Joy for Beginners, by Erica Bauermeister (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011)
"At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer. Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them: to celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her: whitewater rafting down the Grand Canyon. But if she goes, each of them must promise to do one thing in the next year that is new, or difficult, or scary -- and Kate gets to choose their challenges.
"Shimmering with warmth, wit, and insight, Joy for Beginners is a celebration of life: unexpected, lyrical, and deeply satisfying."
"Life came back slowly, Kate realized."
Decent but not awesome. Not really enough time to get to know the characters well, or to understand the challenges Kate chose for them: best friend Ava's training for a three-day cancer walk (her own mother's death when she was ten left her absolutely paralyzed around death, to the extent of not being able to be around Kate during her illness) makes sense, but why demand that free spirited potter Dalia learn to bake bread?
Well written, though not quite to the extent oversold by the jacket blurb. What else is new?
- Ithaca, New York
- MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.