Title: Joy for Beginners
Author: Erica Bauermeister
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher for TLC Book Tours
First line: Life came back slowly, Kate realized.
As six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate’s victory over cancer, they have no idea that the simple challenges Kate assigns them will change their lives.
Erica Bauermeister writes some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read. I know that sounds like a huge exaggeration, but I literally teared up over and over again while reading this book – not because of sadness, but because of the way she writes of the beauty in the simplest things we encounter every day. I adored her first book, The School of Essential Ingredients, and, amazingly, she made me love this one even more. Joy for Beginners follows the same format, with each chapter telling one woman’s story. Because they are all friends, their stories are interwoven with each other, making for a more cohesive storyline than Bauermeister’s first book.
The characters’ experiences span the seasons and trials of a woman’s life: illness, divorce, adultery, mother issues, singleness, and more. As the women took care of Kate during her cancer treatment, she came to know them in a way that not many people know each other. When they encourage Kate to accept her daughter’s invitation to go white-water rafting – a prospect that terrifies her – she agrees on the condition that each one of them overcome a challenge in her own life, a challenge that Kate gets to choose.
Each woman’s chapter encompasses a journey, sometimes literally traveling, other times journeying through the steps she has been afraid to take, steps that Kate intuitively knew were needed for that woman to heal, to move on, to embrace life more fully. I adored the way the author portrayed female friendship, the way it can be fragile at times, and yet withstand some of the harshest storms life can send our way.
Joy for Beginners is an achingly beautiful story of the way friendship and love can help one step outside of the box of her own life and experience joy. Highly recommended.
The publisher is offering one copy of Joy for Beginners to one of my readers.
~ This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada.
~ One entry per person, please.
~ To enter, please fill out the form below.
~ All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST, Friday, June 24, 2011. I will draw a winner on Saturday, June 25th (approximately). 🙂