one of the most talked-about books of its time. This powerful story of tragedy, grief, and redemptive love haunted me long after I read the final uplifting yet heartbreaking words.”
—Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

Oh. My. God. When was the last time you saw a blurb like that?

Friends, today I'm thrilled to be blogging today about ALL THE NUMBERS, a brilliant debut book by GCC author Judy Merrill Larsen

I cannot wait to get my hands on this novel, because I just know I'm going to do backflips over it. Check out the description blurb from the publisher:

Judy Merrill Larson, a Midwest mother of five and a high school English teacher makes her publishing debut with All the Numbers (A Readers Circle Trade Paperback; $13.95; July 25, 2006), an emotional novel that explores how one mother recovers after the sudden loss of her son.

Recently divorced and navigating the uncharted territory of single parenthood, Ellen Banks is a tough but loving teacher and a devoted mother to her two sons, Daniel and James. When they take their summer trip from their home in Madison, Wisconsin to their best friends’ lake house for weekend, she has no idea that her life is about to irrevocably change. While Ellen sits on a nearby dock, a teen on a jet ski shatters their perfect day when he hits James. Suddenly Ellen is faced with decisions that are every parent’s worst nightmare. Life support, organ donation. And then, a funeral. A grieving sibling who blames himself for the death of his brother. A distant ex-husband, friends and family who don’t know what to say or how to help, lawyers, judges and policemen—none who can make the hurt go away. Healing the empty space in Ellen’s heart and soul is almost too much to bear. But she is determined to see justice done for her son, and to heal the deep wounds in her family. All the Numbers culminates in a highly charged trial which, in an unexpected turn, leads Ellen and Daniel to a new beginning.

Here's a bit about Judy herself:

Judy Merrill Larsen teaches high school English in St. Louis, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and their five children. She says that the novel came about because of her fascination with how ordinary people recover from extraordinary events and how love makes us vulnerable, and how very isolating yet very human, the desire for revenge can be. Whether she has seen something in the news or in fiction, she has always wondered about the lives of people in the aftermath. The choices they make. The holes they fall into and then how—or if—they claw themselves out. From the medical details to the intricacies of Wisconsin law, and courtroom procedures, Larson says the research was as challenging as the writing. As she says of her main character, “none of us is a super hero, but we can all choose to be heroes in our own lives. Ellen Banks, in All the Numbers, ultimately makes just that choice, by choosing to live on.” Larsen holds a Master’s Degree from Washington University. She is currently working on her second novel.

I'm happy that Judy agreed to participate in my weird little GCC Does Hollywood blog. So here now is her pitch to our fictional movie producer:

ALL THE NUMBERS traces a year in the life of a family that begins with the death of a child--it's raw and painful, but ultimately redemptive. It's about learning how to forgive and live a life you never thought you'd have to.

And here's who Judy would cast:

I think Reese Witherspoon would make a good Ellen.

And for Bob, the attorney, I'd have to go with Dennis Quaid because if I've got so much pull with the director I'd be able to cast myself as the kiss (stunt) double.

ALL THE NUMBERS is in bookstores now. To find it at an independent store, visit To buy online, visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target or any cyber bookseller. For more information, hop over to Judy's website,

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