Joy for Beginners

Joy for Beginners

4.2 39
by Erica Bauermeister
     
 

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"Moving, touching, wonderfully written, inspiring to read." -Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

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

Overview

"Moving, touching, wonderfully written, inspiring to read." -Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

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: white-water rafting. But if she goes, all of them will also do something they always swore they'd never do-and Kate is going to choose their adventures.

Shimmering with warmth, wit, and insight, Joy for Beginners is a celebration of life: unexpected, lyrical, and deeply satisfying.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Following an 18-month cancer battle, Kate just wants to get back to normal. Still, her six friends decide to throw her a victory party. Kate mentions that her daughter has signed up the two of them for a Grand Canyon raft trip next summer. She is terrified at the prospect, but the others think it's a great challenge for her. Oh, really? Kate responds with a challenge for each of them. And so we begin. In seven chapters, we get to know this mostly Seattle-based cohort: who they are, how they met, and why their perfectly synced tasks—from baking bread to taking a trip to getting a tattoo—tap into their vulnerabilities and strengths and make them women we would all want to know if not actually want to be. It's not just another novel about cancer. VERDICT Bauermeister (The School of Essential Ingredients) has created a cast of textured and nuanced characters who individually and as a group speak to what makes women interesting and enigmatic. Her prose is velvety smooth, revealing life at once mournful and auspicious. Joyful, indeed. Highly recommended for those fascinated by fresh fiction. [National tour; online reading group guide; see Prepub Alert, 11/29/10. For another novel exploring similar themes, see also Sarah Strohmeyer's Kindred Spirits, reviewed on p. 94.—Ed.]—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews

A soft-centered celebration of female friendship and endurance follows a group of women facing challenges set by a cancer-survivor.

It's the back stories to the six caring women who supported breast-cancer sufferer Kate through her illness and treatment which form the core of Bauermeister's novel (The School of Essential Ingredients,2009). After Kate accepts her daughter's challenge to go rafting down the Grand Canyon to celebrate being alive, each of the six agrees to do something scary or difficult, with Kate setting the tasks. Divorced bookstore worker Caroline must finally throw out her ex-husband's books, thereby reclaiming her life as well as her shelf space. Potter Daria must bake a loaf of bread, thereby embarking on a love affair. Sara, who has never spent a night apart from her children, must travel, while young widow Hadley, who has retreated to a tiny new home hidden in a green jungle, is tasked with taking care of her garden. Bauermeister's sensuous writing lends her slender, rather sugary (even when sad) material a graceful charm, but the material is never substantial enough, with the character vignettes too short and the liberating outcomes too heartwarmingly predictable.

Toothless. A neatly crafted reworking of a cozy, sentimental formula.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410440747
Publisher:
Gale Cengage Learning
Publication date:
09/07/2011
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Pages:
343
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Erica Bauermeister’s love of slow food and slow life was cemented by her two years living in northern Italy with her husband and children. She has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Washington and currently lives in Seattle with her family. The School of Essential Ingredients is her first novel.

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Joy For Beginners 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
purplebarb More than 1 year ago
This is an inspiring story of how a challenge made by a cancer survivor's (Kate) daughter leads six women to free themselves and discover their individual sense of self. Ms. Bauermeister's message is both hopeful and thought provoking. This book was just as enchanting as The School of Essential Ingredients. A must read that will linger long after the last page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
if you enjoy really good writing with great insight you'll love this book
PB684 More than 1 year ago
This story opens at the "victory" dinner for Kate, a breast cancer survivor, who is surrounded by her six best friends in the world who have all come together to celebrate their friend's renewal. Kate tells them that her daughter wants to take her on a white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon as a celebration of her new life but she is terrified. She agrees to go, on the condition that, during the coming year, each of the women do something "that is new, or difficult, or scary". The one catch is that Kate gets to chose the challenge for each woman. Erica Bauermeister reprises her writing style from "School of Essential Ingredients" where she dedicates one chapter to each character's development, allowing the reader to become intimately acquainted with them. Ms. Bauermeister has a deep understanding of grief, fear and, ultimately, joy and I found that I could relate with something in each character's story. This is a wonderful tale of friendship and I loved how Kate knew all of her friends well enough to know which challenge would mean the most to each of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read, shw says whilw wiping away tears. Kate,whose victory over breast cancer dinner challenges each of her friends to try and do something completely out of character, just for themselves, as they have seen what real strength and love can do for others. And each of them becomes a different person as the tasks are unpacked and joy is found. A fairly fast "chick lit" read whose characters will linger for a long time. I read a library copy and will find one for my own library as soon as mt next monetary infusion comes along.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable read. I loved getting to know the characters as individuals and as a unit. Well written.
ask4jenea More than 1 year ago
What a joy to read.
HeyStacia More than 1 year ago
Great book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not your highly literally selection but an entertaining and endearing beach read. The characters are well developed as we transition from one chapter to the next. You will learn about these women's connections and friendship as they complete their challenges.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this. And, I must say, this is a MUST MUST MUST read for all women. An empowering story of a woman who recently got a clean bill of health from battling cancer and her 6 friends who have rallied behind her as she endured days of chemo and pain. All women decide to do one thing that neither of them have done before and have been to afraid to do. It's a journey to a path of finding your passion. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and look very much forward to sharing with my favorite group of ladies.
AlanaCA More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful story by Erica Bauermeister! READ THIS BOOK - you won't be sorry! The characters come to life and stay with you! I cannot wait for Erica's next book!
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MCHEATH More than 1 year ago
Getting beyond pain by trying something new. What a beautiful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a truly excellent book. It expresses so beautifully things I have experienced recently, but couldn't express in the right words. Ms. Bauermeister does that. I plan to purchase the author's first book and look forward to more.